This weekend, the “PBS NewsHour” expands to weekends (and to New York City), with the debut of “PBS Newshour Weekend.” Anchored by Hari Sreenivasan, the weekend edition of the iconic evening news program will be shortened to half an hour (yes, a half-hour “NewsHour”), and will be produced by New York City PBS station WNET.
“It is an expression of continuity and change. One of the discussions I had with ["NewsHour" EP Linda Winslow] early on was about that. Are we looking for continuity or change?,” the weekend program’s executive producer Marc Rosenwasser says, sitting in a conference room at the WNET offices in midtown Manhattan. ”The answer we came up with was both.”
“The line we have to walk is between upholding the very rich traditions of the ‘NewsHour,’ which we respect tremendously and the nation respects tremendously as this great, valuable brand that has an almost unique place contextualizing and analyzing the news,” he added. “At the same time, moving forward as many weekend shows at all the networks work, as kind of a laboratory too.”
For the new team in New York and the “NewsHour” team in DC, the challenge is keeping the spirit of the weekday program, while simultaneously expanding its boundaries.
“It is still pretty rare to have 40-year long brands that have lasted,” Sreenivasan says. “Sure, we could use a few million more dollars, but we have somehow managed to survive in the marketplace, even with all the commercial competition, even with the current landscape.”
That isn’t to say there haven’t been hiccups along the way.