As the Donald Trump administration mulls whacking its funding for PBS, the pubcaster said today that it is launching a conservative talk show. In Principle will be hosted by Michael Gerson, a Washington Post columnist and former chief speechwriter for President George W. Bush, and Amy M. Holmes, formerly of Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze TV and a cable news conributor.
In Principle launches on the triskaidekaphobic Friday, April 13. PBS will make a call about its future after an initial eight-week run. The series producer is Grace Cutler, who recently was the Managing Editor of News for Sinclair-owned Circa.com. Sinclair has been in the news on its own lately as it tries to buy Tribune Media and expand its right-leaning footprint to 70% of U.S. homes.
The hosts plan to interview two guests each show, hoping for an in-depth discussion on issues and their formative political experiences. No guests have been announced yet, but Gerson said he’d like to discuss issues including race, gun control and whether conservatism is the right message for the working class.
The notion of a conservative-oriented talk show on PBS takes its cue from William F. Buckley’s Firing Line, which aired on the pubcaster from 1971-99. That series being carried by PBS was somewhat unusual, given the reputation among many conservatives that the pubcaster unfairly discriminated against non-liberal viewpoints in its other programming. But it started in 1966 on SECA/SCETV, which was one of the very few public broadcasting entities of that time that was sympathetic to the conservative movement.
Because the program received a relatively unfavorable Sunday evening timeslot on PBS’ schedule in the early 1970s, Buckley and Steibel briefly attempted to return Firing Line to commercial TV but could not find sponsors. PBS aired its final episode on December 26, 1999.