2024 presidential debates: dates, candidates, how to watch and what you need to know

Donald Trump and Joe Biden at 2020 presidential debate
Donald Trump and Joe Biden at 2020 presidential debate (Image credit: Kevin Dietsch/UPI/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

With 2024 being a presidential election year, tradition dictates there be presidential debates that allow voters to see and hear the candidates directly compared to one another. We've got everything you need to know about how to watch the 2024 presidential debates right here.

Though neither major party has held their national convention yet, we already know who are going to be the Democratic and Republican nominees: for the Democrats, it is President Joe Biden, seeking a second term; meanwhile former President Donald Trump has secured the Republican nomination for president, making it a rematch of the 2020 presidential election. With the two candidates already known, that has led to a few tweaks of how debates typically work during a presidential election, as we'll only be getting two (instead of the traditional three) and they are starting much earlier than normal.

For more information on that and when, where and how you can watch the presidential debates, read on below.

2024 presidential debates dates

The first presidential debate is set to take place on Thursday, June 27, at 9 pm ET/6 pm PT on CNN.

This is much earlier than presidential debates usually take place. Typically, they'll take place starting in either September or October, following each party's national conventions and in the final few months of the election cycles.

The second presidential debate is scheduled for Tuesday, September 10, which is more in line (if still a little early) with the normal time frame for presidential debates.

At this time there is not any additional debates planned. Also, there is no info on if or when a vice presidential debate will take place (Trump has not selected his vice presidential candidate at this time).

2024 presidential debates candidates

As we mentioned, President Biden and former President Trump are the only two participants confirmed for the debate at this time. 

However, there are other candidates that are currently running for president that are not affiliated with either the Democratic or Republican parties. Most notably that includes Robert F. Kennedy Jr, but there is also Jill Stein and Cornel West. Technically, any of these candidates could still qualify to participate in the debate.

Per CNN's rules, participants for the debate must qualify for the presidency under the Constitution and have filed a formal statement of candidacy to the Federal Election Commission, which Kennedy, Stein and West have all done. However, the other rule is that a candidate's name must appear on enough state ballots to potentially reach 270 electoral votes (the number required to win the presidency) and they be polling at 15% or better in four national polls selected by CNN; none of the other three candidates have hit these benchmarks at this time.

How to watch the 2024 presidential debates

The June 27 debate is airing on CNN. The cable news network is available through most traditional pay-TV providers as well as live TV streaming services like Hulu with Live TV, Sling TV and YouTube TV.

It'll also be available on CNN International, CNN en Español, CNN Max (on the Max streaming service) and be available on CNN.com, where you will not need a cable login. The debate is also expected to be simulcasted on other broadcast and US cable news networks.

2024 presidential debates locations

The June 27 presidential debate is taking place at CNN's studios in Atlanta. No details about the location for the September 10 debate have been shared at this time.

Michael Balderston

Michael Balderston is a DC-based entertainment and assistant managing editor for What to Watch, who has previously written about the TV and movies with TV Technology, Awards Circuit and regional publications. Spending most of his time watching new movies at the theater or classics on TCM, some of Michael's favorite movies include Casablanca, Moulin Rouge!, Silence of the Lambs, Children of Men, One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest and Star Wars. On the TV side he enjoys Only Murders in the Building, Yellowstone, The Boys, Game of Thrones and is always up for a Seinfeld rerun. Follow on Letterboxd.