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Moyers: PBS’s moving documentaries ‘a bad decision’

Friday, March 23, 2012

imageBill Moyers and colleague Michael Winship have waded into the fray over PBS’s moving its two stellar indie documentary series—Independent Lens and POV—from Tuesdays to Thursdays. Each has lost viewers, and some PBS stations have stopped carrying the programs altogether. Moyers and Winship call it “a bad decision” in today’s open letter to PBS. An excerpt:
This may not seem like such a big deal at first, until you know that on Thursday nights stations can broadcast any program they like in prime time, whether it’s part of the PBS schedule or not. Many take the opportunity to offers viewers locally produced programs, British sitcoms or reruns of Antiques Roadshow. As a result, episodes of the independent documentary series can now be run anywhere local stations choose to fit them in (here in New York, WNET airs the films at 11 pm on Sundays) or maybe not at all.
Noted: KQED airs neither of the shows on Thursday nights. (It devoted 2 1/2 hours to Brain Fitness last night.) POV can usually be found late-nights on Sundays and repeated in the early morning airtime hinterland. As for Independent Lens, I didn’t find it on the KQED programming schedule. If I’ve overlooked it, let me know.
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