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I started my career in television believing that television could be a force for good.


Initially, the shows I hosted lived up to that standard. Following in the footsteps of the iconic Phil Donahue, who turned his studio into a town hall, those early programs aspired to shed light – not heat – by delving into then-closeted controversies such as alcoholic teens and gay rights.

The stakes had changed when I returned to start a new syndicated talk show after stint as a network correspondent. Gone was the gentler, kinder look at complex issues of daily life. TV talk had morphed from forums of enlightening encounters into spectacles of dysfunction and confrontation. “My Mother is a Party Animal” was in; “Should Kids Be Tried as Adults?” was out. Soon thereafter, unwilling to deliver what America’s viewers wanted to hear, so was I.

But now, as we continue to grapple with the fallout of two pandemics – one, a deadly virus; the other a nation frozen in the vice grip of bitter divide - my faith in television as an antidote to anxiety is back.

Today I moderate “Common Ground with Jane Whitney” a series that 10 years ago launched its unlikely path from a church hall in rural Connecticut to PBS national syndication. The constant struggle that continues to test our resilience inspired us to name the show something that captures how we’d all like to return to a better place of civility and unity.

When you tune in, you’ll find a diversity of voices focusing on issues that make a difference in your life. You’ll discover discussions that transcend the sound bite mentality and may help you hear opposing points of view in a new way. Most of all, you’ll find a respite from the tumult and chaos that divides us -- a show that strives to reaffirm the democratic principle that out of many, we are one. 

Look for “Common Ground with Jane Whitney” on your local PBS station.

Until then, take care.  - Jane

Currently Jane is being considered for an Emmy -

Watch her highlights reel and learn why.  

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Jane Whitney, Our Moderator

During her 25+ year career in television, Jane Whitney was a correspondent for NBC News based in Central America and a reporter for "Entertainment Tonight." Ms. Whitney also anchored topical talk/news  broadcasts for PBS, CNN and CNBC and WCAU-TV in her hometown of Philadelphia. Finally, she was dubbed a "recovering talk show host" by New York times columnist Maureen Dowd after she hosted the Warner Bros. nationally syndicated TV program "The Jane Whitney Show.” Her social commentaries and essays have appeared in Newsweek, The New York Times Magazine and The New York Observer. Currently, she also helps manage two foundations that support services for domestic violence victims, the homeless and at risk children.

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