Fox News joins ABC to sponsor debate

Deal made after CNN reported poor ratings

HOLLYWOOD — Maybe Fox News Channel isn’t the odd-man-out after all among the news networks.

ABC News and Fox News announced Tuesday they will co-sponsor the last Democratic presidential debate before the New Hampshire primary. WMUR-TV, the ABC affiliate in Manchester, N.H., and the state’s largest newspaper, the Union Leader, also are co-sponsors of the Jan. 22 debate.

A first for Fox News

It marks the first time Fox News has co-sponsored a televised event with another news net. ABC News made the deal not long after Fox News’ coverage of the Jan. 4 presidential debate in Iowa walloped CNN in the ratings. Fox News averaged 870,000 viewers, while CNN averaged 410,000 viewers.

Fox News Washington managing editor Brit Hume — himself a former ABC News correspondent — will moderate the New Hampshire debate. ABC “World News Tonight” anchor Peter Jennings will do some moderating in the latter half of the 90-minute debate, as well as serving as lead questioner on the panel.

Full dais

All nine Democratic presidential contenders are expected to participate, which comes five days before the Jan. 27 New Hampshire primary.

Event, which will take place at St. Anselm College in Goffstown, N.H., will air at 8 p.m. ET on WMUR-TV and Fox News. Extended excerpts will air later in the evening on a one-hour special edition of “Nightline.” Fox News Radio, ABC News Radio and ABC News Live also will carry the debate.

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