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A Moyers Update


"Moyers & Company" airs Sundays at 2 p.m. beginning Jan. 15 on WTVP-HD.


Wednesday, January 4th, 2012


Moyers and Company

The headline in the March 2010 WTVP Program Guide read: The Changing Face of Friday Nights. It was the story of two programs that had been the foundation of Friday night on WTVP since 2003 but were leaving the schedule. One was Bill Moyers Journal. It was a momentous event, for Bill Moyers had been a staple on public television since 1971.


The only constant, as they say, is change, and once again Moyers is changing – this time, his mind. He’ll return to WTVP with Moyers & Company on Sundays at 2 p.m. beginning Jan. 15 on WTVP-HD. Here’s the letter he recently sent to his friends at local PBS stations explaining his latest project.

“To My Colleagues in Public Television:

When I retired the Journal more than a year ago, I said to our audience: “It’s time to go.” And so it was. Since 9/11, when PBS asked us practically overnight to launch a daily broadcast on the crisis, our team had taken on one challenge after another. Over the next few years we would produce three mini-series (America’s First River, Faith and Reason, and Becoming American: The Chinese Experience), five documentary specials (Trading Democracy, Buying the War, Capitol Crimes, Is God Green? and The Net At Risk), and two weekly series (Now with Bill Moyers and Bill Moyers Journal). We relished every minute of that streak – well, almost every minute – but on the eve of my 76th birthday, it was time to step off the treadmill of production and take some deep breaths. I told our audience, “While I don’t consider myself old, there are some things left to do that the deadlines and demands of a weekly broadcast don’t permit.” So I brought the Journal to a close.

Since then Judith and I (partners in all matters personal and professional) have done many of those things. We took our older grandchildren abroad. We encouraged our younger grandchildren to come and go frequently and spontaneously. We enjoyed leisurely reunions with old friends. We made some public appearances (including a joint commencement speech), sat for long stretches of time watching the hawks circle above our trees, attended to some deferred business, and thanks to Netflix, caught up on a lot of movies and television we had missed while meeting one deadline after another. And we continued to read widely for the sake of our own continuing education. Oh, yes, we and our team also published our new book: Bill Moyers Journal: The Conversation Continues.

All the while we admitted to each other that neither of us has the retirement skills for the long run. After 57 years of marriage we still like to work on shared projects. And the world continues to engage us.

During this period we have heard often from viewers around the country who had become part of the virtual community that grew up around our broadcasts. Kindred spirits, whose unseen but felt presence buoyed our efforts week after week on the air, wrote, emailed, or stopped us on the street to say they missed the Journal. Their entreaties got us to thinking about what we might yet do to contribute to the conversation of democracy. A few months ago the Carnegie Corporation of New York, whose 1965 report urging the creation of public broadcasting landed on my desk at the White House where I was helping to shape President Johnson’s domestic agenda, stepped forward with an offer to “prime the pump” with a lead grant if we undertook yet another series with creative thinkers. When I told several of our long-time funders of Carnegie’s commitment – those whose credits you have seen for many years now – they assured us of their desire to help if we returned to production.

With all this in mind, we have decided to offer stations a new hour-long weekly broadcast in January featuring people we think you and your community will want to know: people whose conversation provokes conversation, whose ideas spark more ideas. There will be a diversity of voices, one-on-one interviews with lively minds rich in experience and insight, as well as an exchange of views among people who may disagree on politics, governance, faith, religion and the state of democracy, but who nonetheless agree on the importance of a civil dialogue about their differences. There will be segments on movies, television, the web, and books. The late Eric Sevareid, one of the country’s foremost essayists and my colleague and mentor at CBS News many years ago, called this kind of journalism “news of the mind” and urged me to make it my beat. I have done so in much of my work over these many decades. In fact, it was 40 years ago this year that my first best-selling book, Listening to America, caught the attention of public television executives who then invited me to host a new weekly series which became the original Bill Moyers Journal.

Our aim with the new series in January will be to offer viewers some different news, some new voices and fresh thinking, and an occasional cultural grace note. Each hour will consist of at least two segments – one timely and one timeless interview – and an occasional essay. The set, music, and graphics will signal that this is something different – something new from Moyers.

These are hard times and I understand the impact on every station. Thank you for the effort you’re making to cope. My colleagues and I are grateful that we can do our part by offering you a fully-funded series that we believe will appeal to your core members who continue to believe in public television’s mission.

-Bill Moyers”

Moyers & Company will also air on WTVP WORLD 47.2. Look for it at 6 and 11:00 p.m. each Saturday after the Sunday premiere. More information at http://billmoyers.com/.





For further information contact Linda Miller, WTVP Vice President of Programming, at (309) 495-0591 or linda.miller@wtvp.org



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