Updated Dec 9, 2022
PBS NewsHour chief correspondent Amna Nawaz and chief Washington correspondent and PBS News Weekend anchor Geoff Bennett have been named co-anchors of the nightly PBS NewsHour newscast. Co-anchors Nawaz and Bennett will begin their turn on Monday, January 2, 2023. Nawaz and Bennett succeed Judy Woodruff, who has solo-anchored PBS’s nightly news broadcast since 2016, prior to which she co-anchored it alongside the late Gwen Ifill.
John Wang will be the new anchor for PBS News Weekend, starting December 31. He will continue to cover the Supreme Court and other national issues for PBS NewsHour as he has done since 2016 as a national correspondent.
On November 13, Woodruff announced her final broadcast date as anchor of NewsHour will be Friday, December 30, 2022. She also announced the launch of her two-year national reporting project, Judy Woodruff Presents: America at a Crossroads, which aims to understand better how the American people see their country and whether today’s deep political divisions can be healed. Woodruff will devote 2023 and 2024 to the project.
With Bennett shifting to co-anchor of the weekday NewsHour, a new anchor of PBS News Weekend will be named in the coming weeks. Both Nawaz and Bennett will remain NBC News and MSNBC contributors.
Millions of viewers will miss Judy Woodruff but are also already accustomed to seeing Nawaz and Bennett at the helm on their screens. PBS NewsHour’s average nightly audience in Q3 2022 (July – September 2022) totaled nearly 2 million persons. NewsHour’s average monthly digital audience for the same period topped 25 million persons, while video views totaled 45.9 million and social reach surpassed 13 million. The 2021 Erdos & Morgan Opinion Leaders survey ranked NewsHour as the #1 most Objective, Credible, and Current media organization, while for the 19th year in a row, Americans rank PBS the most-trusted institution.
PBS NewsHour is the primary daily, breaking and special news producer for PBS and airs weeknights at 7 p.m. on THIRTEEN. It produces PBS NewsHour, PBS News Weekend, and Washington Week; primetime and daytime breaking news and political specials such as on Senate hearings; documentaries; and maintains a robust footprint across digital and social platforms.
Judy Woodruff, PBS NewsHour
Woodruff’s distinguished career spans five decades in journalism, including 25 years as part of public broadcasting. She has solo-anchored the NewsHour since 2016 and served as a rotating anchor for the broadcast from 2009 – 2013.
THIRTEEN Viewers Praise of Woodruff
“Judy Woodruff…is a such a vital part of and contributes so much to this network. Her insight, wisdom and fortitude deserve much appreciation and thanks. Please convey these sentiments and my sincere thanks to Ms. Woodruff.”
– Ruth H, New York, NY
“Judy Woodruff brings soul to the memories shared on the air of COVID-19’s victims. What she conveys is truly heartbreaking in the beauty of their stories, underscoring an everyman’s contribution to the dignity of lives. Thank you, PBS NewsHour.”
-Neme A. Forest Hills, NY
“I will always have a special spot in my heart for Mark Shields and Gwen Ifill and am saving two more spots for Judy Woodruff and David Brooks. I’m 89 so I am of Mark’s generation, share his long history and share the likelihood of not outliving Judy and David. I want them to know how much I have loved The News Hour over the years”. – Thirteen Viewer
With Woodruff’s announcement to leave the anchor desk, Patricia Harrison, president and CEO of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, noted, “Throughout her long and extraordinary career, Judy Woodruff has earned the public’s trust with her even-handed interviews and commitment to the facts. Her journalistic excellence has been recognized many times, most recently in September, when she received the Emmy Award for Lifetime Achievement in television news. Her commitment to civil discussion set the tone for the PBS NewsHour and for all public media journalists. I wish her well in her new role.”
Geoff Bennett, PBS NewsHour
Geoff Bennett has reported from the White House under three presidents and has covered five presidential elections. He joined NewsHour in 2022 from NBC News, where he was a White House correspondent and substitute anchor for MSNBC. In his prior experience, he worked for NPR — beginning as an editor for Weekend Edition and later as a reporter covering Congress and the White House. An Edward R. Murrow Award recipient, Bennett began his journalism career at ABC News’ World News Tonight.
On being named co-anchor of PBS NewsHour, Geoff Bennett said, “I’m proud to work with such a stellar group of journalists in pursuit of a shared mission — providing reliable reporting, solid storytelling and sharp analysis of the most important issues of the day. It’s why PBS NewsHour is one of television’s most trusted and respected news programs and why I’m honored and excited to partner with Amna in building on its rich legacy.”
Amna Nawaz, PBS NewsHour
Amna Nawaz has received Peabody Awards for her January 6, 2021 reporting at NewsHour and for her NewsHour global plastic pollution reporting. She served as NewsHour’s primary substitute anchor since she joined the NewsHour in 2018. She previously was an anchor and correspondent at ABC News, anchoring breaking news coverage and leading the network’s livestream coverage of the 2016 presidential election. Before that, she served as foreign correspondent and Islamabad Bureau Chief at NBC News. She is also the founder and former managing editor of NBC’s Asian America platform, and began her journalism career at ABC News Nightline just weeks before the attacks of September 11, 2001.
On being named co-anchor, Amna Nawaz added, “It’s never been more important for people to have access to news and information they trust, and the entire NewsHour team strives relentlessly towards that goal every day. I am honored to be part of this mission, to work with colleagues I admire and adore, and to take on this new role alongside Geoff as we help write the next chapter in NewsHour’s story. Today is a day I never could’ve imagined when I began my journalism career years ago, or while growing up as a first-generation, Muslim, Pakistani-American. I’m grateful, humbled, and excited for what’s ahead.”
PBS NewsHour History
What is now PBS NewsHour began with public television’s unprecedented, gavel-to-gavel coverage of the U.S. Senate Watergate hearings in 1973 by Robert MacNeil and Jim Lehrer. In 1975, The Robert MacNeil Report, a week nightly half-hour news program that provided in-depth coverage of a different single issue each evening, debuted locally on Thirteen/WNET, with Lehrer as Washington correspondent, reporting from WETA Washington, D.C. Within months, the program was re-titled The MacNeil/Lehrer Report and was distributed nationally by PBS. In 1983, the program was renamed The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour and became the nation’s first and only hour-long nightly broadcast of national news, proving there existed both a need and a substantial audience for serious, long-form journalism.
With MacNeil’s departure in 1995, the program debuted as The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, produced from WETA’s studios in Arlington, VA. In December 2009, Lehrer transitioned the program from The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer to PBS NewsHour, adding a rotating anchor format and integrating the on-air and online news operations.
Lehrer ultimately left the anchor desk in 2011 and in 2013, then rotating anchors, Gwen Ifill and Judy Woodruff, were named co-anchors and managing editors of PBS NewsHour. Ifill and Woodruff’s appointment marked the first time a U.S. network broadcast had a female co-anchor team. Also in 2013, PBS NewsHour expanded to the weekend with PBS NewsHour Weekend, produced in collaboration with The WNET Group in New York. Woodruff has solo anchored the NewsHour since Ifill’s untimely death in November 2016.