KCET in Los Angeles, which is cutting ties to PBS on Jan. 1 (Current, Oct. 18), announced early programming details to its members through a mailing this week. The Los Angeles Times reports that the station is “relying on a programming schedule that is largely available on DVD, and in some cases is decades old,” in addition to longtime local faves such as Huell Hower’s show and SoCal Connected. There’ll be several English-language shows from Japanese broadcaster NHK including NHK Newsline, a daily half-hour Asian news roundup; Asia Biz Forecast; Journeys in Japan and Your Japanese Kitchen. Old faves such as Prime Suspect starring Helen Mirren represents a link to KCET’s history as it moves forward, Mary Mazur, KCET’s e.v.p. and chief content officer told the paper. Viewers also may remember The Nature of Things, a long-running science program from Canada, and Keeping Up Appearances, a BBC sitcom originally produced from 1990-95. The schedule is a work in progress, KCET officials noted.
This is what PBS and the naysayers forget: there is a HUGE programming library worldwide, in English, that’s available to broadcasters with a “public” bent. Yes, it’s not all fresh off the camera, but the traditional viewers (older demographics) don’t care. “Keeping Up Appearances” isn’t my cup of tea, but tons of traditional PBS viewers still love that show.
Back when I was learning a bit about pubTV programming, I was shocked to discover whole networks of free or cheap programming that had a public feel and mission that my station never looked into seriously.
I don’t know whether KCET will thrive on this sort of “second tier” of programming, but it’ll be fascinating to watch.