The first presidential debate of 2012 is finally here. President Obama and Mitt Romney will go head-to-head on Wednesday, and it's going to be pretty hard to miss.
That's because networks have planned a staggering amount of coverage for the debates in October. As many as 3,000 journalists will be at University of Denver's Hamilton Gymnasium, the venue for the first debate, on Wednesday night. That numbers reflects the "crush of reporters and outlets" that has seemed present at every turn of this election.
CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, ABC News, CBS News and NBC News will devote several hours to airing and analyzing the event on Wednesday. On top of that, they've all promised extensive coverage online and comprehensive fact-checking in real time.
The networks aren't the only ones either. Other news organizations — including the New York Times, which will have 20 reporters and editors on hand to shoot down false claims — will be in on the action, too.
The first forum, moderated by Jim Lehrer, will address the economy, health care and "governing." It starts at 9 p.m. Below, see how the networks will cover the debates.
Megyn Kelly and Bret Baier will co-host Fox News' coverage of the debate. Special coverage starts at 8:55 p.m. Senior political analyst Brit Hume and contributors Joe Trippi and Charles Krauthammer will provide analysis. Other contributors include chief White House correspondent Ed Henry, chief political correspondent Carl Cameron, Denver-based correspondent Alicia Acuna and host of FOX News Sunday Chris Wallace. All of Fox News' programming from "America Live" at 1 p.m. to "Hannity" at 11 p.m. will also broadcast from Denver.
MSNBC’s coverage of the debate will be hosted by Rachel Maddow with Chris Matthews, Rev. Al Sharpton, Ed Schultz, Lawrence O’Donnell, Chris Hayes and Steve Schmidt. Primetime coverage starts at 8 p.m. On Wednesday, "The Daily Rundown," "Mitchell Reports," "Martin Bashir" and "Hardball" will be hosted in Denver. Steve Kornacki will also co-host "The Cycle" from there.
Candy Crowley will co-anchor coverage on Oct. 3 from the debate hall in Denver, starting at 7 p.m. Also in Denver, anchor Erin Burnett will get reactions from undecided Colorado voters throughout the night. Chief White House correspondent Jessica Yellin and national political correspondent Jim Acosta will report from the debate and the Spin Room. Anchor John Berman and correspondent Tom Foreman will fact check the candidates’ claims. Chief national correspondent John King will take a closer look at what the candidates are up against. Chief political analyst Gloria Borger and senior political analyst David Gergen will be speaking to contributors from Washington, D.C.
NBC News' coverage of the debate will be anchored by Brian Williams in New York. Coverage runs from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. David Gregory and Savannah Guthrie will join Williams, while Tom Brokaw, Chuck Todd and Andrea Mitchell will contribute reporting from Denver.
Scott Pelley will anchoring CBS News’ coverage from the debate cities. Primetime coverage starts at 9 p.m. on Wednesday. Bob Schieffer — moderator of the October 22 debate in Boca Raton, FL — will host “Face the Nation” from there the Sunday before. Charlie Rose and Norah O’Donnell will also co-host "CBS This Morning" from Florida that week, while Gayle King co-hosts in New York.
Diane Sawyer and George Stephanopoulos will anchor special coverage of the debates from 9:00-11:00 p.m., ET. Providing analysis will be: senior White House correspondent Jake Tapper, “ABC World News” weekend anchor David Muir, senior political correspondent Jonathan Karl, George Will from Washington, and political analysts Matthew Dowd, Nicole Wallace, Donna Brazile, and Austan Goolsbee.
Judy Woodruff and Gwen Ifill will co-anchor PBS' coverage of the debate, moderated by the network's own Jim Lehrer. Coverage runs from 9 to 11 p.m. They will be joined by columnists Mark Shields and David Brooks, and NPR correspondents Ari Shapiro and Scott Horsley.