Final Days Before Crucial Votes Offer Viewers a Full Television Lineup

Screen Shot 2016-02-17 at 8.09.36 AMMAGGIE HABERMAN

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Good Wednesday morning. There are no official debates this week in the buildup to the voting in South Carolina and in Nevada, but the candidates will still have plenty of opportunity to make their cases on television.

The 2016 presidential campaign has unfolded largely on television, whether in the form of ads or news conferences or the reams of Donald J. Trump coverage. So it’s only fitting that the final days of the Republican primary in South Carolina and the Democratic caucuses in Nevada will play out in televised town-hall-style meetings.

In a game of television brinkmanship, CNN will host the first of two town-hall-style meetings in South Carolina with Republican presidential candidates, with three at each, held on successive nights. Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, Senator Ted Cruz of Texas and Ben Carson will appear Wednesday night, while Mr. Trump will appear on Thursday night, along with Jeb Bush and Gov. John R. Kasich of Ohio.

But MSNBC will also host a Democratic candidate forum in Nevada with Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Hillary Clinton on Thursday. And on Wednesday night, the network’s Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski will hold a forum solely with Mr. Trump.

For voters who have reveled in the extensive television coverage, their cups will run over. But the ratings rivalry on Wednesday will be closely watched.

The opportunities for candidates to call attention to their positions have been welcomed in these town-hall-style events. And the hopefuls don’t engage with one another. But with two close contests playing out on Saturday, the stakes are fairly high.