Jim Lehrer joined forces with Robert MacNeil in 1973 to anchor public television’s unprecedented, gavel-to-gavel coverage of the Senate Watergate hearings. The team earned an Emmy Award and initiated one of the most enduring and respected journalistic partnerships in television history.
In 1975 The Robert MacNeil Report, a weeknightly half-hour news program that provided in-depth coverage of a different single issue each evening, debuted locally on Thirteen/WNET in New York, with Jim Lehrer as Washington correspondent. Just a few months later, the successful program was re-titled The MacNeil/Lehrer Report and was distributed nationally by PBS. For the next seven years, the program set a standard for TV journalism and garnered more than 30 major awards for its co-anchors.
The MacNeil/Lehrer Report and The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour logosThe partners took an extraordinary television risk in 1983 by transforming The MacNeil/Lehrer Report into The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour. The program became the nation’s first and only hour-long nightly broadcast of national news, proving there existed both a need and a substantial audience for serious, long-form journalism. Broadcasting simultaneously from New York and Washington, The NewsHour expressed the MacNeil/Lehrer signature style — low-key, evenhanded, inclusive of all perspectives — and inspired participation by thousands of the world’s pivotal newsmakers, as well as a growing roster of top-flight correspondents and analysts. The NewsHour received numerous Emmy and Peabody awards, along with virtually every other significant award for quality television and outstanding journalism. With Robert MacNeil’s departure in 1995, the award-winning program debuted in its newest form as The NewsHour With Jim Lehrer. Under Lehrer’s direction, The NewsHour extended its reach in 1996 by launching a site on the World Wide Web and, in 1997, by opening a West Coast studio at KQED/San Francisco.
The PBS NewsHour is fed live by satellite from 6 to 7 p.m. (ET) each weeknight, with repeat feeds updated when news warrants, from 7 to 8 p.m. and 9 to 10 p.m. (ET). PBS, which distributes The NewsHour, recommends a 7 to 8 p.m. schedule, but public television stations decide independently on The NewsHour’s time slot in their markets. Many stations repeat the program late at night or early in the morning.
The PBS NewsHour is produced by NewsHour Productions and WETA Washington, D.C. in association with Thirteen/WNET New York. PBS NewsHour originates from Washington, D.C. PBS NewsHour Weekend originates from New York, NY.
The NewsHour is broadcast by more than 300 PBS stations, reaching 98 percent of the nation’s television households, according to A.C. Nielsen. The program is also carried daily in Japan by NHK Broadcasting, via the Direct Broadcast Satellite System (Channel One); in Asia, Europe, Latin America and Africa, via the U.S. Information Agency’s WorldNet Satellite; and in 23 countries in the Middle East and North Africa.
The NewsHour grew out of the half-hour MacNeil/Lehrer Report, which, from 1975-1983, garnered critical praise and numerous awards for in-depth coverage of a different single issue in each broadcast. The program was transformed into The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour in 1983. It made history as the first hour-long broadcast of national nightly news and was recognized with Emmys, Peabodys, and other honors. In October 1995, the program began its newest incarnation as The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer.
The NewsHour’s website has won high marks for original reporting, interactive forums and substantive news coverage on the Internet. The site now averages more than 1 million unique visitors a week. In addition, the PBS NewsHour website features Extra, an interactive current events site for students and teachers that includes more than 150 lesson plans for bringing current events into the classroom.
The NewsHour is close-captioned for the hearing-impaired. In many markets, public radio stations simultaneously broadcast the audio portion of The NewsHour on AM and FM radio on NPR affiliates, as well as TuneIn.com. The NEWSHOUR airs virtually coast to coast in Australia, Britain, Canada and Japan, on Voice of America worldwide, via Armed Forces TV to military and State Department personnel, and via satellite and cable, to markets in Asia, Europe, and Latin America. The program is disseminated via WRN satellite radio in London, the United Kingdom, Africa and Western Europe.