Who will fight hardest for air time at the Democratic debates Wednesday and Thursday nights, the presidential candidates or the moderators?
Ten candidates will participate in each debate on NBC, fielding questions from five moderators representing the network and its cable channel, MSNBC.
The TV panel includes NBC Nightly News anchor Lester Holt, Today show anchor Savannah Guthrie, Telemundo and NBC Nightly News anchor Jose Diaz-Balart, Meet the Press moderator Chuck Todd and MSNBC anchor Rachel Maddow.
While Holt and Guthrie conduct succinct interviews, Maddow and Todd are notorious for their long-winded, convoluted questions.
One of the group, probably Holt, can be expected to act as the M.C., regulating questions and the length of the candidates' responses.
While MSNBC's daily shows offer a range of black analysts, none was chosen for the debates. Joy Reid, the Rev. Al Sharpton or some other black pundit would have brought a much needed black perspective.
Seeking to avoid the adult-table, children's table motif that marred the 2016 GOP debates, the Democratic National Committee decided to draw names to determine which candidates would appear on each night,
The result was close to the GOP debacle: Sen. Elizabeth Warren is the only front-runner who will appear in the first debate, beginning at 9 Wednesday night. The opening round does include well-known Democrats Sen. Corey Booker, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, former Rep. Beto O'Rourke and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. Each of them will be eager to score points and break into the upper tier of the Democratic field.
The Thursday night contest looks to be a heavyweight match, with front-runner Joe Biden, socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders, Sen. Kamala Harris and South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg.
The candidates will have only 60 seconds to respond to questions, and 30 seconds for rebuttal. With Todd and Maddow sucking up time, they will be lucky to receive even that.