Moyers reverses decision to end show, which goes to 30 minutes in January

BOSTON — Bill Moyers, the journalist and veteran PBS personality who has come out of retirement at least twice to mount new weekly productions, announced Friday that he will be back in January with a 30-minute show. Three weeks ago, Moyers announced his decision to end production of Moyers & Company early next year, citing the end of two-year funding commitments. But the response from viewers and underwriters prompted him to reconsider, according to Executive Producer Judy Doctoroff, who spoke to public TV programmers during American Public Television’s Fall Marketplace. APT, which is showcasing new program offerings for local pubTV stations this week, distributes the series nationally. Moyers’ production team had already floated their proposal to keep the show going with station-based programmers, Doctoroff said in an interview.

Bill Moyers ending Moyers & Company in January

Bill Moyers announced today to his colleagues in public TV that the last broadcast of his Moyers & Company public-affairs show will air Jan. 3, 2014, when current funding commitments end. He also said that his production company is “exploring the possibility of continuing to serve that audience through BillMoyers.com with the goal of engaging them in the renewal of democracy.” The show has more than 315,000 Facebook likes, Moyers said, and that number “grows every day by the hundreds. They — like so many of our viewers — take their citizenship seriously.”

APT, PBS partner to offer Moyers & Company for viewing on COVE

Moyers & Company has become the first American Public Television-distributed program to be presented on the PBS COVE online video player and PBS mobile apps. The weekly public affairs show, hosted by veteran public TV journalist and independent producer Bill Moyers, has been offered on COVE on a test basis for several weeks, according to spokesperson Joel Schwartzberg. With today’s announcement, PBS and APT signaled their intention to collaborate to bring more APT titles to PBS’s online video player. The arrangement helps to make Moyers & Company more easily accessible for public TV viewers. The series, which launched in August 2010, is the first from Moyers to be distributed by APT.

Moyers calls for a convention to remake system

Bill Moyers, in a speech to public TV program execs in Memphis Nov. 10 [2011], compared today’s public broadcasting system to the half-baked union of the nation’s Articles of Confederation before the adoption of the U.S. Constitution.” Forty years after the founding, our ‘Articles of Confederation’ aren’t working all that well, either,” he said and suggested that public broadcasters call the equivalent of a weeklong constitutional convention to begin a creative “rebirth” and start developing “a structure and scheme for the 2lst century.” “Until we are able to say clearly and comprehensively what it is we really want to do, how much it will cost,” funders won’t wholeheartedly pitch in, he said. Since the second Carnegie Commission in the late 1970s, he said, “we haven’t engaged in a full and frank examination of the system — the full nature of the process — top to bottom and with all the interested internal and external public and private parties participating.”

Moyers returns in January with weekly hour

The latest incarnation of Bill Moyers’ distinctive brand of talk programming will be the hourlong, multiplatform Moyers & Company, distributed by American Public Television. The January debut for the program — provided fully funded to pubTV stations — will mark the first time PBS has not been the distributor of an ongoing Moyers program to public TV stations, dating to his first show in 1972. His most recent series, Bill Moyers Journal, left the air April 30, 2010, when he retired. “Collaborating with APT offers stations flexibility in deciding where a broadcast can best serve their communities and it offers producers greater flexibility regarding the Web,” Moyers told Current in an email. “And we intend a major use of Web and social media.”

Moyers described the new show to pubTV stations in a letter Aug.