PBS’s Kerger says one night per week will be all arts programming

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PBS President Paula Kerger announced details of PBS’s long-planned arts initiative at a Town Hall Los Angeles meeting yesterday, according to the website for Miller McCune, an academic news firm. The effort includes a shift in the primetime schedule to allow for one evening per week devoted entirely to the arts, beginning probably next fall or winter; an online arts portal on PBS.org coming in April; and new materials for the PBS Teachers website to help them better incorporate arts into their classrooms. “To be candid, over the last years, we haven’t done as good a job [with cultural programming] as we could,” Kerger told the audience. “I think we can do more. We’re looking to increase the investment we’re making in the arts. The budget (for such programs) has been flat or slightly down. I want to ramp it up.” The story noted: “PBS’s cultural programming — which is expensive to produce and doesn’t necessarily draw the largest viewership — has gradually become marginalized.” And, Kerger said, the shows are usually “strewn about” on station schedules. PBS has already has a $100,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts for the website. John Boland, PBS chief content officer, told Current last May that PBS will seek funding of $15 million over three years.