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Whither the McLaughlin Group?

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Perhaps you’ve noticed that the 31-year-old weekend shoutfest known as The McLaughlin Group has lately made itself scarce during the heavyweight Sunday morning talk-show line-up.

Well, true fans need to roll out of bed earlier. After decades of prominence on Saturday nights and, more recently, Sundays at noon, “the Group” is now being broadcast at a less-than-prestigious 6:30 a.m. on Washington’s CBS affiliate WUSA-TV.

Some in the highly competitive world of small-screen punditry might call it a “metaphysical certitude” that the Reagan-era panel chaired by a former Nixon White House speechwriter is fading to black.

Not so, says longtime panel member and resident liberal Eleanor Clift. “It’s not unusual for the Group to be preempted during football season -- and the assumption is that we will return to our usual time slot following Face the Nation,” she told Government Executive. “One complicating factor is the expansion of [Bob] Schieffer’s show to an hour, which had pushed the Group to noon on Sunday.”

So perhaps it’s not yet time for McLaughlin’s final “BYYYYE BYYYYE.”

Charlie Clark joined Government Executive in the fall of 2009. He has been on staff at The Washington Post, Congressional Quarterly, National Journal, Time-Life Books, Tax Analysts, the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges, and the National Center on Education and the Economy. He has written or edited online news, daily news stories, long features, wire copy, magazines, books and organizational media strategies.

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