PBS hires Jennifer Lawson as chief programmer

The Public Broadcasting Service reached across the Potomac River and some bad blood to pick Jennifer Lawson, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting’s television program fund director, to become executive vice president for national programming and promotion at PBS. The senior programming position at the Alexandria, Va.–based PBS has been open since October 1988, when senior vice president Suzanne Weil left PBS to become executive director of the Sundance Institute for Film and Television. A quintet of senior PBS executives, including President Bruce Christensen, has since acted as a programming committee. The new chief will develop a comprehensive program plan and take an active role “to get the PBS schedule into shape, so it can deliver the kind of program power that all of us believe will be the result of the changes we’re talking about occurring over the next few months,” Christensen said. Lawson said there is “a growing consensus to have strong programming leadership, some details of which will be decided at the summit meetings” between CPB, the National Association of Public Television Stations and PBS.