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Presidential Debate Moderators Set as Lester Holt Leads Off

Lester Holt, anchor of NBC Nightly News, will moderate the first presidential debate in Hempstead, N.Y., Sept. 26, announced the Commission on Presidential Debates, with Martha Raddatz of ABC News and CNN’s Anderson Cooper moderating a town hall debate in St. Louis Oct. 9. Chris Wallace of Fox News moderates the final debate Oct. 19 in Las Vegas.

All are first-time presidential debate moderators.

Steve Scully, political editor for C-SPAN Networks, is backup moderator for all the debates.

Left out of the heavyweight fights is CBS News, though Elaine Quijano, CBS News correspondent and CBSN anchor, will moderated the VP debate Oct. 4.

"These journalists bring extensive experience to the job of moderating, and understand the importance of using expanded time periods effectively,” said Frank J. Fahrenkopf, Jr. and Michael D. McCurry, cochairs of the CPD. “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."

Viewership for the presidential bouts will be sky high, with party standard-bearers Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump both divisive figures with towering star power. The first presidential debate in the 2012 election drew around 70 million viewers, according to the New York Times.