May 11, 2010

That PBS cap must be aerodynamic

This just in: Photographic evidence of PBS President Paula Kerger with her jaunty PBS hat powering toward the finish line of the Kinetic Sprint triathlon in Spotsylvania, Va., last weekend. Her strongest event was the 18-mile bike ride, in which she finished 41st of 252 women with a time of 1:11:18. Kerger also swam 750 meters and ran 5k. All in one day. In 2:14:38, actually. And what did you do last Sunday?

Get out the duct tape, Red Green may be heading your way

Steve Smith, who plays the title character in The Red Green Show, never expected it to last more than one season. And here it is, Season 15 and still popular on pubcasting stations nationwide, the longest running Canadian program in American TV history. "We did the show just to make ourselves laugh," he tells the Woodinville Weekly in Washington State. The show’s success "has been a total shock and surprise to us. Even when we stopped doing it five years ago we thought it would just die, but it kept on being renewed." Although production ended after 300 episodes, his character lives on in a one-man traveling show he calls "The Wit and Wisdom Tour." He recently sold out in Cedarburg, Wisc., and Boise. "It’s a labor of love, not work. I’m glad to be there."

Washington Post's Shales skewers debut of Need to Know

Tom Shales, the Washington Post's vaunted TV columnist, is one of the few (if only) mainstream media writers so far to critique WNET's new pubaffairs show Need to Know. And to say that he does not care for the show is a huge understatement. Excerpts:

-- "PBS promises that this dreadful Need to Know show, which supplements vacuous televised drivel with fancily designed Web-page graphics, 'empowers audiences to "tune in" anytime and anywhere.' Meaning that you are free to supplement inadequate broadcast material with unsatisfying Internet material whenever you inexplicably get the urge. Oh boy, what a boon!"

-- The show ". . . arguably has to be seen to be believed, but you're probably better off basking in benign and, in this case, nutritious ignorance."

-- Co-anchor Jon Meacham " . . . looked forlorn, as if having been left out in the rain," and partner Alison Stewart "looked as though she would have been much more comfortable in Clinton's lap," after the former president appeared earlier in a "fawning, fatuous interview."

Perhaps other TV writers are giving the show some time to coalesce, as PBS Ombudsman Michael Getler suggests to viewers.