) -- Jim Lehrer announced Thursday that he is retiring as a regular anchor of


"NewsHour" broadcast after 36 years.

"There comes a time to step aside from the daily process, and that day has arrived," Lehrer said Thursday.

Jim Lehrer plans to retire from "PBS NewsHour" in June.

His exit from the daily public television news broadcast will be the week of June 6.

Lehrer, who is turning 77 next week, said he will still appear on many Fridays to moderate a weekly analysis with syndicated columnist Mark Shields and

New York Times

columnist David Brooks.

His decision to leave the show is part of the program's transition, which began in December 2009 when "The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer" was changed to the "PBS NewsHour."

The multi-anchor team, which features senior correspondents Gwen Ifill, Judy Woodruff, Jeffrey Brown, Ray Suarez and Margaret Warner, will continue hosting the broadcast on a rotating basis.

Lehrer intends to remain involved in the editorial direction of the program and MacNeil/Lehrer Productions.

"I don't know another iconic television anchorperson who would be willing to take his name off the program he helped create -- while remaining on the air," Linda Winslow, the program's executive producer, said in a statement. "Jim's point in doing that was, 'We're all on the same team.' He wanted to create an enterprise that could be the bedrock for public broadcasting's journalistic future -- and I think he's done that."

Since the program's rebranding in 2009, the "NewsHour" has recorded steady audience growth. In March 2011, viewership was 16% higher than the year prior, and the program's digital reach has more than tripled, according to



--Written by Theresa McCabe in Boston.

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