Any observant fan of Jon Stewart’s or Bill O’Reilly’s respective basic cable TV shows knows that these seeming ideological foes actually hold each other in (relatively) high regard. They’re both showmen at heart, delivering a pointed take on the news of the day in an entertaining manner that inspires fierce loyalty in their respective audiences, and they both seem to understand and respect the other’s place in the television landscape.

So it should be no big surprise that Stewart and O’Reilly have announced that they will debate each other in what they’re dubbing O’Reilly v Stewart 2012: The Rumble in the Air-Conditioned Auditorium, or The Rumble 2012 for short. The event will take place at The George Washington University in Washington, D.C., on Sat., Oct. 6, at 8 p.m. ET. But rather than broadcast it on TV, Stewart and O’Reilly are streaming the event over the Internet — for a price. Audiences can buy a video or audio stream of the debate for $4.95 from, which will allow users to watch the event live on Oct. 6, and stream the debate on demand up to three times thereafter. The purchase also includes a downloadable version, available at an unspecified later date, and half the net profits will go to various charities. (You can also purchase tickets to the live event itself from the site starting at Sept. 18, at 11 a.m. ET.)

As for the debate itself, Stewart and O’Reilly have both posted videos to YouTube announcing the event, each in their own inimitable style. But from where I sit, I gotta say, O’Reilly gets off the better joke at Stewart’s expense. Check them out and see what you think:

Will you pony up to watch this debate? Or will you wait to watch it for free?

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