NEW YORK, July 1, 2022 — What do progressive Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, conservative Rep. Liz Cheney, actor Matt Damon, Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch and cellist Yo-Yo Ma all have in common?
They have all been guests on PBS’ FIRING LINE WITH MARGARET HOOVER, which launches its fifth season this Friday.
The program — a relaunch of the iconic William F. Buckley Jr. program by the same name — is known for host Margaret Hoover’s newsmaking interviews with guests who represent a wide variety of political and cultural points of view.
“FIRING LINE provides a platform where competing ideas are examined in a rigorous but respectful manner,” says Hoover. “It’s my goal to get viewers open to a fresh perspective on issues without getting lost in the trading of talking points.”
FIRING LINE‘s season-five premiere features former two-term New Jersey Governor and EPA Administrator Christine Todd Whitman, a rare pro-choice Republican. In Friday’s season premiere episode, she condemns the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, calling it an example of judicial activism, and warns that “women will die” as a result of the decision.
“Throughout season five, I’ll continue to tackle the big issues, including the economy and inflation, defense of democracy, gun reform, human rights, climate change and abortion,” Hoover says. “But also expect to hear from thoughtful voices in comedy, literature and the cultural zeitgeist.”
In fact, one of the program’s most-watched clips of season 4 comes from outside the purely political arena. In it, exiled Chinese artist Ai Weiwei tells Hoover that the US is already in an authoritarian state and compares politically correct ideological conformity to the Cultural Revolution in China. The exchange generated an explosive reaction online and in the media.
FIRING LINE enters its fifth year on PBS at a time of tremendous growth and expansion onto new platforms. As 2021 concluded, premiere broadcast ratings were up 9% over the previous year (Source: TV Nielsen National, Sept. – Nov. 2021 v. Sept. – Nov. 2020).
FIRING LINE has received more than 40M impressions on YouTube since the launch of full episodes in August 2020. It is also available streaming on the PBS Video App and PBS.org. The highly acclaimed Firing Line podcast launched a year ago and features extensive exclusive content.
“In this time of hyperpartisanship, the range of perspectives and reasoned discussion that FIRING LINE offers resonates with a new generation of viewers,” says Executive Producer Alyssa Litoff. “Now, our enthusiastic audience engages directly in the conversation through our thriving social and streaming platforms in addition to our ever-popular linear program.”
Season 5 premieres Friday, July 1 at 8:30 pm (check local listings).
FIRING LINE WITH MARGARET HOOVER is executive produced by Tom Yellin, Margaret Hoover and Alyssa Litoff. The WNET Group is co-producer. Neal Shapiro and Stephen Segaller are executives in charge for The WNET Group.
Support for FIRING LINE WITH MARGARET HOOVER is provided by Stephens Inc., Robert Granieri, Charles R. Schwab, The Fairweather Foundation, Asness Family Foundation, The Rosalind P. Walter Foundation, Damon Button and The Marc Haas Foundation.
ABOUT MARGARET HOOVER
Margaret Hoover is the host of PBS’ Firing Line with Margaret Hoover, a refreshing revival of the television series hosted by William F. Buckley Jr. for 33 years. Hoover is a bestselling author, strategist and political commentator whose experience includes serving on the White House staff of President George W. Bush, on Capitol Hill and on two presidential campaigns. In 2013, Hoover co-founded American Unity Fund, a political organization focused on achieving full freedom and equality for LGBT Americans by working with conservatives.
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