May 7, 2024 - Axios Events

Axios Event: Katzenberg says he's "100%" certain presidential debate will happen

WndrCo founding partner Jeffrey Katzenberg in conversation with Axios' Dan Primack at BFD Talks reception in Los Angeles.

WndrCo founding partner Jeffrey Katzenberg in conversation with Dan Primack at BFD Talks in Los Angeles. Photo Credit: West Side Storytellers for Axios

LOS ANGELES – President Biden and former President Trump will definitely have a debate for the 2024 election, says Jeffrey Katzenberg, key adviser to Biden's re-election campaign and founding partner of WndrCo.

Why it matters: Katzenberg's declaration shows chances are rising that there will be a 2024 presidential debate, after the Biden campaign had declined to commit to one for months.

Catch up quick: Last year, Former President Trump asked the Commission on Presidential Debates to move up the scheduled debates.

  • Trump made this same request in 2020, but ended up not participating in 1 out 3 presidential debates.
  • Most recently, he skipped all the Republican presidential debates for the 2024 election.
  • The presidential debates will take place Sept. 16, Oct. 1 and Oct. 9. The vice presidential debate is set to take place on Sept. 25.

Axios business editor Dan Primack interviewed Katzenberg at Axios' first BFD Talks reception.

  • This event was in partnership with Wheelhouse and sponsored by West Monroe.

Flashback: Katzenberg also recalled meeting a young Trump roughly 50 years ago, who was with his father at the time, and said he was a "colossal a**hole."

Separately, the former Hollywood media mogul also discussed the Paramount Global and Skydance merger that expired last Friday and said it would have been a "great win" for Paramount and the film industry.

  • When it comes to Sony and Apollo's $26 billion cash offer, Katzenberg says there may be a private equity issue since Sony wouldn't be allowed to hold an FCC license for CBS because it's foreign.

AI has been a major point of contention within the film industry, but Katzenberg thinks the new technology is going to have a positive impact.

  • "Generative AI is going to be the most empowering and powerful set of tools ever put in the hands of filmmakers by a factor," says Katzenberg.
  • But, he thinks it'll be another 10 years before AI really interrupts the industry.

Content from sponsored segment below:

In a View from the Top conversation, West Monroe president Gil Mermelstein says technology is a trend they are seeing in the deal-making space.

  • He also stressed that AI is a major innovation that many companies bring to the table.
  • "We see a lot of companies with all kinds of claims. Sometimes they're real, sometimes they're not. That's part of our job to decipher," said Mermelstein on new AI tech.
Go deeper