NBC, CNN to host first two Democratic presidential primary debates

CNN and a trio of NBC networks will host the first two Democratic presidential primary debates of the 2020 cycle, which will feature a maximum of 20 candidates, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) announced Thursday.

NBC, MSNBC and Telemundo will partner on the first debate in June. CNN will host the second debate, set to take place in July. The exact dates and locations were not yet announced.

Each debate could feature two separate events on back-to-back nights to accommodate a large field of candidates, though only a maximum of 20 candidates will be able to participate in total.

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To qualify for the debates, a candidate will need to either have at least 1 percent support in three qualifying polls, or have received at least $65,000 in individual donations from at least 200 donors in at least 20 states.

If more than 20 candidates meet those two standards, the field for the debates will be chosen using a separate method that takes into account those who meet both qualifications, followed by highest polling averages and number of unique donors.

The specific lineup of candidates for each debate will be chosen at random.

The DNC did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Hill.

The DNC had previously announced that the first of 12 primary debates for the coming presidential election would take place in June and July.

The field of prospective candidates has steadily grown in recent weeks. Among those who have declared their candidacy or launched an exploratory committee are Sens. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenWarren overtakes Biden in Iowa for first time: poll Warren avoids attacks while building momentum Sanders unveils plan to eliminate Americans' medical debt MORE (D-Mass.), Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisWarren overtakes Biden in Iowa for first time: poll Iowa GOP swipes at 2020 Democrats' meat positions as candidates attend annual Steak Fry Warren avoids attacks while building momentum MORE (D-Calif.), Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandBooker aide sounds alarm about campaign's funding O'Rourke gun confiscation talk alarms Democrats Gillibrand relaunches PAC to elect women MORE (D-N.Y.), Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerIowa GOP swipes at 2020 Democrats' meat positions as candidates attend annual Steak Fry Booker aide sounds alarm about campaign's funding 2020 Democrats defend climate priorities in MSNBC forum MORE (D-N.J.), Amy KlobucharAmy Jean KlobucharMSNBC 'Climate in Crisis' special draws 1.3M viewers in 8 pm timeslot The two most important mental health reforms the Trump administration should consider Sanders searches for answers amid Warren steamroller MORE (D-Minn.), Rep. Tulsi GabbardTulsi GabbardAnalysis: 2020 digital spending vastly outpaces TV ads Sanders searches for answers amid Warren steamroller Kavanaugh book author on impeachment calls: 'That's not our determination to make' MORE (D-Hawaii), former Rep. John DelaneyJohn Kevin Delaney2020 Democrats defend climate priorities in MSNBC forum The Hill's Campaign Report: De Blasio drops out | Warren gains support from black voters | Sanders retools campaign team | Warning signs for Tillis in NC Analysis: 2020 digital spending vastly outpaces TV ads MORE (D-Md.) and former San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro (D).

A number of other candidates are likely to announce their 2020 decision in the coming weeks. Former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenUkrainian official denies Trump pressured president Trump goes after New York Times, Washington Post: 'They have gone totally CRAZY!!!!' Warren overtakes Biden in Iowa for first time: poll MORE is expected to jump into the race, and Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersWarren overtakes Biden in Iowa for first time: poll The polls are asking the wrong question Sanders unveils plan to eliminate Americans' medical debt MORE (I-Vt.) and former Rep. Beto O'RourkeBeto O'RourkeO'Rourke gun confiscation talk alarms Democrats NRA deems O'Rourke 'Salesman of the Month' after Arizona gun store sells out of AR-15s during 'Beto Special' MSNBC 'Climate in Crisis' special draws 1.3M viewers in 8 pm timeslot MORE (D-Texas) are among other high-profile candidates that are weighing bids.