UNC President Emeritus Bill Friday has signed on for another year of hosting UNC-TV’s longest-running original program, “North Carolina People with William Friday.”
The 42nd season of the show will debut Friday night with an interview that Friday conducted with retired Gen. Hugh Shelton.
“We’re just keeping right on with what we’ve been doing in the past,” said Friday.
The former president of the UNC system was hospitalized in May, when he received a heart pacemaker.
UNC-TV spokesman Steve Volstad said the production schedule for this Season may be adjusted at the outset so that Friday won’t be filming a new episode every week.
“There will be a mix of new ones and repeats going forward,” Volstad said, “at least for a while.”
Friday said the Shelton interview will touch on some foreign policy topics but also on Shelton’s leadership program at N.C. State University.
Soon after the Shelton interview, UNC-TV will air a repeat of an interview Friday did with the late Andy Griffith in 2005, then return with new episodes featuring the dean of UNC’s Gillings School of Global Public Health and with the director of the Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina.
“I’m very, very interested in doing all I can to attack this poverty problem in North Carolina,” Friday said. “I think we don’t really appreciate how serious it is. Seventeen percent of people are living in those circumstances, and that’s not how North Carolina should be.”
Friday said when children are hungry and living in poverty, it translates into problems that impact schools. He said the hunger problem is the No. 1 issue in the state right now.
It’s those kinds of issues that keep Friday in the UNC-TV studios, year after year.
“If I can do a little something by presenting people who really know what they’re talking about, that’s why I keep doing it,” he said.
“The show allows us to open up issues that don’t get the attention they should have.”
“North Carolina People with William Friday” airs on Friday nights at 9 and repeats on Sunday afternoons at 5:30.