Inside Washington to sign off after decades on the air

The panelists from Inside Washington gather for their final taping. Photo: Kelly Lamp

ARLINGTON, Va. (WJLA) - After 25 years on the air with Gordon Peterson at the helm, the nation's capital is saying goodbye to Inside Washington.

Peterson and his panel will appear on the final edition of the iconic political panel discussion show this Sunday morning on ABC7.

The team of Peterson, Nina Totenberg, Colbert King, Mark Shields Evan Thomas and Charles Krauthammer have gathered nearly every week for the past two and a half decades to talk about the pressing issues facing the nation.

And, for 25 years, it has been Peterson calling the shots from Inside Washington's hot seat and sharing his wisdom with his panel of experts.

"What an honor it has been to work with these five extraordinary, smart, gifted, knowledgeable, wickedly funny and dedicated Americans for the past several years," Peterson says.

Peterson, a longtime fixture of evening news in Washington, will continue in his role as the anchor of ABC7 News at 6.

The nationally-syndicated show had a loyal following across the country as political watchers found ways to bond with the panelists while they bonded with each other.

"This is not work for me," Thomas said. "This has been pure pleasure because we've been friends through all of this."

One of the longest running television political panels, Inside Washington signed on in 1969 as "Agronsky & Co." Peterson has hosted the show since 1988. It has endured every since because of that bond.

In one instance, Totenberg recalls the loyalty of her friends when her first husband was near death.

"My colleagues would show up at the hospital - unannounced - at very difficult moments," she said. "And when I started dating my beloved husband David, they cheered me on with dating tips."

That said, the show could get contentious, especially about the hottest of hot topics. One of those was the 2008 election of Barack Obama, which the panel recalled causing Krauthammer much distress.

"The best moments were when it was all-on-one," he said. "It was like tag-team wrestling, and I looked around and I had no team."

The final Inside Washington will air at 9 a.m. Sunday on ABC7, and for Peterson, he's ready to lead the team out while they're still on top.

"It was time. You want to quit while you still have your fastball, and all these people have their fastball," he said. "And some have changeups."