May 23, 2011

Huffington Post survey taking temp of viewers on PBS breaks question

Current's coverage of PBS's announcement that it will begin an experiment this fall to insert local and national promo breaks into two shows has prompted a pro/con survey at Huffington Post. As of 2:10 p.m. Monday (May 23), "I hate it" has 72 percent of the votes, with "Whatever" claiming 28 percent.

"Sherlock" wins top drama, supporting actor BAFTAs; none for "Downton Abbey"

While the Masterpiece hit Downton Abbey failed to win BAFTA (British Academy of Film and Television Arts) TV Awards for any of its three category nominations, its Sherlock grabbed two top trophies at ceremonies Sunday night in London, according to TV Squad. The detective show won best drama series and best supporting actor for Martin Freeman, who plays Watson.

Freeman's co-star Benedict Cumberbatch lost out in the best actor category to Daniel Rigby (Flyboys) for his role as legendary British comedian Eric Morecambe in Eric & Ernie. Rigby also beat out Doctor Who star Matt Smith.

Downton Abbey was nominated for three major awards — drama series, supporting actor and audience favorite — but failed to win any. Full list of winners here.

WTTW mulled leaving PBS; at least six other stations are "on the fence," NYT reports

PBS narrowly averted losing the membership of Chicago affiliate WTTW, the New York Times is reporting today (May 23). Earlier this year the board of WTTW-TV told management to consider withdrawing from the system, as KCET had done in January. “Our board, they are smart business people," says Dan Schmidt, WTTW president, "and when they look at our business model they scratch their heads and they say this is upside down from a business standpoint.” He says his station pays $4.5 million a year in PBS dues, and yet “viewers can see that content on other stations and increasingly, whenever they want to on" WTTW had a $4.2 million operating deficit last year, Schmidt says.

The paper says there are "murmurs of half a dozen more stations, at least — no one will name them on the record — that are on the fence and could leave," depending on state and federal financing situations.