San Diego Comic-Con will include Sherlock panel

PBS will have a presence at the San Diego Comic-Con for the first time in 44 years, with a Sherlock panel in the upcoming conference, Entetainment Weekly reports. The panel will feature co-creators Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss (also executive producers and writers for the show), and producer Sue Vertue -- but alas, star Benedict Cumberbatch will not be there. EW writer James Hibberd will moderate at the event, on July 18. Masterpiece, the British drama showcase that brought Sherlock to PBS, hosted a screening and Q&A with Moffat, Verte and Cumberbatch in New York last year, which brought out screaming throngs of fans. In 2011, it introduced U.S. audiences to the BBC show at the New York Comic-Con.

CPB recognizes Moore, an author and youth advocate, as a pubcasting “Thought Leader”

Wes Moore, the host of Beyond Belief on OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network and author of the bestseller The Other Wes Moore, won CPB’s Thought Leader Award, which honors those who assist public media in the areas of education, journalism and the arts. A U.S. Army combat veteran who serves on the board of the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America and as founder of STAND!, an organization that supports youth caught up in the criminal justice system, Moore also hosts the forthcoming PBS primetime series Coming Back, which chronicles the returns of nine veterans from conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. “Wes Moore is an inspiring advocate for America’s youth and a champion for public media’s American Graduate initiative,” said Patricia Harrison, CPB president. The award was presented during the PBS Annual Meeting in Miami Beach, Fla.  
Send awards notices to currentawards@gmail.com.

PubTV stations move to pitch sustainer gifts during pledge

Public TV stations looking to reduce their reliance on transactional fundraising will get more assistance from PBS this summer, when for the first time pitch breaks for its pledge specials will include messages inviting viewers to join as sustaining members — providing donations that arrive every month with no end date, although in smaller amounts than a Doo Wop show might inspire. While a steady flow of contributions from a donor’s credit card sounds like a great idea in principle, it’s challenging for many local stations to adjust to this new method of charitable giving. Instead of receiving cash infusions at pledge time and dealing with fulfillment of high-dollar premiums, they have to change the language they use in asking viewers to support their service throughout the year and develop new systems for tracking credit-card expiration dates. But the biggest hurdle, according to fundraising specialists, is adjusting for the change in their cash flow when membership contributions come through monthly donations of $10 to $15, rather than much higher gifts tied to premium offers. Veteran fundraisers say the effort pays off over the long haul: “Sustainers,” as this increasingly commonplace breed of member is called, renew at higher rates than those responding to traditional pledge pitches, and their monthly gifts help to even out the roller-coaster financial cycles of on-air fundraising.