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WNET Cancels Newscast

NEW YORK: WNET, the PBS affiliate in the No. 1 market, is canceling its weeknight newscast as of April 2, The New York Timesreports. WNET chief Neal Shapiro confirmed to the Times that the cancellation was related to a budget shortfall “of a few million dollars.”

The program, “Worldfocus,” was launched 18 months ago and aired weeknights for 30 minutes. It focused primarily on international news.

“The program aims to fill a major void in television news, which devoted just seven percent of its airtime in 2008 to world news,” the Worldfocus Web site states. “At a time when most major news organizations are closing foreign bureaus and cutting back on overseas staff, ‘Worldfocus’ brings viewers a truly global perspective on the world around them.”

The Times said “Worldfocus” was a pet project for Shapiro, who took flack for diverting resources to it that were said to result in layoffs in other parts of WNET.