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Debating the Debate Usage Guidelines

abcdebate_4-14.jpgTVNewser has obtained a copy of the usage guidelines for ABC News’ upcoming presidential debate on Wednesday at 8pm.

Some of the restrictions include no usage of any material until 11pmET and only one 30-second excerpt until 5amET. The rules are similar to ABC’s last foray into the debate arena, its highly-rated back-to-back Democratic and Republican debates in January.

A TV insider tells TVNewser, “These rules seem to be incredibly restrictive. It is a news event after all.”

One difference between the cable and network debates are the staggered airings for the networks. ABC will start the debate feed at 8pm Pacific Time, or 11pmET (the time the 30-second clips first become available).

An ABC News spokesperson tells TVNewser, “We’re trying very hard to be as fair as we can. We do owe our ABC affiliate and audiences across the country the opportunity to see this historic debate on their ABC affiliate station first.

“Obviously we understand the inherent news value in a debate like this. That’s why we’re making up to 30 seconds available after the debate clears the east coast.”

Click continued to see the full usage guidelines…




ABC News, the National Constitution Center, and WPVI-TV are hosting a Democratic presidential debate in Philadelphia, PA on Wednesday, April 16, 2008 at the National Constitution Center. The 90-minute debate between Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama will be moderated by ABC News’ anchor Charles Gibson and George Stephanopoulos. The debate, coming just days before the Pennsylvania primary, will air in primetime on the ABC Television Network from 8:00-10:00 p.m., ET/PT.

Beginning at 11 p.m., ET on Wednesday, April 16, 2008, non-ABC News outlets, including Internet media, may excerpt up to 30 seconds of material from the debate for their regularly scheduled news programs with appropriate credit (outlined below) to ABC News, the National Constitution Center, and WPVI-TV. Once a news organization chooses a 30 second clip, it must use the same clip until 5 a.m., ET on Thursday, April 17.

Beginning at 2:00 a.m., PT/5a.m., ET (Thursday, April 17), non-ABC News outlets, including Internet media, may make use of additional clips of the debate with appropriate credit (outlined below) to ABC News, the National Constitution Center, and WPVI-TV. Media outlets may use clips of the debate through the end of the 2008 election cycle, but may not rebroadcast the debate in its entirety unless granted permission by ABC News.

Media outlets that are on-site at the debates can record the program through the video/audio mult-boxes provided by ABC News. Outlets may also record ABC News’ over-the-air signal.

Mandatory credit is required as follows:

* Television: an onscreen credit reading “ABC News/National Constitution Center/WPVI” must appear during each excerpt and remain onscreen for the duration of all excerpts.

* Radio: each excerpt must be introduced with an audio credit to ABC News, National Constitution Center, and WPVI.

* Internet: excerpts must stream with an “ABC News/National Constitution Center/WPVI” credit as described above, or a link to

* One 30 second debate excerpt may be used in regularly scheduled news programs beginning at 11:00 p.m., ET on Wednesday, April 16. Additional excerpts may not be used until 2:00 a.m., PT/5a.m., ET on Thursday, April 17.

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