PBS again taps viewer curiosity about old things

A spin-off of Antiques Roadshow, PBS’s most popular series, will visit memorable guests from past installments and guide viewers through the ins and outs of the antiques market. Antiques Roadshow FYI debuts early in 2005 as a half-hour weekly magazine program. PBS will pair it with another new half-hour series to be announced next month. PBS announced the new Roadshow series July 8 [2004] during the Television Critics Association summer press tour. The network also announced a three-part history series, Guns, Germs and Steel, to be made with Lion Television and National Geographic Television.

The Roadshow discovers challenges of wild success

When Chubb’s Antiques Roadshow rolled into New York City last month, appraiser John Hays hit the jackpot a full day before the doors even opened. This time it wasn’t a rare 18th-century tea table from someone’s dusty attic, but a glowing profile in the New York Times. The headline got it right: “Appraiser Examines a Newfound Treasure: Fame.” Next morning, two members of the Roadshow’s roving tribe, Leigh and Leslie Keno, could be spotted on CBS Saturday Morning explaining to a national audience why a graceful little table with delicate wood inlay was a fake. The Keno twins also have gained their share of fame from the series, garnering everything from appearances on Oprah to a major book deal for Hidden Treasures: Searching for Masterpieces of American Furniture, which has raked up a resounding $100,000 in sales, five times the norm for a book on antiques.

Did WGBH do enough to guard veracity of its antiques hit?

WGBH acknowledged that one of the most compelling segments on Antiques Roadshow — the so-called “watermelon sword” appraisal — was faked without its knowledge. The station severed ties late last month with Russ Pritchard III and George Juno, former partners in an antique weaponry dealership who frequently appeared on the series.