Judy Woodruff to retire from ‘PBS NewsHour’ anchor desk

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Judy Woodruff, the anchor and managing editor of “PBS NewsHour,” announced she will retire from the broadcast at the end of 2022 but will still contribute to the broadcast for the next two years.

Woodruff had previously announced her intent to retire by the end of 2022 in May 2022, but this announcement includes specifics on her last date and her future role with the program.

Her last day will be Dec. 30, 2022.

Woodruff’s successor at the “NewsHour” anchor desk will be named in late 2022.

After leaving, Woodruff, 75, will begin work on a national reporting project with a senior correspondent title called “Judy Woodruff Presents: America at a Crossroads.”

The effort will explore how America arrived at this fractured political state and what solutions people envision, through travel and conversations with voters and local and national politicians, as well as discussions with writers, historians, religious and community leaders and policy experts.

The reports will appear regularly on “NewsHour” and may also become primetime specials for PBS member stations.

It is not uncommon for newscasts to give retiring anchors or correspondents an “emeritus” role of sorts.

These arrangements typically are paid and often include keeping an office at the broadcast facility. Retired talent may contribute in a variety of ways, such as by providing analysis during major news coverage or elections or contributing long-form content or specials. Similar arrangements have been done for Diane Sawyer and Tom Brokaw.

This allows networks to keep some of the experience and expertise its longtime journalists have built up while also keeping a familiar face on the air, even if it’s much less often. Talent, meanwhile, are still often able to collect a paycheck and other perks while being semi-retired. Even if they work on other projects, these typically are less demanding that anchoring a daily newscast or being a network correspondent.

Woodruff worked for PBS over two stints, but became anchor of “NewsHour” in 2013 along side Gwen Ifill. Ifill died in 2016 from cancer and she was not replaced, leaving Woodruff to anchor the broadcast solo since then.

She previously reported and hosted for PBS from 1982 to 1993.

In 1993, she jumped to CNN, where her national profile rose. She left CNN in 2005 and taught college courses and worked on a long-form project until landing back at PBS.

“I have loved anchoring this extraordinary program, initially with my dear friend Gwen Ifill. To follow in the footsteps of Jim Lehrer and Robert MacNeil has been the honor of a lifetime. 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. 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,” Woodruff said in a statement issued by PBS.

Sara Just, PBS NewsHour’s senior executive producer and a WETA SVP, added, “Judy Woodruff is a legend and an icon. She continues to inspire with her commitment to fair, thorough journalism and her next project will bring all of her experience and skills to the most important story in our country: What is happening in America and can democracy survive?”