Date to be determined amid primary shuffle

ABC News is adding another date to the already packed presidential debate calendar. Just don’t ask when, exactly, that date is.

ABC’s news division will hold a GOP candidate debate with Hearst affiliate WMUR the Saturday before the New Hampshire primary — by law, the first primary race in the nation. But since candidates must cater to party members who cast their ballots in early races, the dual forces of economic necessity and limelight-seeking have led to a battle between states to see who can squeeze their primary in first, in hopes of more heavily influencing the selection of the next president.

Florida has shifted its primary sked up to Jan. 31, while Nevada officials have moved its caucuses to Jan. 14. New Hampshire will move its primary to Dec. 6 or 13 if Nevada doesn’t accept a revised date of Jan. 17.

So, as has happened before during primary season, newsies are stranded. ABC is simply allotting a floating two-hour block of primetime to be pinned down sometime between Dec. 6 and early January.

Diane Sawyer and George Stephanopoulos will moderate with WMUR anchor Josh McElveen. Event will be livestreamed on abcnews.com, Yahoo! (in accordance with the new ABC News/Yahoo! content-sharing agreement) and WMUR.com.

Debate will air at 9 p.m. on some to-be-determined Saturday in December or January, and will be rebroadcast the following morning during “This Week With Christiane Amanpour,” when it will compete with an NBC News’ debate. The Peacock is in a similar pickle, having inked a deal with New England Cable News to broadcast a debate the Sunday before the N.H. primary on “Meet the Press,” moderated by David Gregory.

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