Concern over “Independent Lens” shift to Thursdays grows

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Current’s March 12 story on the ratings and carriage drop for Independent Lens, and larger issues associated with programming diverse content, is getting wider attention. The New York Times followed up in an article posted Sunday (March 18). It noted that as of that afternoon, 65 indie producers, including Bill Moyers, Stanley Nelson (screenwriter, director of Freedom Riders) and Alex Gibney (producer, director and a writer of Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room), had signed Kartemquin Films’ online letter to PBS protesting the scheduling change. (By Monday, that had grown to more than 100.)

Also, the International Documentary Association is encouraging producers to sign Kartemquin’s letter.

And Patricia Aufderheide, director of the Center for Social Media at American University, posted an online commentary, “Antiques or Independents? Why it Matters Where PBS Puts Independent Lens and POV” on Saturday (March 17). Aufderheide writes that PBS’s move of the programs “shows an imbalanced understanding of its priorities. The most dangerous part of PBS’s decision is its demonstration that PBS’s leaders don’t recognize the need to invest in core-to-mission programming. That puts not only the endangered programs but the service itself at risk.” (Disclosure: American University is also home to Current.)