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How to watch the Trump and Biden town halls



Tonight was supposed to be the second presidential debate, according to the schedule laid out by the Commission on Presidential Debates in June. But the president’s COVID-19 diagnosis threw that plan into chaos, and instead of a single bipartisan debate, we’ve ended up with two dueling town halls for each candidate, each limited to a single network (or family of networks).

Each campaign has its own take on how it all happened, so it’s worth laying out exactly how we got here. After President Donald Trump tested positive for COVID-19, the Commission on Presidential Debates announced that the second debate would be hosted in two separate locations to avoid any risk of spreading the infection. President Trump responded by backing out of the second debate, which led to CPD officially canceling the debate.

The Biden campaign scheduled a town hall with ABC in the immediate aftermath of the cancellation. Yesterday, NBC announced a dueling town hall with Trump, a decision that met with significant backlash from other members of the press.

All this is bad in a variety of ways. For a start, it means you won’t be able to track both candidates at once — at least not without switching between streams. The whole point of the debates is to force both candidates into the same event, answering more or less the same questions. We’re not getting that here.

It also means that the events are organized and hosted by TV networks rather than the bipartisan debate commission, which has arranged every presidential debate since 1988. Doing an end-run around that system results in less trustworthy events, and is a generally bad precedent for anyone who wants to see nonpartisan institutions hold powerful politicians accountable.

But with all that said, there are two town halls scheduled for tonight, so here’s how to watch them.

What time is the Biden town hall?

ABC’s town hall event with Joe Biden will begin at 8PM ET. It is scheduled to run for 90 minutes, with 30 minutes of post-event coverage available on some streaming platforms. The event is technically an episode of ABC’s 20/20 news show, and may be listed as such in TV schedules.

The event will take place at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia.

What time is the Trump town hall?

NBC’s town hall with President Trump also begins at 8PM ET, and is scheduled to run for a full hour.

It will be moderated by Savannah Guthrie, and take place in an outdoor area of the Perez Art Museum in Miami. In order to minimize the virus risk, President Trump and Guthrie will be positioned at least 12 feet away from the audience and from each other at all times. Officials from the National Institute of Health say they have conducted extensive testing on the president, and determined that he is “not shedding infectious virus.”

How do I watch tonight’s town halls?

The Biden town hall will air on ABC and stream through ABC News Live, which is available as an app or channel on a variety of OTT services including Hulu, Roku, YouTube TV, Amazon Fire OS , Xumo, Sling TV, Facebook, Twitter, ABCNews.com, and the ABC News and ABC mobile apps.

The Trump town hall will be carried on NBC, MSNBC, CNBC, and Telemundo. It will also stream online through the NBC News NOW streaming network.

Will there be any more debates?

The final debate is scheduled for October 22nd at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee, as initially arranged by the Commission on Presidential Debates. As of publication time, both campaigns are still scheduled to participate.


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Netflix will offer its library for free to Indian non-subscribers for a weekend



Earlier this month, Netflix said that it’s ending the 30-day long free trial that it used to entice people into getting a subscription. Today, during its earnings call, the company stated that it’s exploring new ways for people to experience its library before they get a subscription.

The first test the streaming giant is performing is a free weekend-long trial. The company will start this experiment in India, where it’ll offer its service for free on the weekend of December 4, as reported by Protocol.

India is the first of many countries where Netflix will test this two-day “Streamfest” to hopefully gain more subscribers. The company would want to compete with Disney+ Hotstar in the market, which has more than 8 million subscribers in the country.

[Read: What audience intelligence data tells us about the 2020 US presidential election]

“We think that giving everyone in a country access to Netflix for free for a weekend could be a great way to expose a bunch of new people to the amazing stories that we have, the service, how the service works, really create an event, and hopefully get a bunch of those folks to sign up. So we’re going to try that in India,” Greg Peters, the chief operating officer for the company, said on the earnings call.

Netflix has tried various ways to promote its service in a content-crazy market. Last year, it launched a mobile-only subscription plan for Indian users at ₹199 (~$3) a month. The company has also tested byte-sized weekly plans in the country starting from under $1 for a mobile-only subscription. The company also said it’s committed than $420 million to produce local content in the last couple of years.


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A long-awaited Willow sequel is official, and it’s coming to Disney Plus



After years of silence, Disney has confirmed that Lucasfilm’s Willow will receive a sequel, in the form of a TV series coming to its Disney Plus streaming subscription service. The pilot will be directed by Crazy Rich Asians’ John M. Chu.

Willow has largely remained untouched since its original release in 1988, but this long rumored sequel will join existing novels and a comic book that previously built out the world of the film. The original can already be streamed on Disney Plus, and this new series will join The Mandalorian as Lucasfilm’s second television spin-off on the platform.

The 1988 film, directed by Ron Howard, was a cult hit when it first premiered, a fantasy adventure about an aspiring sorcerer named Willow (Warwick Davis) tasked with shepherding infant princess Elora Danan to safety alongside a ragtag group of fairies and warriors played by the likes of Val Kilmer, Joanne Whalley and Kevin Pollak.

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Not much is known about the sequel series beyond that it takes place years after the original film, but Ron Howard, now an executive producer, describes it as a “creative lean-forward” rather than a “nostalgic throw-back.” Willow himself will return: Warwick Davis, also a beloved Star Wars veteran, is set to reprise his role.

For Lucasfilm, this Willow series comes after five years of focus on Star Wars exclusively. Now that the Skywalker Saga is wrapped, I’m curious to see what other classics the company might bring back if Willow succeeds. I’m particularly interested in an American Graffiti series; there’s definitely enough teenage angst for a TV show if Riverdale is any indication. And yes, Indiana Jones and Labyrinth are still in the mix too. A fifth Indiana Jones continues to inch its way to production. And while not affiliated with Disney, a sequel to Labyrinth from Doctor Strange director Scott Derrickson is also in the making.

Disney has made it clear that Disney Plus is the future of the company, and it needs all the new content it can get even with The Mandalorian returning for a second season and WandaVision on the way. A Willow series on Disney Plus, and perhaps other future Lucasfilm spin-offs, might help.

Though there’s no announced release date for this new series, the original film is available to stream on Disney Plus and remains as charming as ever. All the better for fans new and old to reacquaint themselves before the next adventure starts.


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Quibi apps arrive on Apple TV, Android TV, and Fire TV



Quibi, the troubled streaming service focused on “quick bites” of mobile-first content, has just launched apps for Apple TV, Android TV and Fire TV. The company quietly announced the change in an updated support article.

These apps follow Quibi’s ongoing attempts to get more eyes on its content after launching as a mobile-only app. The company first made content more shareable in May, and followed that soon after with AirPlay and Chromecast support.

Unfortunately for Quibi, these changes to the initial mobile-first strategy may have come too late. A new report in The Information claims that co-founder Jeffrey Katzenberg has attempted to sell Quibi’s programming to Facebook and NBCUniversal while telling others he may have to shut down the company entirely.

Quibi has struggled to scale since its launch, dealing with a lackluster reaction to its first collection of content and a drop in subscribers after its 90-day trial offered at launch ended. The pandemic has likely played a role in dissuading customers from resubscribing, but really Quibi has never made a great case for itself in the first place.

It’s great for Quibi fans that there’s multiple more ways to watch the service, but if the company doesn’t right itself, soon enough there won’t be any way to watch at all.

Disclosure: Vox Media, which owns The Verge, has a deal with Quibi to produce a show, and there were early talks about a Verge show as well.


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