After 36 Years, Jim Lehrer Is Leaving PBS

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Jim Lehrer is leaving the daily anchor rotation for PBS Newshour on June 6, reports The Washington Post's Lisa de Moraes. The newsman has been on Newshour in its various forms since 1975. "There comes a time to step down from the daily process, and that time has arrived,” Leher said in a statement. He'll continue to appear on the program as moderator of the Friday weekly analysis segment with David Brooks and Mark Shields. The anchor rotation of Gwen Ifill, Judy Woodruff, Jeffrey Brown, Ray Suarez and Margaret Warner will remain in place

After spending the show's first year (when it was called the Robert MacNeil Report) as Washington correspondent, the show was renamed  The MacNeil/Lehrer Report in 1976. In 1983, Lehrer and MacNeil expanded the format to an hour and it was renamed The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour. MacNeil left in 1995 and Lehrer became sole anchor of  The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer for 14 years. In 2009, PBS added the other rotating anchors and renamed the show PBS Newshour


Update 1

  • Praise for Lehrer's longevity and professionalism has been dominating the early round of tributes. The Washington Post's Paul Farhi notes Lehrer's "widely respected" 36-year tenure is all the more impressive because it "spans several eras of television, from a time when most people had black and white sets to the digital age."
  • National Press Club president Mark Hamrick presented Lehrer with a career achievement award earlier this month, and his comments about the newsman have been cited by The Washington Post and Mediaite. Said Hamrick: "Amid the cacophony of a sometimes shrill media landscape, [Lehrer] has remained the true voice of reason, balance and fairness."
  • "Truly the end of an era," tweeted The Daily Beast's Howard Kurtz. "Good night, Jim."
  • But is the 76 year-old really done for good? Poynter directs us to an interview Lehrer did with the Baltimore Sun in January. "I'm feeling great, " he told Sun television critic Dave Zurawik. "I'm not tired. And I still hear the sirens. And as long as I hear the sirens, I'll still be there to find out where the hell they're going."


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