Boland departing PBS to return to California: Update

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John Boland, PBS’s first chief content officer (Current, June 26, 2006), will leave the network after three years to return to California at the end of the year. PBS head Paula Kerger made the announcement to the system yesterday. She said in a letter to g.m.’s that Boland told her of his plans to return to California several months ago. PBS has retained executive search firm Spencer Stuart “to work closely with [COO] Michael Jones and me to identify an individual who can help us build” on Boland’s work; no word as to whether the title and responsibilities will remain the same. Boland came to headquarters from the CCO spot at KQED TV/FM in San Francisco. The top job there soon will be open as Jeff Clark, president for eight years, last month announced he’ll retire June 30, 2010. In a lengthy Q&A in Current (May 14, 2007), Boland addressed a wide range of issues including Wired Science (Current, March 3, 2008), a hip, newsy show that was the first PBS series created in response to CPB’s four-year studies on primetime audience preferences; it was canceled after just 10 episodes. In the Q&A, looking back at his tenure as CCO at KQED and forward into his plans for the position at PBS, he told Current: “It is complicated and confusing at first, having all these departments reporting to one person, but over time it becomes a much richer experience for people working in multidisciplinary terms.”