ABC will be setting aside a Saturday night of entertainment programming next week and will air back-to-back Republican and Democratic candidate debates. Moderated by ABC’s Charles Gibson, the debates will take place in New Hampshire Saturday, Jan. 5 and are being produced in conjunction with Facebook and WMUR-TV. During the debates, Facebook users will be able to participate in groups, which will “provide a companion to the televised debates.”
As for who’s taking part in the debate, ABC says, “candidate participation will be contingent upon objective criteria established by the debate hosts.”
ABC News spokesperson Cathie Levine tells TVNewser the criteria includes how the candidates finish in Iowa and their place in national polls. That decision will come a week from Friday, which is one day after the Iowa caucuses.
Click continued to read the ABC News press release…
ABC NEWS, FACEBOOK & WMUR-TV TO HOST DEMOCRATIC AND REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE DEBATES IN NEW HAMPSHIRE
ON SATURDAY, JANUARY 5
Debates to Air in Primetime on ABC Days before the New Hampshire Primary
ABC News, Hearst Argyle’s WMUR-TV and Facebook will host back-to-back Democratic and Republican Presidential debates in New Hampshire on Saturday January 5th. With the country focused on the upcoming New Hampshire Primary and the Iowa Caucuses just concluded, the two 90-minute debates will air in primetime on national television starting at 7:00 p.m., ET/PT on the ABC Television Network. Republicans will debate from 7:00-8:30 p.m., ET and Democrats will follow from approximately 8:45-10:15 p.m., ET.
Both debates will be held on the campus of Saint Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire. ABC News Anchor Charles Gibson will moderate and will be joined in the questioning by WMUR Anchor and Political Director Scott Spradling. Before, after and during the debates, Facebook users will be able to participate in Debate Groups, providing a companion to the televised debates.
Following each debate, “Good Morning America” host Diane Sawyer will anchor live reports, providing a re-cap and analysis of the evening’s events. She will be joined by “This Week” anchor George Stephanopoulos. Bianna Golodryga will report from the ABC News/Facebook desk.
“Coming on the heels of the Iowa Caucuses, these back-to-back primetime events will let voters in New Hampshire and throughout the country see the candidates challenge each other at a moment in the campaign when the stakes couldnâ€™t be higher,” said ABC News President David Westin.
“WMUR is proud of its tradition of informing New Hampshire voters,” said WMUR President and General Manager Jeffrey Bartlett. “We’re excited to once again produce these important debates, Bartlett added.
Candidate participation in the debates will be contingent upon objective criteria established by the debate hosts.