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Jim Lehrer to leave PBS anchor chair

By Alan Duke, CNN
Jim Lehrer announced that he will be leaving his position as anchor of "PBS Newshour" next month.
Jim Lehrer announced that he will be leaving his position as anchor of "PBS Newshour" next month.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Lehrer steps aside on June 6
  • He will appear "on many Friday evenings" to moderate a panel
  • He began his PBS career on the "Robert MacNeil Report" in 1975
  • The show was renamed "The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer" in 1995

(CNN) -- Jim Lehrer, the mainstay of public television's longest running news show, is stepping aside as anchor of "PBS Newshour" next month, PBS announced Thursday.

Lehrer will continue working with the daily show, helping with editorial direction and moderating a weekly segment, the network said.

"I have been laboring in the glories of daily journalism for 52 years, 36 of them here at the Newshour and its earlier incarnations and there comes a time to step aside from the daily process, and that time has arrived," Lehrer said in a written statement.

The move becomes effective on June 6, PBS said.

Lehrer served as the show's Washington correspondent when it premiered as the half-hour "Robert MacNeil Report" in 1975. It was renamed "The MacNeil/Lehrer Report" the next year to reflect his larger role. It became "The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer" when Robert MacNeil retired in 1995.

Lehrer began paving the way for this transition in December 2009 when he agreed to drop his name from the title, making it the "PBS Newshour."

A multi-anchor team featuring Lehrer has hosted the show since the latest name change.

"It is the most constructive and graceful exit strategy I have ever seen for someone holding a coveted and senior position in today's media," MacNeil said in a written statement. "It guarantees a continued place in today's bewildering media spectrum for a program that will stay devoted to serious journalism."

Lehrer will be on the show "on many Friday evenings" to moderate the weekly analysis of syndicated columnist Mark Shields and New York Times columnist David Brooks, PBS said.

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