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PBS

For Melissa Harris-Perry and Ray Suarez, a Windy City Homecoming

For MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry, wrapping up her presidential campaign coverage in the Windy City was a trip down memory lane.  Several years ago, Perry taught political science at the University of Chicago, and through mutual school ties met the not-yet-famous Barack and Michelle Obama.

“I was here as a young, untenured faculty member,” Perry told TVNewser during an interview on Election Day. “And I can remember that [now-presidential adviser] Valerie Jarrett and [now-Ariel Investments CEO/Obama supporter]” John Rodgers would have African-American faculty over for dinner, just to kind of provide us with support. Now they are kind of the inside team in the Oval Office.”

It was during that time that Harris-Perry began providing political commentary for Chicago PBS station WTTW and CW affiliate WGN.  “In many ways, it’s when I fell in love with morning television.”

Harris-Perry, now a professor at Tulane in New Orleans, has hosted her eponymous weekend morning show on MSNBC since February.

Another former Chicagoan in town for Election 2012 was Ray Suarez, who reported for NBC O&O WMAQ for more than seven years, in the late 80s and early 90s. before leaving for Washington,

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PBS’ Election Night Plans

Gwen Ifill and Judy Woodruff will anchor PBS’ election coverage on Tuesday night from 8pm-midnight. The pair will be joined by “NewsHour” analysts Mark Shields and David Brooks, and Jeffrey Brown will talk about national trends with political editor Christina Bellantoni and Stuart Rothenberg. Hari Sreeivasan will man the “NewsHour” digital map center.

Senior correspondents Ray Suarez and Margaret Warner will report from the candidates’ respective campaign headquarters in Chicago and Boston. “NewsHour” will also feature comprehensive election coverage on its website, which will transition to a special election day homepage with a live blog dedicated to campaign news.

More details after the jump. Read more

Charlie Rose Meets the Press, a Lot of Them, in Post-Debate Show

If you’re looking for the most ecumenical post-debate coverage tonight, check out Charlie Rose‘s PBS show. The “CBS This Morning” co-anchor is up late with a live debate wrap up with guests spanning many TV networks and publications, including:

Chuck Todd, NBC News
John Dickerson, CBS News
Martha Raddatz, ABC News
Gwen Ifill, PBS Newshour
Mark Halperin, Time Magazine
John Heilemann, New York Magazine
Tina Brown, Newsweek/ Daily Beast
Albert Hunt, Bloomberg News

Jim Lehrer on the Debate: ‘I understand why people were a little stunned by some of it’

Jim Lehrer to critics: Bring it.

PBS’s Lehrer today insisted that he’s unfazed by the avalanche of vitriolic responses to his moderator performance at Wednesday’s presidential debate, seen by an estimated 67 million Americans.

In Lehrer’s 12th presidential at-bat, critics blasted him for being too passive, allowing President Obama and Mitt Romney to steamroll him at will. Critics also said Lehrer’s questions were vague, and that they didn’t cover a broad enough range of issues.

“Everybody is welcome to criticize my questions, or anything else I did,” Lehrer, 78, says. “I have no problem with that. I knew, going in, this was not going to be easy. What the hell. … The next debate, people will tweet, tweet, tweet all over again. That’s terrific.”

Despite being constantly interrupted and talked over, Lehrer pronounced the new debate format — featuring 15-minute, wide-open segments for the candidates to directly address each other – a success.

“The format worked,” he says. “These guys were really talking to each other. Presidential candidates had never done that before. People, including the candidates, and including me, were used to a more controlled format, with two-minute answers.

“I played a different role than in the past. I was still the moderator, but it was a different kind of debate. I understand why people were a little stunned by some it. Over time, they’ll get used to it, and realize it works.”

The downside of the open format, Lehrer acknowledges, is that it’s virtually impossible to steer the candidates in a different direction or to get them to shut up.

“I would hope the candidates themselves would do that,” says Lehrer, ever the optimist. “Certainly,

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PBS CEO: Romney Attack On Funding Inappropriate

During last night’s Presidential debate, GOP candidate Mitt Romney said that he would cut the subsidy for PBS, saying:

“I’m going to stop the subsidy to PBS. I’m going to stop other things. I like PBS. I love Big Bird. I actually like you, too. But I’m not going to keep on spending money on things to borrow money from China to pay for it.”

PBS CEO Paula Kerger appeared on CNN this morning, where she responded to the comment, saying that it “was not about the budget, this has to be about politics.”

“With the enormous problems facing the country, the fact that we are the focus is unbelievable to me,” Kerger said. “We are America’s biggest classroom, we touch children across the country in every home.”

WATCH:

Kerger dodged questions about Jim Lehrer‘s debate performance.

Ifill And Woodruff To Anchor ‘PBS NewsHour’ Debate Coverage

Presidential debate coverage for “PBS NewsHour” will be led by Gwen Ifill and Judy Woodruff, and will be joined by analysts Mark Shields, David Brooks and political editor Christina Bellantoni. “Newshour’”s coverage will run from 9-11 PM ET.

