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'Need to Know,' Made to Replace 'Now,' Tallies Negative Marks, Renewal Not Likely Manifest NY Times

The PBS newsmagazine "Need to Know," created last year to replace "Bill Moyers Journal and "Now on PBS," may not be renewed after the feedback from some stations has been negative, reports our friend lizabeth Jenson in The New York Times.

The story says the show's executive producer, Shelley Lewis, and WNET.org vice president for content Stephen Segaller wrote in a December memo to public TV programmers that some station feedback of the show "has been negative, which is never pleasant, but is always useful." In retrospect, it would have been wiser to wait to introduce the show in the fall instead of in May to avoid interruption by summer pledge drives, they said, according to the story.

The memo also critiqued the performance of the show's anchors, Alison Stewart and former Newsweek editor Jon Meacham, noting that "Alison is far more comfortable in the anchor role than Jon," the piece notes. PBS said in a statement that the show will run through June 2011 and that "we are evaluating the series carefully. No final determination has been made."

The article adds that WNET.org chief executive Neal Shapiro expressed strong support for Meacham, who declined to comment.