Kevin Harris to exit WETA’s executive staff

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Veteran TV programmer Kevin Harris is departing WETA in Washington, D.C., where he has guided the station’s program strategies as VP and station manager for 15 years.

Harris

Beginning Monday, Harris will transition to a program consultant role for WETA, said Mary Stewart, VP of external affairs. Station leaders have not yet determined who will take over major responsibilities in his portfolio, she said. These include local production, creative services, broadcast traffic and digital television distribution.

Harris’s long career in public TV programming includes stints at WPBA in Atlanta, KQED in San Francisco, WGBH in Boston and on the boards of public television organizations. When he joined WETA in 2004, he had been running his own program consultancy.

Harris has “overseen a period of intense change and growth for WETA Television and for our industry,” said President Sharon Rockefeller and COO Jason Daisey in a joint statement provided to Current. They described his many accomplishments, noting that Harris developed and launched WETA UK, a multicast channel featuring British programming. He also revamped the station’s local productions, developing strands of short-form interstitial programs, such as WETA Around Town, and the 30-minute weekly review of regional restaurants Check Please! DC.

“WETA Television remains the most popular and visible manifestation of the WETA mission, and we look forward to Kevin’s continued help in ensuring that success,” Rockefeller and Daisey said. “We are grateful to Kevin for his stewardship of the station and for his many contributions to WETA and across public media.”

Harris has already formed his consultancy; the new role will be focused primarily on programming, Stewart said.

WETA’s programming staff includes three directors who have worked under Harris, Stewart said.

In another change that takes effect Monday, publicist Kate Kelly will join WETA’s national production unit, working with VP John Wilson to guide forthcoming productions for Ken Burns’ Florentine Films and Henry Louis Gates of Inkwell Films.

Wilson, a former PBS chief program executive, signed on with WETA in March to help manage its national production portfolio. Kelly has worked as senior director of national publicity for seven years and has been closely involved with Gates’ productions, Stewart said.

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