Media

WGBH puts ‘Beat the Press’ on hiatus during the coronavirus outbreak

The station will temporarily air 'Greater Boston' five nights a week.

Emily Rooney (center) with Jon Keller of WBZ News (left) and Dan Kennedy of Northeastern University (right) during a segment in 2018. Meredith Nierman / WGBH

Don’t expect to see Beat the Press on your television this Friday night — or any Friday night in the immediate future.

WGBH announced that it has put the weekly media commentary show on hiatus until after the COVID-19 outbreak subsides. Going forward, Beat the Press‘s half-hour slot at 7 p.m. will be filled by an extra night of WGBH’s news show Greater Boston, which typically airs Monday through Thursday.

The move is part of the public TV station’s focus on covering the historic pandemic.

“We know our audience is especially interested in this news and context right now,” Phil Redo, the general manager of WGBH’s local news and radio programs, told Boston.com in a statement.

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“Media commentary also remains a priority and that’s why we’ll be including this as Greater Boston segments when relevant,” Redo said. “We anticipate returning to Beat the Press on Fridays following the decline of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Fans of the 21-year-old show will however notice a familiar face in its Friday night time slot. Beat the Press host Emily Rooney, who hosted Greater Boston from 1996-2014, will takeover her old position on Thursday and Friday nights. Jim Braude, the current Greater Boston host, will continue to host on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays.

WGBH says the temporary change will bolsters its daily coverage of the COVID-19 crisis. In the midst of the outbreak, Rooney had to continued to host the Beat the Press, which last aired April 4. The show mostly focused on the media implications of pandemic with guests appearing remotely through teleconferencing apps like Skype and Zoom, due to social distancing guidelines.

Still, with more pressing coronavirus developments happening outside the narrow scope of media, WGBH decided it was appropriate add an additional night of its general news show.

“Expanding Greater Boston to five nights a week is to provide our audience with increased access to the local thought leaders and experts that address the challenges our communities are facing,” Redo said.

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