Jan 8, 2011

It's TCA Winter Press Tour time once again ...

PBS President Paula Kerger today (Jan. 8) told the Television Critics Association crowd that she doesn't anticipate stations to start pulling out of PBS now that KCET has done so. "I don't see any other stations poised to go down the same path as KCET," she said at the annual Winter Press Tour in Pasadena, Calif. "These are difficult times for all our stations. We're particularly focused to really looking at opportunities to help our stations (financially)."

More press tour pubcasting news:

— PBS reunited former Laugh-In cast members Lily Tomlin, Jo Anne Worley, Ruth Buzzi (on stage, right, PBS photo) and announcer Gary Owens, along with producer George Schlatter, for its announcement that it'll carry the legendary comedy show for spring pledge. It's picking up a 1993 NBC special created for the 25th anniversary of the wildly popular (and far-out, man) comedy series.

— Although Tavis Smiley's show is still being produced at KCET studios, it may not be for much longer. "We have been in conversations with AEG Live about possibly moving, a year from now, our studios downtown into some brand new facilities that they have," Smiley said. AEG Live is a subsidiary of Anschutz Etertainment Group, which owns, manages or books dozens of major arenas worldwide.

The Hollywood Reporter got in a dig at PBS in its blog post on Kerger's appearance: "Though PBS hasn't changed its tone — 'they recognize what we do is different,' [Kerger] said of viewers — at least this time it didn't come off as righteous, as it has in the past (which always galls, since it's wrong ... there's much to tout at PBS, but saying nobody else delivers the same quality is absurd in the expanded cable environment)." Ouch.

— Actor Jeff Bridges, subject of the American Masters presentation "Jeff Bridges: The Dude Abides," talked about the odd international fallout following his role as the Dude in "The Big Lebowski": Lebowski Fests. "They have them all over the world now," Bridges said. "They're two-day affairs ... a lot of bowling, a lot of drinking of white Russians, a lot of bowling pins walking around. And hundreds of dudes all dressed up like the Dude." ("The Dude Abides" airs Jan. 12.)

— The network announced that it has expanded its iPad app to the iPhone and iPad Touch. And new to iTunes, an Antiques Roadshow app that allows users to appraise and collect "virtual antiques." That one costs $2.99.

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