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PBS Slammed for 'Fake' Fireworks Footage

It used stock footage during 'live' broadcast

(Newser) - Noticed something a bit off about PBS' A Capitol Fourth broadcast Monday? So did hundreds of people who took to Facebook and Twitter, per NBC News . Though host Tom Bergeron initially laughed off concerns that the live concert and fireworks display over Washington would be rained out, per the Washington ... More »

Sesame Street Moves Down the Block to HBO

But PBS, which has aired the show since 1969, isn't left out in the cold

(Newser) - In addition to their ABCs and 123s, kids watching Sesame Street will now also become familiar with H-B-O. The cable network has announced a new partnership with Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit behind the TV show, that means the next five seasons will air exclusively on HBO and via its streaming... More »

PBS: Ben Affleck an 'Improper Influence'

Finding Your Roots has been put on hold

(Newser) - After the Ben Affleck embarrassment, is Finding Your Roots now the kind of show that won't hush things up on the say-so of a Hollywood star ? Sounds like PBS isn't sure: It says an internal review has "determined that the series co-producers violated PBS standards by... More »

Affleck: I Was 'Embarrassed' by Slave-Owning Ancestor

Says he's sorry, his story will add to discussion of slavery's legacy

(Newser) - Ben Affleck has had a change of heart since successfully asking PBS to omit mention of a slave-owning ancestor from an episode of Finding Your Roots. Affleck says he was "embarrassed" by the uncovered relative, NBC News reports. "I didn't want any television show about my family... More »

Email: Affleck Told PBS to Hide Slave-Owning Relative

And the pressure appeared to work on 'Finding Your Roots'

(Newser) - An email exchange in the newly published database of hacked Sony documents looks to be embarrassing for Ben Affleck and PBS. Affleck demanded that the show Finding Your Roots withhold the nugget that he had a slave-owning ancestor, reports the Boston Globe . The pressure appeared to be successful, because when... More »

PBS Is Chasing Ratings, Neglecting Its 'Core' Mission

Norman Lear thinks important documentaries are in danger

(Newser) - PBS is enjoying great success with shows such as Downtown Abbey and the new Wolf Hall. But one TV icon thinks the service is so focused on ratings for "costume dramas" that it's forgetting about documentaries, "the core of its public mission and mandate." The criticism... More »

Downton Abbey Calling It Quits

But it looks like a movie will follow

(Newser) - The sixth season of Downton Abbey, now in production, will be the last, the producers announced today . "Our feeling is it's good to quit while we're ahead," says one of them, Gareth Neame. But fans can take heart, because reporters wasted no time in asking him... More »

PBS Science Reporter Has Arm Amputated

But life is 'playing the hand that is dealt you,' Miles O'Brien says

(Newser) - Award-winning science journalist Miles O'Brien is learning to live with one arm after a minor injury nearly cost him his life. In a blog post , the PBS correspondent says he lost his left arm not to a shark attack, skydiving accident, or "out of control quad copter,"... More »

NFL Pushed ESPN to Drop Concussion Documentary

Goodell and company reportedly told network they weren't happy: sources

(Newser) - ESPN yesterday backed out of a documentary on NFL concussions that it's been working on with PBS' Frontline for more than a year, in a surprise, last-minute move. Today, the New York Times hints at an explanation: The NFL pressured the network into it. Commissioner Roger Goodell and other... More »

PBS Names First Female Co-Anchor Team on TV

Gwen Ifill and Judy Woodruff make history

(Newser) - That bastion of no-nonsense reporting and sensible blazers, the PBS NewsHour, will make history next month when it debuts its new anchor team: two women. Gwen Ifill and Judy Woodruff will be the first all-female anchor team on a nightly network newscast (that's team—Katie Couric was TV's... More »

'6 Degrees' Kevin Bacon Learns Wife Is ... His Cousin

Actress Kyra Sedgwick was initially horrified

(Newser) - Kevin Bacon's wife says she knew it all along. Actress Kyra Sedgwick and her Hollywood-star husband were filmed for the PBS show Finding Your Roots, which traces family backgrounds, and learned that they're actually cousins—albeit ninth cousins, the Independent reports. Sedgwick looked mortified at first: "See,... More »

Coming Soon: Downton's 1st Black Character

Race relations a theme in 4th season

(Newser) - Downton Abbey is delving right into 1920s race relations, according to the Sun , and for the first time, the show is casting a black character. In notes to casting agents, producers say Jack Ross will be "a musician at an exclusive club in the '20s." Aged 25... More »

PBS Readies Week of Shows on Newtown

Frontline , Nova to reflect on shooting

(Newser) - Starting Feb. 18, PBS will devote a week of shows to the Newtown shooting, it has announced. The "After Newtown" series will include the programs Frontline, Nova, PBS NewsHour, and Washington Week With Gwen Ifill. "PBS is not where you go for breaking news," says the station'... More »

Modest Million Puppet March Makes Case for Big Bird

Protesters urge feds to 'Keep Mitts Off Big Bird'

(Newser) - It wasn't nearly a million by the Count's best standards, but hundreds gamely rallied in support of Big Bird and public funding for PBS in Washington, DC, yesterday with chants of "El-mo, we won't go!" reports CNN . Many a Kermit, Cookie Monster, and other puppets... More »

'Million Muppet March' Will Support PBS Funding

Demonstration planned for Nov. 3 in DC

(Newser) - PBS supporters are planning a "Million Muppet March" at Washington DC's National Mall on Nov. 3 to defend government funding for the network, Reuters reports. Organizers aren't sure yet how many will actually attend, but "it does seem like we might get close to the biggest... More »

Jon Stewart on Big Bird: 'Let It Go!'

Host fed up with Obama's Sesame Street obsession

(Newser) - Jon Stewart has had exactly enough of this Big Bird stuff from the Obama campaign. From stump speeches to a campaign ad , the big yellow guy is everywhere these days, Stewart noted on last night's Daily Show . The tipping point for the host: Will.i.am's appearance on... More »

Sesame Street to Obama: Take Down Big Bird Ad

Daily Show offers right-wing dream of Sesame Street

(Newser) - Mitt Romney knows who America's real economic scourge is, and he's big and yellow. A cheeky new Obama campaign ad pokes fun at Mitt Romney's attack on Big Bird and PBS at the debate by labeling the children's icon an "evil genius who towered over"... More »

Big Winner in Debate: Twitter

Debate was most-tweeted US political event ever

(Newser) - Last night's debate was the most-tweeted US political event in history, Computerworld reports, with viewers offering some brilliant—and not so brilliant—analysis of the contest as it unfolded. Twitter and other social media gave viewers the chance to skip the pundits' take and jump right into the... More »

PBS Icons Live On Thanks to ... Autotune

Weird music videos go viral

(Newser) - PBS is out to prove it's still hip, by making dead people sing. The beloved network has rolled out three YouTube videos that it's hoping will go viral and re-kindle America's love-affair with public broadcasting. Each features clips of a beloved PBS icon (Julia Child, Bob Ross,... More »

PBS Fires Fred Willard After Lewd Bust

XXX conduct 'didn't happen,' he tells TMZ

(Newser) - PBS has given Fred Willard the boot from Market Warriors after the actor was busted for allegedly playing with himself in a Hollywood porn cinema . "Given the unfortunate news," Willard is off the show with immediate effect, and will be replaced as narrator by Antiques Roadshow host Mark... More »

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