ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Mandolinist Chris Thile (THEE'-lee) says he is returning for a second season as host of "A Prairie Home Companion."

Thile made his announcement during Saturday night's show at the Fitzgerald Theater in downtown St. Paul. The new season starts Oct. 7 and will run for at 26 shows — double the 13 shows initially scheduled during Thile's first season as host.

Saturday was supposed to be the season finale of "Prairie Home," but two new shows have been added for May 13 and 20 at the Fitzgerald.

Creator and longtime "Prairie Home" host Garrison Keillor picked Thile to succeed him as host of the popular public radio variety show.

"Prairie Home" is carried by 580 public radio stations in the U.S. with an estimated weekly audience of 2.5 million.

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Online:

http://www.prairiehome.org