Press tour gets preview of PBS plans

PBS announcements from the Television Critics Association press tour in Pasadena:– Curious George is getting his own app. The Curious George Coloring Book App “is designed to encourage color experimentation across a full spectrum of hues,” according to PBS. There’s a palette with 45 colors, 48 coloring pages and a personal art gallery. Kids can email artwork or post to Facebook pages. It’ll cost $2.99.– At, Wilson & Ditch: Digging America, produced by the Jim Henson Co., will take kids ages 6 to 10 on a cross-country adventure with two gophers as they explore America.

Cleveland stations plan layoffs, exec pay reductions

WVIZ-TV and WCPN-FM in Cleveland will lay off nine staffers and make “double-digit percentage” cuts to executive salaries, according to the Plain Dealer newspaper. The station anticipates a 7 percent reduction in its fiscal 2010 budget. Layoffs will occur Oct. 1. Facing pay cuts are COO Kit Jensen, president and CEO Jerry Wareham and CFO Robert Calsin.

Senate Appropriations Committee approves pubcasting funding bill

The Senate Appropriations Committee on Thursday okayed the fiscal 2010 Labor-HHS appropriations bill, recommending a $450 million two-year advance appropriation for CPB, up from $430 million for FY 2011; $36 million for public television and radio digital conversion, content and services; $10.7 million for Ready To Teach; $28.5 million for Ready To Learn; and $10 million for financial assistance to pubTV and radio stations impacted by ongoing economic problems. The House had already approved $440 million for CPB, $40 million for station financial aid, $36 million to continue the digital transition and $25.4 million for Ready To Learn. A statement from PBS noted that the fed appropriation makes up about 18 percent of system revenue, “essential seed money that makes public service media possible in this nation.”