Following the death of TV series creator and host John McLaughlin, at the age of 89, The McLaughlin Group TV show is winding to a close, after 34 years on the air. The weekly syndicated half-hour public affairs roundtable ran mostly on PBS stations in the US. Regular panelists include Pat Buchanan, Eleanor Clift, Clarence Page, and Tom Rogan. Paul Glastris, Mort Zuckerman, and David Rennie were frequent guests. Past contributors include: Lawrence O’Donnell, Chris Matthews, Katty Kay, and Al Hunt.
Variety reports that while the show was well-established enough that it could have withstood a a new host, it was McLaughlin who decided — five years ago — that the show should end when he was finished with it. According to the report, he missed his very first episode, due to health problems, last week. The final episode will air this week. Check your local listings.
Here is more from Variety:
…McLaughlin made his wishes known about the show’s future five years ago when he received an offer from Anschutz Media Group to buy the franchise, according to John Roberts, a senior producer for “McLaughlin Group.”
Anschutz’s lucrative offer called for McLaughlin retire within two years after grooming a successor as moderator of the four-person panel debating political headlines and issues of the day.
“We talked about it at some length,” Roberts told Variety, noting McLaughlin ultimately passed on the deal. “John finally said ‘What would be so wrong if when I finish up I just turn the lights out?’”
According to the report, the panel will tape the final episode this Friday in Washington DC. Plans for an hourlong retrospective in the future are still to be finalized.
Variety says producer John Roberts pointed out, “…McLaughlin’s run beginning in 1982 makes him TV’s longest-serving single host of a talk show in TV history. McLaughlin surpassed by a few months the mark previously held by [William F.] Buckley with his 34 years on Firing Line.”
What do you think? Are you a fan of The McLaughlin Group TV series? Do you plan to tune in for the final episode on PBS?