Margaret Hoover headshot
“Firing Line with Margaret Hoover” airs Fridays at 8:30 p.m. on PBS (check local listings), and the PBS Video app.

PBS’s “Firing Line with Margaret Hoover” Prepares for Season Four

Posted on:

< < Back to

Airs Fridays at 8:30 p.m. on WOUB TV

ATHENS, OH – PBS’s Firing Line with Margaret Hoover, which airs Fridays at 8:30 p.m. on WOUB TV, begins its fourth season in July. The series is reprisal of William F. Buckley Jr.’s iconic PBS program which was on the air for 33 years. Hoover’s version aims to provide a platform that is diligent in its commitment to civility and the rigorous exchange of opinion.

“William F. Buckley Jr. was an iconic figure, television personality, public intellectual and political convener who was a really seminal part of the modern American conversative movement in the second half of the 20th century,” said Hoover. “Many, many figures of political, cultural and historic contribution in the last half of the 20th century appeared on Firing Line. It was a space that elevated ideas over personality and the ability to bring one’s best arguments to the table in a way that was respectful but took the ideas seriously, and that’s what I try to take a note from.”

Hoover is the great-granddaughter of U.S. President Herbert Hoover and worked in the George W. Bush administration.  She is an author, feminist and gay rights activist. Hoover describes herself as center right politically, and that’s something she doesn’t hide from her audience because she believes it permits a respectful discussion of all perspectives.

“I don’t balance my own perspective, but I make sure the audience knows it. The audience has the opportunity to know where I’m coming from, but also to know where the guest is coming from,” said Hoover. “People come to the table with their own set of ideas and their own world view. They’re not pretending to be objective. What we’re trying to do is engage in the arena of ideas to figure out what are the better ideas for the policies of our country. So, I think the most important thing for me to do as a host is for people to know where I’m coming from, including the other guests that I bring on who sometimes will agree with me and sometimes won’t, and then we’re able to have a thoughtful conversation from different perspectives.”

In addition to hosting Firing Line, Hoover is also currently a commentator on CNN and has been a Fox News commentator in the past. Even though some think cable news has caused some of the political polarization in this country, Hoover believes it’s more complex than that.

“It’s not just cable news. It’s also going on Facebook and Twitter and Instagram and all these social media platforms that really operate in the echo chamber of confirmation bias. The things you like, they send you more so you can end up just seeing things you agree with from people you agree with,” said Hoover. “An open mind when you come to public television to be able to hear and evaluate other thought leaders and the ideas that they are presenting makes for, I think, a more enriched lived experience.”

As Firing Line moves into its fourth season, Hoover says more and more people are turning to the program to see a productive discussion on the issues of the day. She believes it’s something people want and are seeking out.

“There are some people who are always going to vote Democrat. And there are some people who are always going to vote Republican. But most people might lean one direction or the other but are open to a good argument and are open to being pragmatic and problem solving,” said Hoover. “I think people are hungry for real information and authentic voices and earnest ideas and earnest individuals trying to make the right choices and good choices for the country.”

The last season of Firing Line was recorded during a pandemic and a presidential election year. Many of the guests were elected officials and health leaders. This season will be different. Hoover said she plans to lower the temperature a bit and bring on business and cultural leaders, as well as sports figures to discuss how they are approaching these polarized times.