NBC News anchor Lester Holt will moderate the first presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, set for Sept. 26.
CNN’s Anderson Cooper, ABC News’ Martha Raddatz and Fox News’ Chris Wallace are set to moderate the second and third face-offs between the Democratic and Republican candidates. CBS News correspondent and CBSN anchor Elaine Quijano will preside over the vice presidential debate on Oct. 4.
The Commission on Presidential Debates, the non-partisan org that organizes the events, said that Steve Scully, senior executive producer, White House and political editor for C-SPAN Networks, will serve as back-up moderator for all four debates.
“NBC Nightly News” anchor Holt will be at the helm of the first Clinton-Trump meeting, a debate that is expected to draw unusually high ratings because of the unconventional nature of the 2016 campaign to date. The candidates will meet on the campus of Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y.
Democratic VP pick Tim Kaine, senator from Virginia, and Republican VP contender Mike Pence, governor of Indiana, will meet at Longwood University in Farmville, Va. The selection of Quijano marks the first time an anchor from a digital news network has been tapped for one of the commission’s debate assignments.
Clinton and Trump will gather again Oct. 9 at Washington University in St. Louis for a debate held in a town-meeting format at Washington University. Cooper and Raddatz, chief global affairs correspondent and co-anchor of “This Week,” will moderate that session.
The final presidential debate will be held Oct. 19 at the University of Nevada in Las Vegas, with “Fox News Sunday” anchor Wallace moderating. Wallace marks the first Fox News journalist to be tapped for a national general-election debate in the 20-year history of the cabler.
Wallace said on-air Friday that he was “excited” by the assignment and happy to be the first Fox News journo selected. “That’s quite a statement for our news organization,” he said. He acknowledged that he let it be known that he was interested in the job, but at the same time he asserted “you can’t lobby for it,” given the stature of the blue-ribbon panel that selects the moderators.
“These journalists bring extensive experience to the job of moderating, and understand the importance of using expanded time periods effectively,” said Frank Fahrenkopf and Michael McCurry, co-chairs of the Commission on Presidential Debates. “The formats chosen for this year’s debates are designed to build on the formats introduced in 2012, which focused big blocks of time on major domestic and foreign topics. We are grateful for their willingness to moderate, and confident that the public will learn more about the candidates and the issues as a result.”
(Pictured: Lester Holt, Anderson Cooper)