Fox News to end use of doorbell sound to signal debate participants that time is up

August 19, 2023
Ben Marquis

Fox News is set to host the first 2024 Republican presidential primary debate next week, and there will be some changes to that event in comparison with the 2016 debates broadcasted by the top-rated cable news network.

One of those changes is the reported retirement of the doorbell sound that signals the end of a candidate's allotted time to speak, according to the Washington Examiner.

The purported reason for that change in how the debate is conducted is that dog owners have complained that the doorbell sound was triggering barking and other reactions from their pets while watching at home.

The complaints of dog owners was heard

Politico Playbook was the first to report that Fox News had decided to change the sound of the signal it first introduced in the 2016 cycle that it uses to let the candidates know that their time to speak has nearly expired.

The outlet shared links to several old tweets of dog owners complaining about how their dogs had been triggered to start barking by the doorbell sound, which made it more difficult for them to fully hear and understand what the candidates were saying.

The network has heard those complaints and responded with a new warning signal for candidates that Politico was exclusively permitted to preview ahead of its debut at next week's debate.

The outlet said the new signal is "dog-safe" and described it as being akin to a game show bell while Fox News itself described it as being similar to a "reception/front-desk bell."

Debate scheduled for Wednesday in Milwaukee

The Examiner further reported that the first Republican primary debate of the 2024 cycle will be held Wednesday in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

The event is being sponsored by the Republican National Committee and is being hosted and broadcast by Fox News, with top anchors Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum set to play the role of moderators.

Certain conditions and qualifications for eligibility to participate in the debate were imposed by the RNC on the field of candidates and, among other things, include minimum thresholds of 1 percent support in the polls and at least 40,000 individual donors to their campaigns.

Candidates are also required to sign a loyalty pledge which states that they will support, or at least not publicly oppose, the eventual GOP nominee in the general election, as well as to foreswear any independent or third-party run against that eventual nominee -- a pledge that has received mixed responses from the field of contenders.

Trump unlikely to participate in Fox News debate

Meanwhile, in admittedly bigger news about the imminent Fox News-hosted Republican debate, The Hill reported that former President Donald Trump, unquestionably the leading candidate for the GOP nomination, will likely not be participating in that major event the unofficially launches the 2024 primary season.

Instead, reporting indicates that Trump will sit down for a one-on-one interview with former top-rated Fox News host Tucker Carlson for his new eponymous program that airs directly on X-Twitter.

That is almost certainly intended to be a snub of Fox News, the network which sidelined Carlson earlier this year and which Trump has harshly lambasted for being too critical of him and uncritical of his rivals in its coverage of the developing Republican primary season.

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