May 7, 2008

Jay Iselin, former WNET president, dies at 74

John Jay Iselin, ebullient president of New York's WNET from 1973 to 1987, died of pneumonia May 6, the New York Times reported today. He presided as the station matured and developed such major PBS series as Nature, Live from Lincoln Center and the NewsHour. The former Newsweek reporter went on to head Cooper Union, the free-tuition arts-architecture-engineering college in Manhattan. Iselin's predecessor, James Day, died less than two weeks earlier at age 89.

The Daily Show, Chicago-style, from WTTW

WTTW and performers from Chicago's Second City and the comedy troupe Schadenfreude have produced IL-Informed, a comedy show that satirizes local issues--and the pubTV public affairs format. "The pilot is pretty funny, and that's more than I can say for most, if not all, public television," writes Time Out Chicago blogger Madeline Nusser. But "it doesn't quite live up to its potential," according to a Chicago Sun-Times review: "Interviews and investigative segments don't really follow the standard TV news format, and some of the news being spoofed is dated." The show features sketch comedy, newsmaker interviews and music. "Think the Daily Show meets Saturday Night Live--only completely local," says WTTW on the IL-Informed website. View a clip here and WTTW's promo here

In NYC, The Police will play for pubTV

At The Police's farewell show in New York this summer, every breath they take will be for trees and public TV. Proceeds from the concert will go to WNET and WLIW's arts programming and to MillionTreesNYC, the city's project to plant one million trees by 2017 and reduce The Big Apple's carbon footprint. The rockers pledged $1 million to the tree fund--no word yet on how much pubTV will garner. Tickets for the event will be available nationally via the WNET and WLIW websites.

A Place of Our Own adds newswoman to cast

TV anchor Elizabeth Sanchez is the new host of A Place of Our Own, KCET's English program for parents and caretakers of young children and sister program of the Spanish-language Los Ninos en Su Casa. Sanchez, a Los Angeles native, most recently anchored for the ABC affiliate in San Diego, where she received three regional Emmys. She is the mother of a three-year-old and 17-month-old and joins two other hosts on the show.