THE NEWSHOUR WITH JIM LEHRER to Broadcast in High-Definition Format Beginning Monday, December 17, 2007

Posted by PBS Publicity on
Transition Adds 260 Regular Hours of Programming to PBS HD Output

New Digital Control Room and New Sets Accompany Transition

PBS and NEWSHOUR Will Also Broadcast Complete Live Primetime HD
Coverage of the 2008 Democratic and Republican Conventions

Arlington, VA — December 11, 2007 — THE NEWSHOUR WITH JIM LEHRER has built its reputation by insisting on the highest standards in journalism for more than 30 years. The program’s commitment to depth and clarity takes on new dimension as it launches a high-definition broadcast beginning on Monday, December 17, 2007. The new format will deliver superb video resolution and higher-quality audio, and will result in a richer experience for the increasing number of viewers who watch the program on an HD television set.

The transition of the NEWSHOUR to a high-definition digital broadcast furthers the goal of the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) to deliver the majority of its national programming schedule in HD. The NEWSHOUR will contribute an additional 260 hours of national programming toward that objective.

To enable the transition, WETA, the flagship public television station serving the Washington, DC, area and a co-producer of the NEWSHOUR, built a new state-of-the-art control room, constructed a new set optimized for HD and installed all new cameras and related digital editing equipment. The conversion to HD is made possible in part by a grant to WETA from the United States Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) under the Public Telecommunications Facilities Program.

Beyond the series’ regular evening broadcast, the NEWSHOUR and PBS will produce approximately 24 hours of live, HD primetime coverage of the 2008 Democratic National Convention from Denver, Colorado (August 25-28) and the Republican National Convention from St. Paul, Minnesota (September 1-4).

“This transition is an exciting development for the NEWSHOUR, WETA and PBS,” remarked Linda Winslow, executive producer of the NEWSHOUR. “While all this change is challenging, we look forward to this new HD format as a way to make the NEWSHOUR even more engaging and to serve our viewers better. But while we may look a little different, viewers can expect the same in-depth reporting and balanced discourse they have always gotten from the NEWSHOUR.”

“The NEWSHOUR’s move to HD will double PBS’ general audience HD hours from the previous year,” said John Boland, PBS Chief Content Officer. “Long-form films such as THE WAR and other transitions to HD by acclaimed series including NATURE, ANTIQUES ROADSHOW, AMERICAN EXPERIENCE, NOVA and FRONTLINE, hasten PBS’ already exponential growth in new HD programming and support the plans to transition public television to a full HD service by February 2009.”

Until the national conversion to digital television in February 2009, PBS will offer local PBS stations simultaneous feeds of both an HD and standard-definition NEWSHOUR broadcast. The standard-definition NEWSHOUR feeds will be down-converted from HD by PBS and will therefore appear to viewers of analog channels in a “letterbox” format.

THE NEWSHOUR WITH JIM LEHRER airs five nights a week on more than 315 PBS stations across the country (check local listings) and is also available online, via public radio in select markets and podcast. The program is produced by MacNeil/Lehrer Productions in association with WETA Washington, DC, and Thirteen/WNET New York. Corporate funding for the NEWSHOUR is provided by the new AT&T, Chevron and Pacific Life, along with major funding from the Atlantic Philanthropies, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the National Science Foundation, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and public television viewers.

About WETA
WETA Washington, DC, is the third-largest producing station for public television. WETA’s other productions and co-productions include Washington Week with Gwen Ifill and National Journal, In Performance at the White House, The Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song and documentaries by filmmaker Ken Burns, including The Civil War and The War. Sharon Percy Rockefeller is president and CEO. More information on WETA and its programs and services is available on the Web site at weta.org.

About PBS
PBS is a media enterprise that serves 355 public noncommercial television stations and reaches nearly 73 million people each week through on-air and online content. Bringing diverse viewpoints to television and the Internet, PBS provides high-quality documentary and dramatic entertainment, and consistently dominates the most prestigious award competitions. PBS is a leading provider of digital learning content for pre-K-12 educators and offers a broad array of other educational services. PBS’ premier kids’ TV programming and Web site, PBS KIDS Online (www.pbskids.org), continue to be parents’ and teachers’ most trusted learning environments for children. More information about PBS is available at www.pbs.org, one of the leading dot-org Web sites on the Internet.


– PBS –

Anne Bell, NEWSHOUR, 703/998-2175; abell@newshour.org
Rob Flynn, NEWSHOUR, 703/998-2174; rflynn@newshour.org