NEW YORK (AP) – NBC News chief anchor Lester Holt will moderate the first scheduled presidential debate on Sept. 26, with ABC’s Martha Raddatz, CNN’s Anderson Cooper and Fox News Channel’s Chris Wallace lined up for others.
The Commission on Presidential Debates also said Friday that CBS News’ Elaine Quijano will moderate the vice presidential debate between Republican Mike Pence and Democrat Tim Kaine on Oct 4..
The first and third debates between Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump will be question-and-answer sessions on six separate topics chosen by the moderators and revealed a week in advance. Wallace will moderate the third debate. Raddatz and Cooper will team up for the second session, a town hall-style meeting with half of the questions to be posed by audience members.
Each of the debates is scheduled for 90 minutes, with a 9 p.m. EDT start time. The other presidential debates will take place on Oct. 9 and 19.
Voters will get a different look: all of the presidential debate moderators will be general election rookies, although Raddatz did the 2012 vice presidential debate between Joe Biden and Paul Ryan. It will be the first time that the general election campaign’s much-anticipated first debate won’t be moderated by the now-retired Jim Lehrer of PBS since 1984.
The leadoff position is a coup for Holt, who took over as NBC “Nightly News” anchor last year for Brian Williams and kept the broadcast on top of the ratings.
The commission avoided potential political problems by not selecting Fox’s Megyn Kelly, whose tough questioning angered Trump in the first GOP candidates’ debate last summer, and ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, who was a White House aide of Clinton’s husband, former President Bill Clinton.
Quijano is the freshest face. She’s an anchor and leads political coverage at CBSN, CBS’ 24-hour streaming service, and anchors CBS’ Sunday evening newscast.