After 20 months of retirement, Bill Moyers, now 77, will return to PBS with a new show called “Moyers & Company.” It will premiere on Friday, January 13th. Unlike his old show, “Bill Moyers Journal,” which was distributed by PBS, this one will be distributed by American Public Television. The New York Times reports that PBS has declined to distribute the show and give it a prime slot in its main schedule, however, it will run on PBS satellite channels and will be streamed at video.pbs.org. Also, the new show will be available online at Bill Moyers.com. Like many of his fans, I’m thrilled Bill Moyers is back. We need his compassion and wisdom now more than ever before.
According to the NYT, Moyers has 30 employees for his new venture, half of that of the “Journal.” The focus of his first three episodes will be “a marathon four-hour chat with the political scientists Jacob S. Hacker and Paul Pierson, authors of Winner-Take-All Politics: How Washington Made the Rich Richer and Turned Its Back on the Middle Class, which he called “the most important book I’ve read” since ending the old show.” Moyers promises to “explore how America’s gross inequality is no accident, but was in fact, ‘politically engineered.” Also, Moyers will have an essay on how Occupy Wall Street is waking us up to economic inequality.
In an interview Moyers gave with Val Zavala on SoCal Connected he hinted at topics he wants to explore with his new show. Moyers spoke about “crony capitalism, the Occupy Wall Street movement, and President Obama’s own contribution to the economic crisis.” According to Common Dreams, who reported on the interview, economic inequality, broken government, and the dire state of American democracy are the issues that most compelled Moyers to return to television.
Why doesn’t the new show have a prime time spot on PBS main chanmel? Republicans would like to defund PBS. So, by not giving it a primetime slot or distributing the show, PBS is putting a little distance between itself and Bill Moyers, who is known for his progressive politics and criticism of right wing agendas. On the upside, Moyers now has his own website in which he will be free to have opinions about issues without frightening management at PBS. BillMoyers.com will be an interactive site that will serve as an archive for all of his work and provide a forum for viewer participation.