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CPB hires producer Michael Pack to head TV programming

Originally published in Current, Feb. 24, 2003
By Karen Everhart

Michael Pack, a Washington-based producer of documentaries, will join CPB as senior v.p. of television programming, CPB announced last week.

CPB moved Terry Bryant out of the top TV programming slot, assigning her to work with planner Andy Russell on the ongoing probe of public TV's future, President Bob Coonrod said. He promoted Cheryl Head to senior director, outreach and diversity programming, reporting to Pack. Yoko Arthur, v.p. of program operations, also will report to Pack.

The corporation eliminated its four-person Program Strategies Group, formerly headed by Bryant. Programmers Sandie Pedlow and Louis Barbash are among the layoffs.

The staff changes support new objectives adopted by the CPB Board last fall, Coonrod said. [Text of objectives.]

Pack's most recent PBS broadcast, Rediscovering George Washington, aired last summer. His doc God and the Inner City is scheduled for June.

He was among the filmmakers who benefited from CPB's efforts in the early 1990s to add more conservative voices to public broadcasting. His first experience with PBS's editorial process was grueling, he said at the time, but the resulting PBS-distributed film on political correctness, "Campus Culture Wars," was generally well received. He went on to bigger assignments for PBS, including docs on former House Speaker Newt Gingrich's rise and fall.

"I am absolutely delighted that CPB is putting a filmmaker into that position," said Leo Eaton, who shared executive producer credit with Pack on the George Washington bio. "It's a very positive thing for public broadcasting as a whole that CPB now has an executive who is genuinely concerned and cares about the quality of public TV programming."

"I know that he's taking this job because he feels he can bring a filmmakers' perspective — not a liberal perspective, not a conservative perspective — to CPB," added Eaton. "As a colleague, I applaud that."

Pack's new job is not his first at CPB. In 1993, then-President Richard Carlson hired him as a consultant to explore potential co-production relationships with Eastern European broadcasters. Pack formerly directed Worldnet, a service of the U.S. Information Agency, then parent of the Voice of America, where Carlson and Coonrod were top officials.

Web page posted April 9, 2003
Current: the newspaper about public TV and radio
in the United States
Current Publishing Committee, Takoma Park, Md.


Sen. Larry Pressler made an issue of PBS editorial process in Pack's "Campus Culture Wars," 1995.


Michael Pack's bio on CPB website. and PBS's site for Rediscovering George Washington.