PBSLatest News and Opinion
Posted Tuesday 2/20/18 at 9:05PM EST
Tavis Smiley sues PBS over his sexual misconduct firing, says it acted in "a racially hostile manner"
In his lawsuit, Smiley says PBS' sexual misconduct investigation that resulted in his termination was "poorly executed and incomplete." “Based on this incomplete, trumped-up investigation, and in violation of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, PBS decided to use a technical provision in its contract with (Travis Smiley Media) to stop distributing Tavis Smiley – the only nightly television show featuring a person of color as the host," the lawsuit states. The lawsuit also accuses PBS of acting in "a racially hostile manner" throughout the show's run. “For example, PBS harassed Mr. Smiley about inviting controversial African American figures on to his show," according to the lawsuit. "However, when Mr. Smiley brought equally controversial (if not more so) white figures, PBS remained silent." Smiley tells The Washington Post that filing a lawsuit was the last thing he wanted to do. “But litigation seems to be the only way to get at the truth," he said. A PBS spokesperson calls the lawsuit "meritless," saying that Smiley is attempting “to distract the public from his pattern of sexual misconduct in the workplace.”
Posted Monday 2/19/18 at 11:12PM EST
Mister Rogers shared his real self with us when Mister Rogers' Neighborhood debuted 50 years ago
It was on Feb. 19, 1968 that Mister Rogers went national. "Fifty years ago Monday, when Fred Rogers showed up on national public television as the host of what then was a brand new children's show called Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, TV was a lot different," says TV critic David Bianculli, who sits on the Fred Rogers Center's advisory board. "PBS wasn't even a network then — not by that name, anyway — and aside from CBS, NBC and ABC, there were only a few independent local channels to watch, if that. But 50 years ago, young kids were pretty much the same. I interviewed Fred Rogers a few times over the years, and one time I asked him about the secret of his success — why his slow, deliberate manner of relating to children, and why seeming to look at them and talk to them directly through the TV lens, connected so strongly with young viewers. This is what he told me: 'Every one of us longs to be in touch with honesty. ... I think we're really attracted to people who will share some of their real self with us.'" ALSO: Fred Rogers' widow, Joanne Rogers, says he would've approved of being honored with a U.S. Postage stamp.
Posted Friday 2/16/18 at 2:13PM EST
Mister Rogers' Neighborhood gets a Funko Pop figure in celebration of its 50th anniversary
Monday will mark the 50th anniversary of Mister Rogers' iconic PBS kids' show. The Funko Pop figure will be available this summer. ALSO: Gossip Girl is also getting Funko Pop figures.
Posted Monday 2/12/18 at 2:12PM EST
PBS CEO responds to President Trump's plan to eliminate public media funding
PBS president and CEO Paula Kerger responded to President Trump's release of his 2019 budget plan, which calls for the elimination of federal funding for public media, pointing to a survey that showed that Americans named PBS and member stations #1 in public trust among nationally known institutions. “For 15 years running," she said in a statement, "research has shown that PBS and our member stations have earned the trust of the American public and are succeeding in providing children with programming and services to help them succeed in school and life. In a time when trust in the media has come into question, we are proud that PBS and our member stations remain unmatched in trust and value to our nation.”
Posted Friday 2/02/18 at 6:18PM EST
PBS voices concern over YouTube's plans to label its videos
As part of a new effort to crack down on propaganda, YouTube says it plans to label videos from broadcasters who receive funding from government entities, including Russia's RT, the BBC and PBS. The state-sponsored label will appear below the video and above its title, with a link to the broadcaster’s Wikipedia page. But PBS says the proposed labeling will send the wrong message about its programming. "Labeling PBS a 'publicly funded broadcaster' is both vague and misleading," said a PBS spokesman in a statement. "PBS and its member stations receive a small percentage of funding from the federal government; the majority of funding comes from private donations. More importantly, PBS is an independent, private, not-for-profit corporation, not a state broadcaster. YouTube’s proposed labeling could wrongly imply that the government has influence over PBS content, which is prohibited by statute. If YouTube's intent is to create clarity and better understanding, this is a step in the wrong direction. We are in ongoing discussions with YouTube on this issue, but we have yet to reach a satisfactory solution."
