PBS has renewed its commitment to Tavis Smiley for another two years, keeping the talk show on public TV through 2015. “The highlight for me is surviving” as a late-night talk show, Smiley told the Associated Press. The program, which tapes in Los Angeles, will face less competition in booking guests once NBC’s The Tonight Show moves to New York in February, he noted.
A grass-roots organization that protested Ken Burns’s exclusion of World War II Latino soldiers’ experiences from his 2007 documentary The War is speaking out in the wake of PBS NewsHour Chief National Correspondent Ray Suarez’s resignation from the program. Defend the Honor, headed by Maggie Rivas-Rodriguez, a journalism professor at the University of Texas at Austin, sent an Oct. 31 email to its 5,000-member database saying it is “distressed that PBS has treated veteran journalist Ray Suarez so disrespectfully.” Suarez left the show Oct. 25 after nearly 15 years and subsequently told Fox News Latino in an Oct. 28 interview that he felt his contributions to the program had been minimized during his tenure.
American Masters and Downton Abbey led the opening round of the annual Primetime Emmys Sept. 15 by claiming three Creative Arts Emmys for PBS. American Masters, a production of New York’s WNET, topped the category for outstanding documentary or nonfiction series. Credit for the Emmy went to Susan Lacy, executive producer; Julie Sacks, supervising producer; Prudence Glass, series producer; and Jessica Levin, producer. The Emmy for direction in nonfiction programming was awarded to Robert Trachtenberg for his direction of the American Masters biography “Mel Brooks: Make a Noise.”
Representatives of several liberal groups delivered signed petitions to New York City’s WNET Aug. 13, urging the station to ask PBS to air the documentary Citizen Koch, a critical look at the increasing political influence of the conservative billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch.
Public TV stations are backing PBS’s first foray into weekend news by committing airtime to PBS NewsHour Weekend, which debuts next month, although several program directors question PBS’s decision to invest in the broadcast when its flagship weekday program is struggling financially.
As managers grapple with how to cultivate young, diverse talent as public media leaders, questions of whether to compensate interns — and even what constitutes a legal internship — become more complicated.