As KCET-TV Prepares to Sever PBS Ties, It’s Ending Tense Relationship with Tavis Smiley

Nov 23, 2010  •  Post A Comment

With Los Angeles public station KCET-TV preparing to leave the PBS network, it’s ending its sometimes tense relationship with Tavis Smiley and his show, the only nightly PBS program produced at the station, reports the Los Angeles Times’ Scott Collins.

Smiley tells the Times that he didn’t learn about KCET’s decision to leave PBS until hours after the news had been announced. "To be here on the lot, produced here, and to be out of the loop is just unconscionable. It’s unthinkable, it’s untenable, it’s unacceptable," Smiley said. KCET President Al Jerome disputed his characterization, saying the station kept Smiley and all of its production partners in the loop.

But Smiley, whose show will move to KOCE-TV in January, also charges that KCET hadn’t helped his program financially over the years. The show, which costs about $8 million to produce, is helped with $1 million from PBS officials, with Smiley raising the rest by tapping corporate sponsors, the article notes.

"For seven years, KCET has not raised a single dime for this program. I was never supposed to be producer, host, chief marketer and fundraiser," Smiley said. Jerome confirmed that KCET didn’t raise money for "Tavis Smiley." Despite the tension, Smiley may stay on the lot of KCET for another year, because he said he didn’t have time to find a new studio before January, the story notes.

One Comment

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