Posted Tuesday 1/30/18 at 4:45PM EST
Tom Hanks will become the second member of his family to portray Mister Rogers
Colin Hanks points out on Twitter that he played the PBS kids’ TV icon on Drunk History: “Oh, did someone else get cast in a rival Mr Rogers project? I would hate to be them right now."
Posted Monday 1/29/18 at 2:45PM EST
Tom Hanks to play Mister Rogers in biopic film You Are My Friend
Diary of a Teenage Girl director Marielle Heller will helm the film on the iconic PBS personality, with a focus on Fred Rogers’ real-life friendship with his cynical journalist profiler Tom Junod. “The script knocked me out with its message of kindness and its exploration of the human spirit,” says Heller. “As a mother, I am so inspired by the teachings of Fred Rogers and as a human I am in awe of his life’s work.” Heller adds that she feels the film “truly feels to me like an antidote to our very fractured culture.” Mister Rogers' Neighborhood premiered on American TV 50 years ago next month. The anniversary celebration includes a documentary, Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival.
Posted Sunday 1/28/18 at 3:52AM EST
Tavis Smiley to moderate an L.A. town hall on sexual harassment in the workplace -- despite his own sexual harassment scandal
Posted Tuesday 1/23/18 at 9:15PM EST
Barney the purple dinosaur's original actor now runs a Tantric sex business
David Joyner who played the Barney & Friends purple dinosaur role from 1991 to 2001, launched his Tantric sex massage business in 2004. The business currently boasts 30 clients — or “goddesses,” as he calls them.
Posted Thursday 1/18/18 at 9:48PM EST
Sesame Street’s HBO evolution includes cutting down on pop-culture parodies
“Because fewer adults actually pay attention to Sesame Street these days, the series has turned down the dial on pop-culture parodies, such as one spoofing Mad Men, from 2009, with an advertising executive thanking his staff for making him happy," says Troy Patterson.
Posted Wednesday 1/17/18 at 12:03AM EST
Ruth Wilson will play her grandmother Masterpiece’s Mrs. Wilson
The Affair star will take on the title role in the three-part PBS drama about her grandmother, Alison Wilson, who learned that her husband was a spy with multiple wives.
Posted Tuesday 1/16/18 at 6:10PM EST
PBS boss addresses the Charlie Rose and Tavis Smiley sexual harassment scandals
PBS President and CEO Paula Kerger explained at the TV press tour that “we” first “learned of the issue with Charlie Rose the morning they actually wrote the story in The Washington Post." The Smiley situation was different, however, because a complaint was lodged directly with PBS, resulting in a third-party investigation that found more accusations. Kerger further said that despite PBS distributing independently produced programs, “that does not absolve us from the responsibility of trying to ensure that we are supporting a culture where people are respected.”
Posted Tuesday 1/16/18 at 6:10PM EST
PBS’ Native America will explore how ancient indigenous cultures are connected across North and South America
The four-part series, narrated by The Band’s Robbie Robertson, hopes to offer a “new perspective” on North and South America by using history and science to look at how massive ancient cities were connected via social networks across the two continents.
Posted Tuesday 1/16/18 at 1:35PM EST
PBS will delve into sexual harassment with a #MeToo series
Hosted by Zainab Salbi, founder of the humanitarian organization Women for Women International, each episode of #MeToo, Now What? will focus on a different aspect of sexual harassment. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the five-part, 30-minute series will explore “the impact of popular culture on women in the workplace, how race and class factor into the discussion, the social costs of pay inequity and gender discrimination, how men can be engaged in this discussion and how we begin to chart a path forward.” Salbi says of her series, “in order for this conversation to create true cultural change, we must talk with the man on the street, in our lives, our colleagues and friends,” adding: “Equally, we need to have the conversation with the women in our lives to examine why, when we’ve seen sexual misconduct, we’ve often looked the other way when it didn’t impact us directly.” The seres is set to debut Feb. 2nd.
Posted Saturday 1/13/18 at 12:37AM EST
Why Victoria is preferable to The Crown
Netflix’s Queen Elizabeth II series has received more buzz and critical acclaim than the Masterpiece drama based on Queen Victoria, her great-great-grandmother. Of the two, Mike Hale finds Victoria to be more “immediately gratifying.” He adds: “So call me shallow, or just contrary, for preferring the breezy, full-blooded pleasures of Victoria to the more finely wrought, stiffer virtues of The Crown. Who would have thought that the person for whom the Victorian Era was named would be this much fun?”