How to watch the first Biden-Trump debate for free—and without cable

After skipping the Republican primary debates, Donald Trump will face off against Joe Biden in a one-on-one showdown Thursday evening on CNN.

While the Republican and Democratic conventions have not yet taken place, meaning both are technically the presumptive candidates of their parties, the debate will move the 2024 election into higher gear as voters get their first chance to compare the candidates, beyond the campaign rhetoric.

Got questions about the debate? We’ve got answers.

When is the first Biden-Trump debate?

The debate will be held Thursday June 27 at 9:00 p.m. ET.

Who is hosting the Biden-Trump debate?

CNN is hosting the debate and will simulcast it online.

How long will the Biden-Trump debate last?

The debate is scheduled to last 90 minutes.

Can I watch the Biden-Trump debate for free if I don’t have cable?

Yes, easily. While CNN is hosting the debate, all four broadcast networks plan to carry it, as will PBS. Watching over the air requires an over-the-air antenna, though. And be sure to test the antenna in multiple locations in your home to find the most reliable signal.

How can I stream the Biden-Trump debate online if I don’t have a cable subscription?

If you don’t have an antenna, CNN will stream the debate on (other networks are likely to carry the CNN stream on their site as well.)

Additionally, there are a number of online streaming options to choose from. These include:


The former HBO-Max, owned by CNN’s parent company, will carry the debate live. Subscriptions start at $10 per month.


Disney’s bundle of Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+ no longer has a free trial, so you’ll have to pay $15 per month for all three combined (or $25 per month for no ads on Hulu).

Including Live TV in the bundle, which you’ll need to see the debate, bumps the price to $77 per month ($90 with no ads).

Hulu with Live TV

The free trial on this service is no longer offered, as well. It will now cost you $77 per month.


After up to a two-week trial, you can expect monthly charges of $73.

Sling TV

Dish Network’s Sling lower-tiered “Orange” plan will run you $40 per month. Adding the more comprehensive “Blue” plan bumps the cost to $55 per month. The seven-day free trial has disappeared, but the cord-cutting service is offering 50% off of the first month’s bill.

DirecTV Stream

Formerly known as DirecTV Now, AT&T TVNow and AT&T TV, this oft-renamed streaming service will run you $75 per month and up after the free trial option.

Fubo TV

This sports-focused cord-cutting service carries broadcast networks in most markets. There’s a seven-day free trial, followed by monthly charges of $75 and up, depending on the channels you choose.

Where is Robert F. Kennedy Jr?

The independent candidate did not meet the debate threshold of polling at 15% or higher in four national surveys, so he was not asked to be a part of this debate.

What’s different about this debate?

Instead of being held in front of a live audience and being run by the bipartisan Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD), this debate is being done on terms set by the candidates. Among the rule changes are microphones will be muted unless a candidate is directed to speak; no prewritten notes or props will be allowed; and a coin toss will determine things like the order of closing statements and podium positions.

Who is moderating the Biden-Trump debate?

CNN anchors Jake Tapper and Dana Bash will moderate.

When is the next Biden-Trump debate?

ABC will host the next debate between the two candidates. That’s slated to take place in September.  

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