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44° Good Morning

'PBS NewsHour' expands to weekends

"PBS NewsHour," one of the jewels of the PBS crown, will expand to weekends starting tomorrow night; you can pick up both the Saturday and Sunday editions on WNET/13 and WLIW/21 at 6 and 6:30, respectively.

 This is quite a significant move move for the program, which launched in December, 1975, just two months after the inaugural broadcast of "Saturday Night Live." It has never produced weekend editions over that long and distinguished history, though this has been a time of signficant change for the program (Gwen Ifill and Judy Woodruff, above, were recently named co-anchors of the Monday-Thursday editions.)   

Neal Shapiro, Ch. 13 president, told me it took this long "because so much attention was paid to the job we did Mondays through Fridays, and the thought was how much happens over the weekends? But the news cycle has changed so much that people get news all the time, and expect it all the time..." This telecast, produced by network news veteran Marc Rossenwasser and anchored by "NewsHour" senior correspondent Hari Sreenivasan, will definitely have a digital emphasis, with what Shapiro explains will be an ongoing online dialogue with viewers "24/7."

Rosenwasser told me yesterday that the shorter broadcasts (weekdays remain at an hour; these will be half an hour) will necessitate a more explanatory approach to the news, and that content will feature stories that don't necessarily make it onto the national news programs either. (The inaugural telecast will have a big piece on the Israeli natural gas boom and how that could profoundly affect that nation's relations with neighbors in the future.)  Short also means fast, so these weekend shows will also move at a clip not normally associated with the more langourous weekday editions. 

Again, the weekend editions -- which will have a national rollout and orginate from the Ch. 13 studios at Lincoln Center -- can be found on Ch. 13 at 6  p.m. Saturdays and Sundays at 6:30 p.m. on Ch. 21. Well worth checking out.


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