The Republican National Committee on Tuesday announced that CNN is partnering with Salem Media Group to host three GOP 2016 presidential primary debates sanctioned by the RNC.
Conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt will participate in a Q&A in the first debate, which is scheduled to air Sept. 16 on CNN, according to a release, though details on the format have not been finalized.
"I am delighted to be included with journalists posing questions as part of one of America's finest political traditions — the presidential debate," Hewitt said in a statement. "These debates come at a critical time, and good questions will allow Republican primary voters the opportunity to see and hear their would-be nominees provide answers to issues that genuinely concern them. Any reporter who is also a political junkie welcomes the chance to be on such a panel, which of course I do."
CNN anchor Jake Tapper, who previously served as as White House correspondent for ABC News, will serve as moderator, according to a source familiar with the partnership. A CNN spokesperson, however, said, "Obviously there are front runners but no final decisions have been made" about who will moderate.
Other radio hosts in the Salem network will be included in the additional two debates, the release said.
As part of an overhaul of the Republican presidential primary process that took place after the 2012 election, wherein President Obama handily defeated GOP nominee Mitt Romney, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus said the number of debates would be heavily reduced.
"I'm thrilled that Salem will partner with three of our Republican primary debates that will be aired on CNN," Priebus said in a statement. "When we set out to improve the debates, I promised conservative media would be part of the process. Salem will help the Republican Party have meaningful debates about new ideas for the future, while Democrats simply coronate Hillary Clinton."
CORRECTION: Hugh Hewitt will ask questions of the candidates in the debate but will not moderate it. His role was described inaccurately in a previous version of this story. The Washington Examiner regrets the error. This story originally published at 8:14 a.m. and has been updated since then.