The Washington Post

Where to watch the first presidential debate on Wednesday

Setting the stage for the debate in Denver. (David Goldman/AP)

Every broadcast and cable news network will offer coverage and analysis of President Obama and Mitt Romney’s first debate on Wednesday night — it’s 9 to 10:30 p.m. at the University of Denver, moderated by PBS’s Jim Lehrer (his 12th presidential debate).

Here are some of the specific plans for each channel:

* CNN kicks off coverage at 7 p.m. with “Debate Night in America,” led by Wolf Blitzer, Anderson Cooper and John King in Washington, and Erin Burnett and Candy Browley in Denver. Earlier, “The Situation Room” at 4 p.m. airs clips of interview with Michelle Obama and Ann Romney, with more excerpts beginning at 7.

* Fox News Channel has all of its afternoon programs starting at 1 p.m. live from Denver. Starting at 8:55 p.m., primetime special “Election Headquarters: Presidential Debate” is co-anchored by Bret Baier and Megyn Kelly, with analysis from Brit Hume and contributors Joe Trippi and Charles Krauthammer.

* CBS is led by Scott Pelley, who reports live for the “CBS Evening News” at 6:30 p.m., and also anchors starting from 9 to 11 p.m. At 11, on local WUSA, the station teams up with USA Today to fact-check the debate.

* PBS has Judy Woodruff and Gwen Ifill co-anchoring “PBS NewsHour,” with coverage from 9 to 11 p.m., and wil be joined in the studio by columnists Mark Shields and David Brooks, along with NPR correspondents Ari Shapiro and Scott Horsley.

* C-SPAN has a live debate preview at 7 p.m.; afterwards, the channel will look at public reaction at 10:30, and re-air the debate immediately following at 11:30.

* Fox Business Network is anchored by Neil Cavuto beginning at 8 p.m., along with analysis from business executives and political experts, and live reports from correspondent Peter Barnes.

 * ABC goes from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. with co-anchors Diane Sawyer and George Stephanopoulos, also joined by reporters Jake Tapper, David Mueir, Jonathan Karl and more. (And yes, that means no new episode of “Modern Family” this week.) On “Nightline” at 11:35, Terry Moran continues dissecting the debate.

* MSNBC kicks off its shows at 9 a.m. live from Denver, and at 8 p.m., primetime coverage is led by Rachel Maddow, with Chris Matthews, Rev. Al Sharpton, Ed Schultz, Lawrence O’Donnell and more.

* Fox airs the debate in its entirety from 9 to 10:30 p.m., meaning “The X Factor” is cut down to just one hour.

* NewsChannel8 will have a “Politico Live Debate Review” following the debate at 10:30 p.m.

* NBC also pre-empts everything from 9 p.m. on, airing coverage until 11 p.m. Brian Williams anchors from New York, joined by David Gregory, Savannah Guthrie, Chuck Todd and Tom Brokaw. Afterward, Williams will talk right after the debate with OBama campaign strategist David Axelrod, along with Romney supporter Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.).

Emily Yahr covers pop culture and entertainment for the Post. Follow her on Twitter @EmilyYahr.



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