Cable news currently seems to be in a state of disarray, and the traditional network news divisions are struggling to get airtime. Sensing a chance to expand its claim in the highly competitive broadcast-news arena, public television plans to extend its revered "NewsHour" program to weekends.
The new program, titled "PBS NewsHour Weekend," will be, strangely, just a half-hour long. Beginning Sept. 7, it is to air every Saturday and Sunday from the studios of WNET in Lincoln Center in New York City.
Current "NewsHour" correspondent Hari Sreenivasan will anchor the broadcast. Sreenivasan has been with "NewsHour" since 2009. He also serves as the show's director of digital partnerships. Before PBS, he was with CBS and ABC in their news divisions.
The use of online and social media is expected to play a more prominent role in the weekend program.
"NewsHour" has aired on PBS since 1975, when it was launched by co-anchors Jim Lehrer and Robert MacNeil. It has distinguished itself from other nightly news broadcasts in its length (a full hour) and its more studied approach to news events, avoiding the much-reviled sound bite.
MacNeil retired in 1995, and Lehrer stepped down from his job as anchor in 2011, though he continues to appear on the program occasionally.