Back from 'retirement,' journalist Bill Moyers starting weekly series on PBS

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

NEW YORK -- Self-proclaimed "citizen journalist" Bill Moyers, who tore himself away from the TV grind a little more than two years ago with the explanation "maybe finally I've broken the habit," is returning to weekly television.

"Bill Moyers Journal" premieres at 8 p.m. Friday with the first of a scheduled 99 hours airing through February 2009, by which time Moyers will be within sight of his 75th birthday.

Though aswirl in "round-the-clock scripting, narrating and editing sessions against implacable deadlines" (as Moyers outlined it in a hasty e-mail), he stole a few moments to text some musings on what lies ahead.

To describe the overarching mission of "Bill Moyers Journal," he paraphrased Benjamin Harris, editor of America's first newspaper in the 1690s: "To give an account of such considerable things as have come to my attention."

In Friday's edition, his attention will be focused on such things as the Justice Department's questionable firing of eight federal prosecutors -- and Attorney General Alberto Gonzales' role in what appears to be political shenanigans.

The program will also mark the fourth anniversary of "Mission Accomplished" -- President Bush's landing on the banner-sporting aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln and his pronouncement that "Major combat operations in Iraq have ended" -- with help from investigative reporter Carlo Bonini, author of "Collusion: International Espionage and the War on Terror."

In a commentary, Moyers will assess the war's crushing cost. Then the hour closes with a profile of Grace Lee Boggs, who at age 91 is still going strong as a philosopher and grassroots activist.

"Week in and week out, it's Moyers & Friends on politics, culture, religion, books, media and money," he declares.

Moyers hasn't had much of a break, despite his intentions voiced in December 2004 that he was signing off for good.

That was when he left "Now," a weekly magazine show he had created, produced and anchored (and which continues on PBS with host David Brancaccio).

He then plunged into writing a memoir about his years with President Lyndon Johnson, whom he served as special assistant and press secretary.

Moyers also was deputy director of the Peace Corps, publisher of the Long Island newspaper Newsday, and, apart from his lengthy affiliation with public television, had a stint in TV news as senior analyst for CBS. The Texas native's resume also includes a divinity degree (he's an ordained Baptist minister).

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