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Marks Replaces Crystal at MacNeil Lehrer

“NewsHour” associate EP Simon Marks will take over as president of MacNeil Lehrer productions starting September 1st. He replaces PBS veteran and former NBC News President Lest Crystal, who announced his retirement in May. Marks launched Feature Story News, an independent broadcast news agency, in 1992. FSN has provided international news coverage to Fox News Channel and a dozen other news outlets over the years. Full release after the jump.


PBS NewsHour Associate Executive Producer Simon Marks
Named President of MacNeil Lehrer Productions

Long Association with MLP and the PBS NewsHour Will
Assist in Leadership and Future Growth

(ARLINGTON, VA) – Simon Marks, associate executive producer of the PBS NewsHour, has been named president of MacNeil Lehrer Productions effective September 1, 2010. Marks will take the position of current MLP President Lester Crystal, who recently announced his retirement.

MacNeil Lehrer Productions, a partnership of Robert MacNeil, Jim Lehrer and Liberty Media produces the PBS NewsHour, and other broadcast and digital journalism.

Marks comes to his position having had a long association with MacNeil Lehrer Productions. In his current role as associate executive producer of the PBS NewsHour, Marks oversees the daily production of the NewsHour broadcast and digital journalism. He also helped devise and oversee the recent integration of the NewsHour’s broadcast and online operations; managed the design and construction of the NewsHour’s new, digital newsroom; and he played a leading part in the launch of the re-branded “PBS NewsHour” nightly broadcast, website and mobile services in December of 2009.

Mr. Marks also enjoys a successful history of producing and reporting for the NewsHour. Since 1994, he has served as a special correspondent and producer, and he has filed on-air reports from datelines around the world, covering breaking and developing news stories in Russia, France, German, the UK, India, Pakistan, Iraq, Syria, Jordan, Israel, the Palestinian Authority, Venezuela, Mexico, Brazil and others. Marks won a 2007 Emmy Award for a series of reports from Pakistan.

"Simon Marks has been a vital force in forging the new PBS NewsHour just as Les Crystal was in creating the original NewsHour in 1983,” said Robert MacNeil, MLP partner and former NewsHour co-anchor, in making the announcement. “So, sad as we are to see Les retire after such a distinguished career, we are delighted to have Simon as his successor."

"Simon brings a vision and a feel for the future that is a perfect fit for MacNeil-Lehrer Productions as we chart our way in this exciting and challenging time for all of us in the business of serious journalism," added Jim Lehrer, executive editor and lead anchor of the PBS NewsHour and partner in MacNeil Lehrer Productions.

“I’m deeply honored and grateful that Jim Lehrer and Robin MacNeil would even consider me to succeed Les Crystal at MacNeil-Lehrer’s helm” added Simon Marks. “I’m excited to continue the important work we’ve already begun at the PBS NewsHour, and I look forward to furthering MacNeil-Lehrer’s reputation as the gold standard for video journalism in the digital age.”

In addition to his current and previous work with the NewsHour, Mr. Marks founded Feature Story News, an independent broadcast news agency with bureaus in Washington DC, New York, Orlando, San Francisco, London, Brussels, Moscow, Beirut and Beijing. Since 1992, FSN has supplied award-winning content to a variety of leading broadcasters and publishers worldwide including Fox News, National Public Radio, Channel News Asia (Singapore), France 24, Voice of America, TV & Radio New Zealand, Deutsche Welle, Radio Netherlands Worldwide, The Washington Post, Politico, National Journal and many others.

From 1989 through 1992 Marks served as London Correspondent (1989 – ’90) and then Moscow Correspondent and Bureau Chief (’90 – ’92) for Christian Science Monitor Television and covered events across the former Soviet Union, including the collapse of Communism, for “World Monitor”, the nightly news program broadcast on The Discovery Channel. Before that, he worked as a reporter for Independent Television News in his native United Kingdom. Mr. Marks is a graduate of the London School of Economics and has lived in Washington DC since 1993.

MacNeil/Lehrer Productions (MLP) produces PBS Newshour as well as other programs for public, commercial and cable television. MLP also produces coverage of national political conventions, national elections, the State of the Union address and other major events for PBS. Recent television programs produced by MLP include: Among the Righteous: Lost Stories from the Holocaust in Arab Lands; the Miller Center National Discussion and Debate Series, a series of moderated debates on issues of national importance sponsored by the University of Virginia; Debating our Destiny, a critically acclaimed two part series during which Jim Lehrer interviews former presidential and vice-presidential candidates about their debate triumphs and failures; Generation Next, Judy Woodruff’s travels across the country to explore the unique perspectives of Americans ages 16 – 25; the award-winning Do You Speak American?, Robert MacNeil’s cross country trek to discover why American’s speak the way we do; The First Lady: Public Expectations, Private Lives, a look at the expectations of the role of the modern first lady; as well as Betty Ford: The Real Deal and LadyBird, documentary profiles of former First Ladies Betty Ford and LadyBird Johnson. A biography of Nancy Reagan (The Role of A Lifetime) is now in production. MLP is also the leading force behind the By the People: America in the World civic engagement project.

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