The two-night event is hosted by NBC News, MSNBC and Telemundo, and will air live across all three from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m ET both nights. The debate will also stream online free on NBC News' digital platforms, including NBCNews.com, MSNBC.com, the NBC News Mobile App and OTT apps, in addition to Telemundo's digital platforms.
Savannah Guthrie, Lester Holt, Chuck Todd, Rachel Maddow and José Diaz-Balart will moderate the debate, NBC announced Tuesday.
Both debate nights will have the same format. Holt, the anchor of "NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt" and "Dateline NBC," will moderate the first hour with Guthrie, the co-anchor of "Today" and NBC News' chief legal analyst, and Diaz-Balart, the anchor of "Noticias Telemundo" and "NBC Nightly News Saturday," appearing alongside him.
Holt will also appear in the second hour, with Todd, NBC News' political director and the moderator of "Meet the Press with Chuck Todd," and Maddow, host of "The Rachel Maddow Show" on MSNBC, moderating.
The Democratic National Committee, which is sanctioning the debate, set two ways for candidates to qualify — fundraising and polling. The fundraising component included raising money from at least 65,000 donors, with a minimum of 200 donors per state from 20 states. The polling component required candidates to poll at 1 percent or above in three different surveys recognized by the DNC.
One of the last entrants into the race, Montana Gov. Steve Bullock, hit 1 percent in two qualifying polls, but was unable to reach the mark in a third. Three other candidates, Rep. Seth Moulton of Massachusetts, Mayor Wayne Messam of Miramar, Florida, and former U.S. Sen. Mike Gravel of Alaska have not hit 1 percent in any qualifying polls, an NBC News review found.
The DNC tried to avoid the "kids' table" complaints that were lodged against the Republican National Committee in the run-up to the 2016 election — where front-runners in the large field of candidates were given one forum and lower-tier candidates another.
Candidates were divided into two groups — those who polled on average at or above 2 percent through midnight on Wednesday, June 12, and those who polled on average below 2 percent through midnight on Wednesday, June 12. A random draw took place on Friday, June 14, pulling from each of the respective above groups to create two separate groupings of 10.
The first group appearing on Wednesday, June 26 is:
The second group appearing on Thursday, June 27 is made up of:
Their places on stage were determined based on each of the candidates' qualifying public polling through June 12, NBC announced. The placements started with the top polling candidates — Warren and O'Rourke on the first night, and Biden and Sanders on the second — at the center positions. The lower polling contenders are closer to the edges of the stage.
The Night One lineup from left to right is de Blasio, Ryan, Castro, Booker, Warren, O'Rourke, Klobuchar, Gabbard, Inslee and Delaney.
The Night Two lineup from left to right is Williamson, Hickenlooper, Yang, Buttigieg, Biden, Sanders, Harris, Gillibrand, Bennet and Swalwell.
The DNC says it will use the same criteria for the second two-night debate on July 30 and 31 in Detroit, which will be hosted by CNN.
The benchmarks will change for the third debate on Sept. 12 and potentially a second night on Sept. 13, which will be hosted by ABC and Univision. To take part in that debate, candidates will have to show they've received donations from 130,000 different donors, including at least 400 from 20 different states. They'll also have to hit at least 2 percent in four different qualifying polls.