Fox News Lays Out Debate Rules for Candidates Likely to Make Cut

On the crowded stage of 10 candidates, the candidate with the highest polling numbers—currently real estate mogul Donald Trump—will stand at the center of the stage.

Donald Trump, president and chief executive officer of Trump Organization Inc., speaks during the Iowa Freedom Summit in Des Moines, Iowa, U.S., on Saturday, Jan. 24, 2015.

Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg

With the Fox News debates only one week away, candidates likely to make it to the main stage are beginning to hear some details.

According to two people familiar with the network's plans, candidates will get one minute to answer each question addressed to them by moderators Megyn Kelly, Chris Wallace and Bret Baier during the program, which begins at 9 p.m. Eastern time on August 6.

Candidates who are called upon will be given only 30 seconds for rebuttals. If a candidate's name is invoked during someone else's answer to a question, that candidate will get a chance to respond for a length of time at the moderator's discretion. 

The campaign of one leading candidate believes after communications with Fox executives that there will not be a rigorous attempt to make sure all ten candidates get equal time to speak. Fox strongly contested that assertion in a statement issued Friday.

"As we have communicated to the all the campaigns, we will work to give candidates equal time during the 5PM/ET and 9PM/ET debates, just as we have done in the past," FOX Executive Vice President Michael Clemente said. "Any indication otherwise is flat wrong."

On the crowded stage of 10 candidates, the candidate with the highest polling numbers—currently real estate mogul Donald Trump—will stand at the center of the stage, with lower-polling candidates fanned out in alternating order to the left and right. 

The debate will include the top 10 Republican candidates in national polls, as determined by Fox News. Those who do not make the top ten prime-time debate are invited to take part in a 5 p.m. debate moderated by America's Newsroom co-anchors Bill Hemmer and Martha MacCallum. 

Ben Brody contributed reporting.

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