Challenging times for PBS NewsHour

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PBS NewsHour is navigating troubled waters, the New York Times reports. The show’s main corporate underwriter, Chevron, is departing at the end of the year, taking $2 million from NewsHour’s $27 million annual budget; the Knight Foundation, which helped finance the overhaul of the show’s Web site in late 2009, has declined to provide more support. Its political editor, David Chalian, and managing editor for digital news, Maureen Hoch, are both leaving for other positions. MacNeil/Lehrer Productions president and the head of fund-raising and marketing also left for new opportunities. Longtime anchor Jim Lehrer, who stepped away from the weeknight anchor chair in June for a reduced role, may leave permanently in December. And Lehrer told the Times that he has heard complaints from some PBS member stations that the program’s new format, featuring a different pair of senior correspondents as anchors each night, was confusing to viewers. The show drew 10.7 million total viewers in September, down 11 percent from 12 million a year ago.

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