In late April, Mr. Lehrer, who turns 74 on Monday, had aortic valve replacement surgery. He said he was recovering nicely and expects to be back on the air toward the end of June. But the nightly newscast’s funding situation could take longer to heal.
In its 25 years on the air, “NewsHour” has had fallow budget periods, but none that equal the current one, Mr. Lehrer acknowledged. The financial squeeze was precipitated last summer when Archer Daniels Midland ended its 14-year sponsorship of the program. That sponsorship provided nearly $4 million (and some years as much as $7 million) of the program’s yearly budget, which varies from $26 million to $28 million....MORE