Tonight’s debate is a particularly big one for “NewsHour,” as Jim Lehrer will be serving as moderator. “NewsHour” will also be streaming the debate live on its website, alongside blog posts offering additional analysis.

More information after the jump.

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The Choice: The Trailer

The PBS News series “Frontline” is about to begin its 2012 election coverage in earnest, and to help kick things off the WGBH Boston-produced program released a trailer for a film that it is calling “The Choice 2012.”

WATCH:

Watch The Choice 2012 on PBS. See more from FRONTLINE.

Jim Lehrer: ‘I have no regrets about saying what I did, or about changing my mind’

Read my lips. No more debates.

Jim Lehrer didn’t use those words, but he might as well have. Lehrer’s November pronouncement that he would never host another presidential debate, like George H. W. Bush’s 1988 promise of no new taxes, turned out to be far from absolute.

With one major difference, according to PBS’s Lehrer. “There were consequences for him. There are no consequences for me.”

Lehrer will moderate the first Obama-Romney debate, Oct. 3 in Denver. It will be the 12th such event for Lehrer, 78, who last year retired as anchor of “NewsHour.” (For the first time since 1972, he won’t be the face of PBS at the national conventions.)

When members of the Commission of Presidential Debates asked Lehrer to re-consider, he said, Shermanesquely: “If drafted, I will not run; if nominated, I will not accept; if elected, I will not serve.” When the group pitched a new debate format, however, ‘never’ became too long to wait.

Despite the 180, Lehrer insists his conscience is clear.

“I have no regrets about saying what I did, or about changing my mind,” he says. “I am a regret-free person. I meant it when I said it at the time. I had no idea there would be a new format. Life is an ever-changing windstorm, and I’m a part of life.

“I didn’t just wake up one day and say, ‘I want to moderate a presidential debate.’ There was a long, long buildup. I didn’t change. The circumstances changed. I wouldn’t have considered it for any other reason.”

The selection of Lehrer, along with that of CBS’s Bob Schieffer, CNN’s Candy Crowley and ABC’s Martha’s Raddatz has drawn heavy criticism from blacks and Hispanics for its absence of racial diversity. Others have accused the moderators of being too liberal and/or too mainstream.

To Lehrer, with half a century in the news business, it’s all background noise.

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PBS Only Broadcaster To Offer 3+ Hours Of Convention Coverage In Primetime

We already noted last week that the team of Gwen Ifill and Judy Woodruff will be the first ever all-female anchor team to lead a network’s political convention coverage. Now the rest of “PBS NewsHour’”s plans are coming to light.

PBS–which has the benefit of being a not-for-profit TV network–will offer substantially more primetime coverage than any other broadcaster, with coverage running each night of the conventions from8-11PM. During the coverage there will be a number of segments featuring analysis, commentary and interviews, including contributors David Brooks and Mark Shields, analysis from “NewsHour” political editor Christina Bellantoni, and reports from the convention floors.

Online, correspondent Hari Sreenivasan will lead the network’s coverage, which will be 24 hours and powered by Livestream. The digital component will also feature “NewsHour” contributors, and will also have regular segments.

More information below.

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For Female Journalists, Another Significant ‘First’ This Election Season On PBS

When CNN’s Candy Crowley on Monday was named moderator for one of the Presidential debates, it drew headlines. Breaking a 20-year dry spell for women will do that.

So why the underwhelming response, relatively speaking, to PBS’s Gwen Ifill and Judy Woodruff — the first all-female team to spearhead a network’s convention coverage in news broadcast history?

Moreover, PBS didn’t even mention that fact when it announced the pairing in late June. It took another month before it came up during a PBS panel at the Television Critics Association press tour.

Ifill and Woodruff, both respected veterans of “PBS NewsHour,” insist their gender-making distinction is not a big deal.

“I think it matters a little; it doesn’t matter a lot,” says Woodruff, 65, whose first convention was in 1976 as a newbie NBC correspondent. “We’re not there because we’re women. We’re there because we love to cover politics and we’ve been doing it a long time.

“We’re not going to go on the air and say, ‘Aha, now is your chance to see two women on the convention.’ If others want to point it out, I’m very comfortable with it.”

Woodruff and Ifill will anchor from 8 to 11 each night from the Republican event, Aug. 27-30 in Tampa, followed by the Democratic gathering, Sept. 4-6 in Charlotte, N.C.

Ifill, 56, is no stranger to ‘firsts.’ As moderator of “Washington Week in Review” since 1999, she is the first female, and first person of color, to hold the position.

“It’s not important that we’re women,” she says of the historic convention partnership. “It’s important as a sign that ‘NewsHour’ is evolving, with the most experienced people doing the best job. Since Jim [Lehrer] went ‘stage right,’ as it were, Judy and I have been anchoring so much. Between us, we’ve covered something like 16 campaigns.

“The fact that we’re both women is almost incidental.”

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