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ABC Slates GOP Debate In Advance of New Hampshire Primary

Another broadcast news division is getting into the GOP primary debate game. ABC has announced that it is partnering with affiliate WMUR to host a debate just days before the New Hampshire primary.

The debate will run from 9-11 PM on the Saturday before the primary, and will be moderated by Diane Sawyer and George Stephanopoulos, along with WMUR’s Josh McElveen. It will air live on ABC, ABCNews.com, Yahoo! and WMUR.com. An abbreviated version of the debate will also air on “This Week” the following day.

ABC says it will be the only debate to air on a broadcast network before the primary. Update: it will be the only primetime broadcast debate. NBC will air a debate on Sunday morning in the time period occupied by “Meet the Press.” More on that debate here.

As we have noted, the onslaught of primary debates has proved to be a boon for the cable news channels, which have been seeing strong ratings on debate nights. A broadcast debate has the opportunity to reach an even wider audience of people, even if it is airing on a Saturday night, which is not usually a big night for TV viewing.

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