Former CNN Chief Heads Up Newsmax ION Debate

A prestigious team of some of the top producers in network and cable television news — including the former head of CNN’s news division — has been assembled to produce The Newsmax ION Television 2012 Presidential Debate to be moderated by businessman Donald J. Trump.

Newsmax Media and ION Television announced the production team, which collectively has more than a century of experience in managing major network coverage of U.S. presidential debates and elections, on Sunday.

“ION, Newsmax and Mr. Trump are committed to host a serious presidential forum which will include some of the most reputable journalists and media people in the nation,” Brandon Burgess, CEO and Chairman of ION Television, said.

Sign Up to Join Donald Trump’s Newsmax ION TV Debate — Click Here Now.

The ION Television network reaches more than 99 million U.S. homes. During prime time, ION typically has more viewers than any major cable news channel in the key demographic 25-54 group.

The debate will be also streamed at Newsmax is the nation’s leading conservative online media publisher reaching more than 10 million readers monthly.

“With Donald Trump and the top-notch media and production team led by Eason Jordan we have organized, we expect the The Newsmax ION 2012 Presidential Debate will have the largest audience of any Republican primary debate to date,” Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy said.

On Sunday, Newsmax and ION Television announced several key staff for their debate:

  • Eason Jordan, Executive Producer — Jordan worked for 23 years with CNN, where he served as chief news executive and president of news gathering and international networks. Jordan’s journalistic honors include Emmy Awards, Peabody Awards  Edward R. Murrow Awards, Headliner Awards, ACE Awards, the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award, the Vanguard Award, and the Livingston Award. He is the founder and CEO of Poll Position, a news, polling, and social media company. He is also a member of the Council of Foreign Relations.
  • John Reade, Senior Producer — A CBS News veteran, he produced CBS News’s big event coverage and programs from 1996-2009 including two 2008 presidential debates. Reade is expert at producing and covering election nights, political debates and political conventions. He also produced the TV coverage of the 1988 vice presidential debate and the 1992 presidential debate, He is a four-time Emmy winner.
  • Larry Register, Media Coordinator — Register is a five-time Emmy-winning media special projects expert who has worked for more than three decades with CNN, NBC News, and other news organizations. At CNN, he served as the vice president for special projects, Jerusalem bureau chief, and executive producer. He worked as a producer at NBC News before helping build and launch TV news networks in India and Bangladesh. He now is the senior editor at Poll Position.
  • Earl Maple, Director — An award-winning director of TV news programs and special events, Maple served as CNN’s senior director 1980-2003 during which he directed CNN’s coverage of political debates, political conventions, and election nights. His live debate experience included directing the telecast of the 1996 debate between Bill Clinton and Bob Dole, as well as the vice presidential debate that year between Al Gore and Jack Kemp. After leaving CNN, he served for years as the director of SEC college football game telecasts.

The Newsmax ION Television media team will be organizing the live debate event set for Dec. 27, 2011 in Des Moines Iowa — the last major debate before the Iowa Caucus.

The invitations to the debate were just sent out Friday afternoon and already both former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum have officially accepted.