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PBS show ‘Religion and Ethics NewsWeekly’ to end after 20-year run

By Adelle M. Banks
©2016 Religion News Service

12/21/2016

WASHINGTON (RNS) — “Religion and Ethics NewsWeekly,” an award-winning weekly public television series, will end early next year after a 20-year run.

The last episode will air on Feb. 24, announced WNET, the parent company of THIRTEEN Productions.

“It has been a great privilege to report the many ways people of faith worship and serve others,” host and executive editor Bob Abernethy said in a statement in a news release dated Wednesday (Dec. 14). “We are deeply grateful to our thoughtful staff and also to our viewers, many of whom have told us the program consistently affirms the values they most respect.”

The show’s 20 years of broadcasting is unusually long for syndicated series and TV programs in general.

Founded by Abernethy and launched in 1997, it provided national and international news coverage and analysis about religion. It included interviews with newsmakers ranging from the Dalai Lama to former President Jimmy Carter, profiles of religious leaders such as evangelist Billy Graham and Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, and surveys about faith after 9/11 and about “nones,” or the unaffiliated.

The news release did not give a reason for why the series was ending.

“WNET is honoured to have been the producing station for ‘Religion and Ethics NewsWeekly’ all these years,” said Stephen Segaller, vice-president of programming for WNET. “We take great pride in all the awards and accolades the series has deservedly garnered during this time.”

The show won more than 200 industry awards, including all of the Religion News Association’s 2016 honours for television news magazine religion reporting, and made similar RNA sweeps in two previous years. It was also honoured with the Wilbur, Gracie Allen and New York Festival awards.

The statement said the Religion and Ethics NewsWeekly website, which won five Webby Awards, will remain available. It provides access to an extensive archive, including transcripts of individual shows and streaming videos.

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