The Commission on Presidential Debates announced the moderators and formats of the presidential and vice presidential debates on Friday.
The moderators will be NBC’s Lester Holt, CBS’ Elaine Quijano, CNN’s Anderson Cooper, ABC’s Martha Raddatz, and Fox News’ Chris Wallace.
Lester Holt will kick off the action on September 26th at Hofstra University. Holt will moderate a traditional presidential debate divvied into six 15 minute sections. Holt will decide the topics and announce them a week prior to the debate. Holt is the anchor of NBC’s “Nightly News,” and the first African-American solo host of a major network evening news broadcast.
Next up, Eliane Quijano will moderate the one and only vice presidential debate between Tim Kaine and Mike Pence. The debate will be held on October 4th at Longwood University in Virginia. Quijano is an anchor on CBSN, CBS News’ digital news desk. She will become the first debate moderator from a digital network. Quijano’s debate will be divided into nine sections, 10 minutes apiece, and she alone with determine the topics.
On October 9th, CNN’s Anderson Cooper and ABC’s Martha Raddatz will co-moderate the second presidential debate – a town hall. Half the questions will come from the co-moderators and half will come from participants. Gallup will select a group of uncommitted voters as town hall participants. Cooper is the host of CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360” while Raddatz is ABC News’ chief global correspondent and co-anchor of “This Week.” Raddatz previously moderated the vice presidential debate in 2012 between Joe Biden and Paul Ryan. The forum will be hosted at Washington University in St. Louis.
Fox News’ Chris Wallace will moderate the third and final debate on October 19th at the University of Nevada Las Vegas. Wallace, the host of “Fox News Sunday,” will become the first Fox News anchor to moderate a general election debate. The format will be the same as Holt’s opening debate at Hofstra.
C-SPAN political editor and host of “Washington Journal” Steve Scully will serve as the back-up moderator for all four debates.
This also marks the first time since 1984 that PBS and its leading man, former “PBS NewsHour” anchor Jim Lehrer, will not be moderating a debate.
Reed Elman-Waxham contributed reporting.