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THIRTEEN's Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly Broadcasts its Final Episode This February


Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly, THIRTEEN's much-honored and highly acclaimed series covering religion, spirituality, and ethics in America and around the world, will end its run as its 20th season on PBS draws to a close on February 24, 2017, it was announced today by WNET, parent company of THIRTEEN, WLIW21 and operator of NJTV.

"WNET is honored to have been the producing station for Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly all these years," said Stephen Segaller, vice president, programming, WNET. "We take great pride in all the awards and accolades the series has deservedly garnered during this time and we are pleased to announce that the Religion & Ethics website, including its extensive archives, will still be available."

When Religion & Ethics launched in September 1997, the idea of a weekly television news program devoted to providing cutting-edge news coverage and analysis of national and international events in the ever-changing religion world was groundbreaking.

Founded by veteran broadcast journalist Bob Abernethy, Religion & Ethics quickly established itself as a thoughtful, credible, and balanced source for religion news.

Almost two decades later, this one-of-a-kind TV show has built a reputation for presenting meaningful stories and insightful perspectives in documentary segments and discussions with newsmakers, scholars and policy analysts to examine religion's role and the ethical dimensions behind top news headlines.

Religion & Ethics fielded five national opinion surveys over the lifetime of the series, from post-9/11 look at America's new religious landscape to reports on America's evangelicals, faith and family in America, religion and America's role in the world (with the UN Foundation), and the rise of the religiously unaffiliated - the "nones" - in America (with the Pew Research Center's Forum in Religion & Public Life).

Host and Executive Editor Abernethy said, "It has been a great privilege to report the many ways people of faith worship and serve others. We are deeply grateful to our thoughtful staff and also to our viewers, many of whom have told us the program consistently affirms the values they most respect."

Since its debut, Religion & Ethics has produced 52 weekly programs per year. In over 1,000 episodes, the series has interviewed notables including the Dalai Lama, President Jimmy Carter and the Aga Kahn, covered faith and denomination across America's diverse religious landscape, and profiled a range of men and women of faith such as evangelist Billy Graham, pastor Rick Warren, authors Joni Eareckson Tada and Max Lucado, novelist Marilynne Robinson, Cardinal Blase Cupich, Roman Catholic Archbishop of Chicago, Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, gospel musician Kirk Franklin, and more.

According to Executive Producer Arnold Labaton, "It has been a privilege to work with such a gifted and talented team of staff and free-lancers and being able to produce segments we felt were meaningful and significant and not available elsewhere."

Religion & Ethics has covered religion's complex role in politics and the national debate over issues such as immigration, poverty and health care. And it has showcased humanitarian efforts across America and the globe to make the world a better place.

In the process, the program has won over 200 industry awards. This fall, Religion & Ethics took top honors at the 2016 Religion Newswriters' Association (RNA) Awards winning first, second and third places for Excellence in Television News Magazine Religion Reporting.This win marked the third time the series has swept this category. (The other R&E sweeps were in 2013 and 2015.). Other awards include the Sigma Delta Chi, the Gabriel award, the Gracie Allen, the Wilbur award, the Chicago TV Fest, New York Festival and CINE Golden Eagle.

The Religion & Ethics archives will be available online. To complement the television broadcast and further explore the themes, stories and personalities of religion and ethics news, Religion & Ethics has offered a companion website ( that includes transcripts of individual shows, streaming videos, and related articles and resources, as well as exclusive "web-only" material, all of which will continue to be available.

Over the last decade, the companion website for Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly wasrecognized with five Webby Awards, the prize that sets the standard for what is best on the Web. In the category related to religion and spirituality, the program received two Webby Awards and three People's Choice Awards.

Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly is a production of THIRTEEN Productions LLC for WNET. Arnold Labaton is executive producer. Bob Abernethy is host/executive editor. Kim Lawton is managing editor. Stephen Segaller is executive-in-charge. Major funding for Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly has been provided by Lilly Endowment Inc. for an extraordinary 20 years, with additional support from Mutual of America Life Insurance Company and individual supporters.

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