Washington Post Chairman Exits to Run ‘PBS NewsHour’

Bo Jones Jr. will be the President and CEO of MacNeil/Lehrer Productions

Bo Jones Jr., the Vice Chairman of the Washington Post Company and Chairman of the newspaper, has left his home of 32 years to become President and CEO of MacNeil/Lehrer Productions.

MacNeil/Lehrer, which produces “PBS NewsHour,” is a partnership between Jim Lehrer, editor and former anchor of “NewsHour” and Robert MacNeil, a former TV journalist who was also Lehrer’s co-anchor.

After starting at the Post in 1980, Jones, an Atlanta native, performed such duties as Vice President and Counsel, President and General Manager and Publisher and CEO.

In his new post, he will be in charge of securing funding for “NewsHour,” developing new programs and coordinating distribution of the company’s shows.

"Like millions of others, I am a huge fan of the NewsHour,’” Jones said in a statement. "I heartily look forward to helping MacNeil/Lehrer Productions sustain and expand its excellent and very special programming."

MacNeil and Lehrer became famous for their coverage of the 1973 Senate Watergate hearings, prompting them to create the “MacNeil/Lehrer Report” in 1975. After a few name changes and MacNeil’s departure from the anchor chair, that became “PBS NewsHour” in 2009. Lehrer announced he would step down as anchor earlier this year, but stay on as executive editor.

"It is a happy day for us in public broadcasting," MacNeil said in a statement.  "We welcome a man of such rich experience in journalism management to help us keep MacNeil/Lehrer Productions and the NewsHour’ vital into the future."

Public broadcasting has come under attack during the economic crisis by those who see it as an example of unnecessary public spending and believe it is liberally biased. In trying to keep the show “vital,” MacNeil/Lehrer decided to introduce a multi-anchor team to replace Lehrer, which will happen in December. Jones will take over at the start of 2012.