Presidential debate 2020: How to watch Trump vs. Biden debate live

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This story is part of Elections 2020, CNET’s coverage of the run-up to voting in November.

Update: The first debate has come and gone. We’ll update this story with details on the subsequent debates soon. In the meantime, check out reactions to the first debate on social media, and complete 2020 election coverage at our sister site, CBS News (which, like CNET, is owned by ViacomCBS.)


Three presidential debates and one vice presidential debate are scheduled to take place before Election Day on Tuesday, Nov. 3. The first presidential debate between President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden is slated for tonight, Tuesday, Sept. 29 at 9 p.m. ET (6 p.m. PT) at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. 

The debate will run for 90 minutes and comprise six 15-minute segments with no commercial breaks. Chris Wallace of Fox News will moderate. Debate topics will include the coronavirus pandemic, racial unrest, the struggling economy and the Supreme Court, a topic that has risen in urgency following the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

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Fox News anchor and moderator Chris Wallace will moderate the first presidential debate between Donald Trump and Joe Biden on Tuesday, Sept. 29 in Cleveland, Ohio.

Joe Raedle/Getty Images

How can I watch the debate on TV or online?

The debate will be shown live on every major network and cable news channel, including ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC and C-SPAN. You’ll also be able to stream the debate live on YouTube via CBS News and other services like C-SPAN. (Editor’s note: CBS News is owned by ViacomCBS, which also publishes CNET.) The debate will also be streamed through Twitter’s US Election hub in the Explore tab.

What is the full debate schedule?

There will be three presidential debates between Trump and Biden and one vice presidential debate between Vice President Mike Pence and Senator Kamala Harris over the next four weeks.

First presidential debate

  • Date: Tuesday, Sept. 29
  • Location: Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio
  • Time: 9-10:30 p.m. ET (6-7:30 p.m. PT)
  • Moderator: Chris Wallace, anchor of Fox News Sunday

Vice presidential debate

  • Date: Wednesday, Oct. 7
  • Location: University of Utah in Salt Lake City, Utah
  • Time: 9-10:30 p.m. ET (6-7:30 p.m. PT)
  • Moderator: Susan Page, USA Today Washington Bureau chief

Second presidential debate

  • Date: Thursday, Oct. 15
  • Location: Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Miami, Florida
  • Time: 9-10:30 p.m. ET (6-7:30 p.m. PT)
  • Moderator: Steve Scully, political editor of C-SPAN

Third presidential debate

  • Date: Thursday, Oct. 22
  • Location: Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee
  • Time: 9-10:30 p.m. ET (6-7:30 p.m. PT)
  • Moderator: Kristen Welker, NBC News White House correspondent

Why only one moderator per debate?

In previous years, two or three people shared moderator duties for the debates. With the coronavirus pandemic this year, there will be a single moderator at each debate to reduce the number of people in the room.

How can I watch the first presidential debate without cable?

If you don’t have a cable or satellite TV subscription, you can watch the debate with a live-TV streaming service. All of the services listed below carry the major networks and cable news channels. If you want to watch the debate on a particular local network, you can check if each service carries it in your area with the links below.

If you live in an area with good reception, you can watch the debate on ABC, CBS, Fox or NBC for free on over-the-air broadcast channels just by attaching an affordable (under $30) indoor antenna to nearly any TV.

It’s mentioned above, but to reiterate here: If you have a broadband connection, you can watch the full debate live on YouTube and many news sites. We’re linking here to the coverage from our sister site, CBSN. (You can also watch at CBSNews.com, and on the CBSN app on various SBI Life Smart Champ Insurance Plan TV and mobile app platforms.)

Sling TV’s $30-a-month Blue plan includes NBC and NBCSN. Enter your address here to see which local channels are available where you live.

Read our Sling TV review.

Hulu with Live TV costs $55 a month and includes NBC and NBCSN. Click the “View channels in your area” link on its welcome page to see which local channels are offered in your ZIP code.

Read our Hulu with Live TV review.

AT&T Now’s $55-a-month Plus package includes NBC and NBCSN. You can use its channel lookup tool to see which local channels are available where you live.

Read our AT&T TV Now review.

FuboTV costs $65 a month and includes NBC and NBCSN. Click here to see which local channels you get.

Read our FuboTV review.

All of the live TV streaming services above offer free trials, allow you to cancel anytime and require a solid internet connection. Looking for more information? Check out our massive streaming services guide.

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