NewsHour promotes Ifill and Woodruff to helm show, as TV’s first female co-anchor team

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The PBS NewsHour  is reassigning its senior journalists to new roles by tapping Gwen Ifill and Judy Woodruff as co-anchors and managing editors of the weeknightly broadcasts.

The change, announced today during the Television Critics Association Press Tour in Los Angeles, drops the system of rotating anchor duties among six different NewsHour journalists. It takes effect next month. Jim Lehrer, longtime anchor and co-owner of the show through MacNeil/Lehrer Productions, retains the title of executive editor, but Ifill and Woodruff will lead editorial and strategic planning of PBS’s flagship news show.

“Gwen and Judy have been the heart and soul of NewsHour for years,” said Linda Winslow, executive producer, “so it’s wonderful to formalize these new roles and give them an opportunity to provide even more input on the content and direction of the show.”

With the announcement, Ifill and Woodruff become the first female co-anchor team for a network news broadcast. They will helm the show together Mondays through Thursdays; on Fridays, Woodruff will solo as Ifill hosts Washington Week.

Six rotating anchors have filled the anchor chair since Lehrer retired in May 2012. At that time, Lehrer said that an ensemble approach to the anchoring job would create an “illusion of movement” and  helps maintain audience interest.

Journalists who shared co-anchor duties have been reassigned: Jeffrey Brown becomes chief correspondent for arts, culture, and society; Ray Suarez, chief national correspondent; and Margaret Warner, chief foreign correspondent. Hari Sreenivasan, who will anchor PBS NewsHour Weekend, the new series originating from WNET in New York, will be senior correspondent on the weeknightly broadcast.

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