Will The Republican Debate Be On Only CNN? The Fifth Showdown Will Be A Must-Watch, Cable Or No Cable

Brace yourselves — the fifth Republican presidential debate is just a week away, and there are a few things you can expect from the fifth GOP showdown, hosted by CNN. After a month-long break, the Republican candidates will reconvene at The Venetian in Las Vegas on Tuesday, Dec. 15. The debate will be available for everyone's evening entertainment via free live streaming on CNN's website and mobile site. This upcoming Tuesday will mark CNN's second time hosting the GOP debates so we're expecting them to come prepared.

The channel hosted the Republican party for its second round of debates, which lasted over three long hours, on Sept. 16 and the candidates were unruly per usual. CNN was criticized for its lack of control over time limits for speaking and for some of its less policy-based questions such as moderator Jake Tapper's request for each of the candidates to pick a secret code name. Well, no wonder some of the comments were childish.

The decline in the number of candidates will also play a role in CNN's ability to wrangle the candidates. Last time around, moderators had to oversee a stage of 11 candidates. New criteria, announced by CNN on Thursday, outlines three ways candidates can achieve a spot on stage. For polls taken between Oct. 29 and Dec. 13, candidates must achieve one of three numbers to qualify for a spot the main debate: average of three and a half percent nationally; at least four percent support in Iowa; or at least four percent support in New Hampshire. According to Politico, this is the first time during the campaign season that a sponsor is considering early state polling as an alternative to national polls.

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The planning of the debate was going smoothly until [surprise!] Trump requested that CNN pay him $5 million to participate, claiming that he will donate the funds to veterans. Jeff Zucker, CNN president, flatly said sorry, but it doesn't work like that. Trump tried pulling those strings in the last CNN debate as well and tried to sway CNN via a letter.

While I refuse to brag, and you know very well, this tremendous increase in viewer interest is due 100 percent to Donald J. Trump.

The debate topics — which are likely to include gun control, homeland security, and foreign policy given recent events — have not yet been announced. Wolf Blitzer, Dana Bash, and Hugh Hewitt will be moderating.