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One of PBS’s most popular public affairs presentations, The Advocates was essentially a series of debates (usually live) on topical issues.
Each week two speakers, representing opposing points of view, presented their respective arguments for or against the proposition at issue and could call “witnesses” to “testify” on their behalf.
On many occasions during the early 1970s, the two sides were taken by Howard Miller, a law professor of liberal bent, and William Rusher, a conservative associated with the National Review. Michael Dukakis, who was elected governor of Massachusetts in 1974 and would run for president in 1988, frequently moderated the series in its first years.
The show was the brainchild of Roger Fisher, a professor of international law at Harvard, and was seen locally in Boston before going national in 1969. The Advocates was produced by both KCET, Los Angeles, and WGBH, Boston.
Early in 1978, the show returned on a biweekly basis with Marilyn Berger as moderator.