NEW YORK, N.Y. - Former CNN reporter Miles O'Brien is joining PBS' "NewsHour." The nightly newscast is adding a new science unit, and is choosing to run it the reporter who left CNN when that network disbanded its science and technology department.

"NewsHour" management said interest in the Gulf oil spill this summer showed the public has an appetite for science stories. A "NewsHour" widget online that gave various real-time estimates of how much oil had leaked into the Gulf of Mexico drew more than 17 million viewers.

A serious newscast, "NewsHour" combats a musty image. One way it's doing so is to move more aggressively online.

Anchor Jim Lehrer says the program has been attracting a new audience, people who want a different kind of news presentation.