It’s official: PBS NewsHour anchor and managing editor Judy Woodruff confirmed Friday that she is stepping aside from the NewsHour anchor chair on Friday, December 30.
“I have loved anchoring this extraordinary program, initially with my dear friend Gwen Ifill,” Woodruff said in a statement. “To follow in the footsteps of Jim Lehrer and Robert MacNeil has been the honor of a lifetime.”
Puck’s Washington correspondent Tara Palmeri reported back in May that Woodruff would leave the newscast sometime after the 2022 Midterm Elections, adding that PBS NewsHour weekend anchor Geoff Bennett and Woodruff’s primary substitute/NewsHour chief correspondent Amna Nawaz would co-anchor the hour-long newscast upon Woodruff’s exit.
PBS says Woodruff’s permanent successor at NewsHour will be named later this year.
Woodruff and the late Gwen Ifill joined PBS NewsHour in 2009 when Jim Lehrer was still anchor. Lehrer retired from NewsHour in 2011, and Woodruff and Ifill were named PBS NewsHour co-anchors officially in 2013 and remained co-anchors until Ifill’s passing in November 2016. Woodruff became the solo anchor and managing editor of PBS NewsHour in 2018, a role she’ll keep until Dec. 30.
Prior to her time at PBS, Woodruff co-hosted CNN’s Inside Politics along with the late Bernard Shaw. She covered national politics and the White House for NBC News in the 1970s and 1980s before that, and her coverage of politics goes back to 1972 for the then-CBS affiliate WAGA in Atlanta.
Yes, Woodruff is stepping down from the NewsHour anchor chair, but she isn’t leaving PBS entirely. She will devote 2023 and 2024 to a two-year national reporting project, Judy Woodruff Presents: America at a Crossroads.
“Now, I am thrilled to be embarking on this new project to try to understand the most divided time in American politics since I started reporting,” Woodruff added. “I want to listen to the American people themselves, in cities, small towns and rural areas, from one end of the country to the other, to ask them about their hopes and fears, how they see their role as citizens, and to have long conversations with people who’ve given these questions careful thought.”