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PBS LAUNCHES "NOW WITH BILL MOYERS" A WEEKLY NEWS SERIES OFFERING FRESH PERSPECTIVE AND ANALYSIS
FRIDAY EVENINGS BEGINNING JANUARY 18, 2002 AT 9 P.M.
Public Affairs Television-Produced Series
Will Include Creative Collaboration With NPR News
PASADENA, CA - January 7, 2002 - Bill Moyers, one of the most recognized and respected journalists in America and whose award-winning, ground-breaking documentaries have distinguished PBS programming, will anchor an hour-long weekly news program on PBS that premieres on Friday, January 18 at 9 P.M. (check local listings), and will continue for a 50-week season. NOW with Bill Moyers will include documentary reporting, in-depth one-on-one interviews and articulate commentary offering viewers relevant and diverse perspectives on the events, issues and ideas that are shaping their world. Produced by Public Affairs Television and presented by Thirteen/WNET for PBS, NOW with Bill Moyers will also draw on the editorial resources and journalistic strength of NPR News to tap public radio's brightest talents every week.
Moyers will also serve as executive editor of the program, which will explore the whys behind timely top stories. "Americans are saturated with events in the headlines, but in this pounding news cycle it is hard to grasp the bigger picture and the larger forces driving daily developments," said Mr. Moyers. "NOW will report on the reality behind and beyond news-making events. Our collaboration with NPR News will be an enormous asset as we identify and report stories that embrace viewpoints that get past the official position and prevailing consensus that so often dominates news coverage."
"It has been one of my goals to have Bill Moyers back on the air each week to provide viewers with the insightful reporting, probing analysis and fascinating interviews that have always distinguished his programs," said Pat Mitchell, president and CEO of PBS. "After the outstanding feedback we received for his post-September 11 specials, I knew it was important for PBS to offer a regular, weekly forum for the discussion of important ideas and issues and that Bill is the person to lead such a renewed commitment to public affairs in primetime on PBS." Ms. Mitchell also hoped this new series would provide an opportunity for PBS and NPR to work together more closely. "Over the past year or so, PBS and NPR have explored how they can join forces to optimize the resources of the two public service media organizations in this country. Moyers and NPR News are a winning combination to develop the potential of this relationship on an ongoing basis," she said.
"Our audiences listen to NPR News daily for a depth, diversity and quality of news reporting that is unique in broadcasting. We are excited about this opportunity to work with Bill Moyers and his team and to bring our resources and talent to the table to help broaden the definition of news on television," said NPR president Kevin Klose.
Public Affairs Television (PAT) has geared up quickly to produce NOW for PBS, in part in response to the events of September 11. Judith Davidson Moyers and Judy Doctoroff O'Neill, who have been the executive producers for dozens of Public Affairs Television programs and series, are co-executives in charge. They rapidly assembled a production team led by John Siceloff, a production executive who has worked for the news divisions of all three commercial networks during the past 20 years. ABC News agreed to release Siceloff from a long-term contract so he could become NOW's executive producer.
Flexible in format from week to week, NOW with Bill Moyers will be anchored from a set at Thirteen/WNET's studios in New York. The mix of segments will vary to feature diverse perspectives on stories reported from across the country and around the world, as well as interviews with informed and original thinkers. "NOW will probe what is strong and what is wrong with America, who is winning and who is losing in the body politic," said Siceloff. "Our goal is to illuminate news and ideas that can help viewers become more engaged and active citizens at the grassroots of democracy."
NOW with Bill Moyers Online at PBS.org (www.pbs.org/now) will provide a new interactive public space for the discussion of critical issues as well as additional content and resources on the topics covered each week. Visitors will be able to search a growing archive of program transcripts and learn about opportunities to take action on the issues that the series explores. Beginning Monday, January 7, visitors to the site's sneak preview page can sign up for a weekly e-newsletter that will announce the stories to be covered in each program.
During his long career in broadcasting, Moyers has won dozens of awards for journalism, including more than 30 Emmy Awards, four duPont-Columbia University Awards, and the Charles Frankel Prize (now the National Humanities Medal) from the National Endowment for the Humanities "for outstanding contributions to American cultural life." A survey of television critics by Television Quarterly, the official journal of The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, placed Moyers among the 10 journalists who have had the most significant influence on television news, and he was elected to the Academy's Television Hall of Fame in 1995. Moyers' last ongoing weekly series on PBS was from 1972-1981 with Bill Moyers' Journal. In 1982, Moyers was again a regular presence on public television with the limited series Creativity with Bill Moyers and A Walk Through the 20th Century.
Moyers formed Public Affairs Television, Inc. in 1986 with his wife and partner, Judith Davidson Moyers. This independent production company has produced almost 300 hours of programming including the landmark series Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth, Listening to America and Healing and the Mind. Recent programs and series have included Bill Moyers Reports: Earth on Edge; Trade Secrets: A Moyers Report; On Our Own Terms: Moyers on Dying; Surviving the Good Times: A Moyers Report; Free Speech for Sale; Facing the Truth; and Moyers on Addiction: Close to Home.
In addition to NOW with Bill Moyers, PAT is producing several other programs for the current PBS season including Bill Moyers Reports: Trading Democracy, premiering on February 5, 2002, and America's First River: Bill Moyers on the Hudson, premiering April 23 and 24, 2002.
NOW with Bill Moyers is funded by PBS. Corporate funding is provided by Mutual of America Life Insurance Company. Additional funding is provided by the Kohlberg Foundation, Inc. and The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. The series is a production of Public Affairs Television, Inc. for PBS in collaboration with NPR News. NOW is a national presentation of Thirteen/WNET New York, one of the key program providers for public television, producing such acclaimed series as Nature, Great Performances, American Masters, Charlie Rose, Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly, Stage on Screen, and EGG the arts show - as well as presenting Public Affairs Television productions with Bill Moyers to PBS audiences. As the flagship public broadcaster in the New York, New Jersey and Connecticut metro area, Thirteen reaches millions of viewers each week, airing the best of American public television along with its own local and national productions.
Executive Producer: John Lewis Siceloff; Senior Producer: Peter Bull; Supervising Producer: Sally Roy; Line Producer: Scott Davis; Co-executives in charge: Judith Davidson Moyers and Judy Doctoroff O'Neill; Executive Editors: Bill Moyers and Judith Davidson Moyers.
PBS, headquartered in Alexandria, Virginia, is a private, nonprofit media enterprise owned and operated by the nation's 349 public television stations. Serving nearly 90 million people each week, PBS enriches the lives of all Americans through quality programs and education services on noncommercial television, the Internet and other media. More information about PBS is available at PBS.org, the leading dot-org Web site on the Internet.
Renowned for its journalistic excellence and standard-setting news, information and cultural programming, NPR serves a growing audience of 16 million Americans each week via more than 644 public radio stations. NPR Online at www.npr.org brings hourly newscasts, news features, commentaries and live events to Internet users through original online reports, audio streaming and other multimedia elements. NPR also distributes programming to listeners in Europe, Asia, Australia and Africa via NPR Worldwide, to military installations overseas via American Forces Network, and throughout Japan via cable.
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Public Affairs Television