It will be the biggest clash of this political season, in one of the smallest studios in town.
"I have never, honestly, heard of a debate like this in California. They are always done for a studio audience, and almost always done in front of big ones," FOX40 Political Analyst Gary Deitrich said Wednesday.
WATCH GOVERNOR BROWN AND REPUBLICAN GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE NEEL KASHKARI DEBATE LIVE ON FOX40 THURSDAY NIGHT AT 7 P.M.
There will be no room for an audience in the California Channel studio. There's barely enough room for the two candidates and three journalist who will be asking them questions, but organizers say that could be a good thing.
"In some ways, I do think it's a plus. Too often you have things where you play for an audience and you forget who's on the other side of the camera. Or you just play for your supporters and so it's one applause line after another rather than a substantial answer to a question," Kevin Eckery, spokesman for the coalition of news organizations hosting the debate, said.
Still it's hard not to read the strict rules against the candidates' interacting with each other, and the small room, as anything but a product of Gov. Brown's big lead. Neel Kashkari is way down In the polls, and has been pushing for debates for months. Well, he's got one.
"If you're way up in the polls you never want to debate. If you are down, you want 63 of them. That's always the way it is in politics. Why do you do one? So you can say 'I did one. We talked and got it all out in the open. I don't have anything to hide. I'm finished,'" Deitrich said.
The question is, what will Kashkari do with the opportunity to shake things up.