C-SPAN's Steve Scully has been tapped to moderate the second presidential debate, with Chris Wallace of Fox News hosting the first debate and Kristen Welker of NBC News the third.
That is according to the co-chairs of the Commission on Presidential Debates, which announced the moderators and locations of the upcoming presidential, and vice presidential, debates.
"This is the first time a C-SPAN person has moderated a presidential debate," said a C-SPAN spokesperson. Scully was the backup for all the 2016 debates.
"It is indeed an honor to be asked to moderate one of the three presidential debates of the 2020 campaign," said Scully of his selection. "It is also an important responsibility. In the final weeks of this historic campaign, this unique 'town hall' format will allow the American people to ask questions directly to the debate participants - the candidates vying for our nation's highest office. The questions will come from undecided voters selected by the Gallup Organization and from social media. My focus is to effectively facilitate this important conversation between voters and the candidates."
All the debates will air at 9-10:30 p.m. ET without commercials.
Scully, who is senior executive producer and political editor for C-SPAN Networks, will moderate the Oct. 15 debate, which is being held at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Miami.
The debate will be a town meeting format, with questions posed from South Floridians, with Scully facilitating further discussion after the candidates each have two minutes to respond to the questions from uncommitted voters.
Wallace will host the first presidential debate on Sept. 29 from Case Western Reserve University and Cleveland Clinic in "Cleveland. The debate will be divided into six segments of about 15 minutes apiece, each on a different major topic selected by Wallace and announced at least a week prior to the event. Wallace will ask the questions and candidates will have two minutes to respond. Wallace will use the remaining time in each segment for "a deeper discussion."
Welker is hosting the third debate Oct. 22 from Belmont University in Nashville. The format will be the same as the first debate.
There will be a single vice presidential debate Oct. 7 from the University of Utah in Salt Lake City and moderated by Susan Page of USA Today. The format will be nine segments of about 10 minutes each with each candidate getting two minutes to respond.
“We are grateful to these experienced journalists, who will help ensure that the general election presidential debates continue to serve their unique educational purpose of helping the public learn about the candidates," said co-chairs Frank J. Fahrenkopf, Jr., Dorothy S. Ridings and Kenneth Wollack.
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Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.