Demise of Now baffles and annoys PBS ombudsman

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The cancellation of Now on PBS is bothering PBS Ombudsman Michael Getler as well as some of his readers. Late last month, news leaked out from PBS that Now and Bill Moyers’ Journal would end next year. PBS confirmed in a statement that the shows would “conclude their weekly series at the end of April 2010,” and details would follow in January. But as Getler writes, “I must say that as a steady viewer of these programs, not just as the ombudsman, I find the one and only PBS public statement thus far about the ending of these programs to be puzzling; unresponsive to dedicated viewers and to the high-profile role for public affairs junkies that these broadcasts have played for years on public television.” John Siceloff, e.p. of Now, told Getler that the show was not ended due to financial difficulties. “So, that leaves an interesting question,” notes Getler. “If the cancellation of Now was not due to financial difficulties, as Siceloff maintains, what was the reason?” One writer asks another pertinent question: “I watched Now last night and afterwards David Brancaccio was soliciting pledges for Now. I was inspired to pledge $100. Now I find out Now has been canceled. Why is PBS using Now to solicit pledges for a show they’ve canceled?”