Fox News is teaming up with Google and YouTube for the Republican debate next Thursday, January 28th, the last meeting of GOP contenders prior to the Iowa caucus on February 1st. The debate will take place in the Iowa Events Center in Des Moines from 9PM to 11PM ET, and Fox News will rely on Google Trends data and YouTube celebrities to come up with questions for the candidates and track topics of interest throughout the night. The hosts include noted Donald Trump opponent and Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly, Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace, and Special Reports host Bret Baier.
NBC News used the same Google partnership earlier this month for the Democratic debate, and the results weren't very insightful beyond telling viewers what kind of wacky and outrageous things people tended to Google search alongside the names of Democratic frontrunners. If Fox News ends up displaying Google Trend autocomplete data without any editing, here's what you might see next Thursday:
Partnering with social tech giants has worked for Fox in the past. The network enlisted the help of Facebook back in August to come up with questions for the candidates based on the site's most popular topics. That debate became the most televised non-sporting cable event in TV history with 24 million viewers, 7.9 million of which were ages 25 to 54. Fox is again seeking to tap into a younger demographic by enlisting Google and YouTube, although the network prefers forcing viewers to tune in via traditional cable TV as it did back in August. So don't hold your breath for a YouTube live stream.
Fox News is enlisting tech giants for another cable TV record
"On the Google Trends homepage, viewers will have the chance to interact with the debate during the telecast. The page will feature real-time insights on candidate search interest, key issues and topics covered throughout the night," reads a Fox News press release today. "Real-time Google Trends will be showcased during the Fox News post-debate analysis." It's unclear which YouTube celebrities will get to ask questions, but the format will allow them to do so via a video directed at the candidates and centered on a topic of their choosing.