On Wednesday, CNBC formalized the participants in the third Republican presidential debate, which will air on the network Oct. 28. Assuming the network puts the highest-polling candidates toward the center of the stage, as is now-standard practice, the stage for the main event and the undercard will look like this.

Our heartiest congratulations to Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) who lacked the requirement that he get 1 percent in one poll over the past month until CNN/ORC's poll was released this week. Graham could have been relegated to the audience. Instead, he'll get to battle George Pataki, Bobby Jindal and Rick Santorum, all of whom are less popular than they were the last time a debate rolled around.

There aren't any big surprises in the stage, as we noted, but it's instructive to compare how the field looks now with how it looked at the time of the first debate -- and at the time the criteria for the first debate were set.

As of the day of the first debate on Fox News, this was how the stage was set up.

Look at Jeb Bush, there in the middle. And some guy named "Walker"? Is that right? Fiorina was not only in the undercard debate, she was fourth in that debate.

But here's the stage the first time we made one of these graphics, in May.

Rick Perry was on the main stage! And Donald Trump was all the way on the outskirts! There was a time, and this is true, that it looked as though Trump might not make the cut.

Anyway, you know the drill. They'll all get up there and everyone will talk about Trump and he will make the faces seen below and we will all have a good time.

See you there.