From a TheConversation.com online article:
Between 1955 and 1959, America’s prime-time television schedule became dominated by quiz shows.
…(Television executive Frank) Stanton got both Vice President Richard Nixon – who had been a champion debater at Whittier College – and Senator John F. Kennedy to accept invitations to debate live on television. That’s when the really difficult negotiations began.
…Every detail took a long time to agree on, as the election drew ever closer in the late summer of 1960.
…Sure enough, the time pressures pushed everyone to agree on an established TV format Americans were familiar with: the quiz show. The required studios were easily available, the production staff already knew what to do, and journalists could easily moderate discussions in which candidates agreed not to directly question or answer each other.
To read more: http://theconversation.com/think-presidential-debates-are-dull-thank-1950s-tv-game-shows-128764?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Latest%20from%20The%20Conversation%20for%20December%2017%202019%20-%201490714165&utm_content=Latest%20from%20The%20Conversation%20for%20December%2017%202019%20-%201490714165+CID_10078ebfd36a6e9fdea1cc84ba4bc83e&utm_source=campaign_monitor_us&utm_term=Think%20presidential%20debates%20are%20dull%20Thank%201950s%20TV%20game%20shows