April 22, 2008 / 1:17 AM / 12 years ago

North Carolina Democratic debate canceled

File photo shows CBS Evening News anchor and 60 Minutes correspondent Katie Couric smiling before an interview with journalist Marvin Kalb, in the first instalment of this year's "Kalb Report" series, in Washington September 25, 2007. REUTERS/Molly Riley

NEW YORK (Hollywood Reporter) - Katie Couric won’t get her debate after all.

After several weeks of behind-the-scenes negotiations with the campaigns of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, the North Carolina Democratic Party said Monday it was canceling plans for an April 27 debate that would have aired on CBS following “60 Minutes.”

Clinton had immediately agreed to the debate, which would have been held in Raleigh, but Obama’s camp wanted to wait until after Tuesday’s primary in Pennsylvania. But the logistical questions and concerns had become so great that the debate couldn’t continue without a commitment from Obama.

That leaves hanging CBS News and Couric, who had staked out a claim to this debate and had given prime TV real estate — following “60 Minutes” — in order to assure the debate. An earlier attempt to hold a debate with Couric and “Face the Nation” host Bob Schieffer last December in Los Angeles was canceled due to the writers strike.

“You have shown tremendous passion and interest in being a part of history as Democrats are poised this year to elect the first female or African-American president,” the party said in a statement. “However, there were also growing concerns about what another debate would do to party unity.”

A CBS News executive said Monday afternoon that the network would continue to look for an opportunity for a debate, although it acknowledged it would be a challenge.

Reuters/Hollywood Reporter

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