FEATURED:

'McLaughlin Group' to return in 2018

'McLaughlin Group' to return in 2018
© Getty Images

The iconic political panel show, "The McLaughlin Group" is set to return to the airwaves on Jan. 7, according to an announcement by Washington, D.C., ABC affiliate WJLA.

Tom Rogan, a mentee of the late legendary host John McLaughlin, will be taking over as moderator.

Longtime panelists Eleanor Clift, Pat Buchanan and Clarence Page will also be returning to the program.

"Rogan, in his early 30s, has been working in Washington DC as a respected political journalist and national TV commentator, and is not shy about expressing his opinions on major issues of the day," according to the WJLA announcement.

ADVERTISEMENT

"His cool demeanor will drive a lively yet respectful debate amongst his esteemed panelists. A weekly rotating guest panelist will also join the group. This is the time, now more than ever, for balanced debate," the station said.

Rogan, 31, says while he could never fill McLaughlin's shoes, he believes the program "has never been more necessary" given the heightened interest in politics the American public has shown in the past two years with the election of President TrumpDonald John TrumpKey takeaways from the Arizona Senate debate Major Hollywood talent firm considering rejecting Saudi investment money: report Mattis says he thought 'nothing at all' about Trump saying he may leave administration MORE.

"John McLaughlin was my mentor and a very close friend. I can never fill his shoes, but I believe 'The McLaughlin Group's' unique blend of unfiltered news and unrestrained analysis has never been more necessary," said Rogan. "With determination and mutual respect, the panel and myself will deliver for our viewers.”

McLaughlin died at the age of 89 in August 2016 after battling prostate cancer.

He hosted his program, "The McLaughlin Group," every week from Jan. 1, 1982, to Aug. 7, 2016, without missing a show.

In 1985, three years after the show's launch, President Reagan jokingly roasted "The McLaughlin Group" at a Ritz-Carlton reception, saying, "In America's diet of political commentary, its intellectual nutritional values fall somewhere between potato chips and Twinkies."

"John McLaughlin, Mr. T of TV journalism," Reagan ribbed as McLaughlin laughed along. "I once described John by saying the United States needs a tax increase like John McLaughlin needs assertiveness training. John took a simple Sunday morning discussion format out of the issues of our day and, using the insight, skill and great humility that have become his trademarks, managed to turn it into a political version of 'Animal House.' "

"Thank you for making that half hour every weekend something very special to look forward to," the president concluded, chuckling. "I wouldn't miss it. I can't afford to."