The PBS veteran will continue to appear on many Friday broadcasts of the news program, moderating the weekly analysis of syndicated columnist Mark Shields and New York Times columnist David Brooks. He will also remain involved in the editorial direction of the program and the show’s production company, MacNeil/Lehrer Productions.
In December of ’09, the flagship news – launched in 1975 as “The Robert MacNeil Report and, more recently known as “The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer” was changed in name to “PBS NewsHour.” A multi-anchor team was named, featuring Lehrer as well as senior correspondents Gwen Ifill, Judy Woodruff, Jeffrey Brown, Ray Suarez and Margaret Warner. That team will continue hosting on a rotating basis.
“I have been laboring in the glories of daily journalism for 52 years…36 of them at the ‘NewsHour’ and its earlier incarnations…and there comes a time to step down from the daily process, and that time has arrived.”
“I am grateful to Jim for the extraordinary contributions he’s made to public television,” PBS president and CEO Paula Kerger said Thursday in a statement.
“Jim has built a talented team and we’re very proud to be the home of ‘PBS NewsHour.’ As Jim begins the next chapter of his career, we are grateful for his ongoing leadership and his continued presence on Friday nights.”
“[Lehrer] and Robin MacNeil conceived and built the highest quality, longest lasting news hour in all of American television,” added Sharon Percy Rockefeller, president and COO of WETA, the Washington public broadcasting station and co-producer of “PBS NewsHour.”
“Millions of viewers worldwide appreciate, as I do, Jim’s clear integrity and trademark civility demonstrated in every aspect of his life.”
In October 1975, the half-hour “Robert MacNeil Report,” with Jim Lehrer as the Washington correspondent, premiered on Thirteen/WNET New York. In 1976 it was renamed “The MacNeil/Lehrer Report.” In September 1983, Lehrer and MacNeil launched “The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour.” The 1995-96 season marked the 20th year of the program, as well as MacNeil’s departure and Lehrer’s stewardship of the program as “The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer.”
Photo Gallery: Jim Lehrer through the years