The veteran broadcaster and journalist Jim Lehrer will retire as an anchor of the PBS NewsHour next month, although he will remain involved with the long-running news programme behind the scenes.
Lehrer, 76, told viewers on Thursday evening that he would exit the NewsHour's presenting roster from 6 June.
"I've been gradually stepping back from my daily on-air duties. That really began in December 2009 with the coming of the PBS NewsHour. As of June 6, another phase will begin: I will no longer be part of the ongoing double-anchor rotation," he said.
"I've been labouring in the glories of daily journalism now for 52 years, 36 of them here at the NewsHour and its earlier incarnations, and there does come a time to step aside from the daily process. And that time has arrived."
Best-known to many Americans as the moderator of presidential election debates, Lehrer will maintain a presence on the NewsHour by moderating Friday night discussions involving the syndicated columnist Mark Shields and The New York Times' David Brooks. He will also continue to be involved in guiding the editorial direction of the programme.
Lehrer has had a long and distinguished career with PBS, having joined the public service broadcaster in 1973 and partnered memorably with the broadcaster Robert MacNeil. He has been with NewsHour since it began as The Robert MacNeil Report in 1975.
The programme was renamed The MacNeil/Lehrer Report a short time later, before becoming The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour in 1983 and then The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer upon the retirement of MacNeil in 1995.
The most recent relaunch occurred in 2009 when the programme was rebooted as the PBS NewsHour. That revamp - described by Lehrer as the first phase in his gradual move toward retirement - resulted in the creation of a two-anchor format, with a rotating roster of presenters comprising Lehrer, Ray Suarez, Margaret Warner, Judy Woodruff, Gwen Ifill and Jeffrey Brown.
During his time at PBS, he has been praised for his thoughtful interviewing style and fair-minded approach to reporting. He elaborated on his views about journalism in 2009, laying out ten principles of what he described as MacNeil/Lehrer journalism.
"I am grateful to Jim for the extraordinary contributions he's made to public television," said Paula Kerger, the chief executive and president of PBS.
"Jim has built a talented team and we're very proud to be the home of PBS NewsHour. As Jim begins the next chapter of his career, we are grateful for his ongoing leadership and his continued presence on Friday nights."
The NewsHour is broadcast on SBS One on Tuesday to Saturday afternoons.
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