The fourth Republican primary debate in December will be hosted by NewsNation and moderated by controversial journalist Megyn Kelly, alongside other pundits, according to a Nexstar Media Group press release.
NewsNation anchor Elizabeth Vargas, and Eliana Johnson, editor-in-chief of The Washington Free Beacon, will join Kelly to oversee the next iteration of the Republican debates, which thus far have delivered on presidential candidate Vivek Ramiswamy’s promise of being “unhinged.” The announcement on Thursday follows the third debate on Wednesday hosted by NBC News.
Viewers will “see us do this in a manner that is not filled with ‘gotcha’ or talking points,” said Sean Compton, president of Nexstar Networks, according to the press release.
“I think this is another opportunity to give us a boost and help create more awareness and conversation around the network. Once people find us, hopefully we can redirect them to become longer-term viewers and fans of the channel,” Compton added.
The Republican National Committee chooses which outlets host the debates, so NewsNation’s announcement represents a major win for the small network, Variety reported. NewsNation, which claims to be centrist, has been criticized for leaning conservative.
“NewsNation’s mission is to provide fair and unbiased news coverage, and that’s the way we will approach this important debate,” Michael Corn, president of news at NewsNation, said in the press release.
Kelly, who has previously worked at NBC News and Fox News, is known for her racially insensitive and transphobic or homophobic takes. In Kelly’s announcement confirming that she would be moderating the debate, she spoke of being “excited” to ask questions differently than other moderators have.
“It will be the margarita of debates — spicy, fun and somewhat intoxicating,” Kelly added in a Republican National Committee statement.
Johnson is a former Politico White House correspondent and CNN political analyst.
In the RNC statement, she said she’s looking forward to the debate occurring “outside of the mainstream media echo chamber and to give Republican primary voters a debate where conservative ideas and values will be the terrain and not the target.”
Vargas joined NewsNation earlier this year after leaving ABC News. Vargas was not immediately reachable for comment.
The debate will air on Dec. 6, from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET. It will be held at the University of Alabama in the city of Tuscaloosa.