Jim Lehrer, host of PBS's "NewsHour With Jim Lehrer," will be a moderator for the presidential debates, but unlike in past election years he will divide the work with ABC's Charlie Gibson and CBS's Bob Schieffer.

The Commission on Presidential Debates announced its selection of the three yesterday, along with the choice of Gwen Ifill, a "NewsHour" senior correspondent and moderator of PBS's "Washington Week," as moderator for the debate between Vice President Cheney and Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.).

The announcement from the commission is somewhat preliminary. Representatives for President Bush and Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) are still negotiating the number of debates and the format.

This year, Lehrer will moderate the first debate between Bush and Kerry, scheduled for Sept. 30.

Gibson, co-anchor of "Good Morning America," will host the second debate, tentatively set for Oct. 8. Schieffer, CBS's chief Washington correspondent and moderator of "Face the Nation," will lead the third debate, scheduled for Oct. 13.

Also, a federal judge ruled Thursday that the Federal Election Commission should investigate a complaint that the Commission on Presidential Debates improperly barred third-party presidential candidates from the debates.

Bob Schieffer, left, of CBS, Charlie Gibson of ABC and PBS's Jim Lehrer, below, were selected to moderate the presidential debates in the fall.