An earthquake shook today in the local broadcast television world as TV station KCET decided to terminate its relationship with the Public Broadcasting Service, stemming from disagreement over paying an annual $7 million programming fee to broadcast such shows as PBS News Hour, Antiques Roadshow, NOVA and, of course Sesame Street. Elmo no like that!
KCET has been a PBS station since the network formally started 40 years ago. The Militant, like many people his age, grew up on PBS shows on Channel 28. In addition to Sesame Street, it was all about The Electric Company, Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood, 3-2-1 Contact, Reading Rainbow and lesser-known shows such as Villa Alegre, Zoom and The Song Bag with Tony Saletan. Where would today's kids turn to? Oh, wait, never mind. Also, most televisions in So Cal can pick up Orange County's KOCE, which remains a PBS affiliate.
Still, the shock is unavoidable, and one can only guess the impact of KCET's split. Hmm. Mayor Villaraigosa got divorced and disappointed Los Angeles. Frank McCourt got divorced and disappointed Los Angeles. Is KCET next?
KCET plans to remain, as station president Al Jerome (no, not that guy) stated in his official announcement, an "independent public television station" with "a track record of producing great local programming." Huell Howser fans need not fret, as he won't be going anywhere. In fact, The Huell will be the undisputed face of the station. Wow, that's a-mazing!
One thing is certain - KCET plans to remain a nonprofit public station, will not go commercial and will continue to carry PBS programming until December 31, 2010. As for 1/1/11, that's anyone's guess.
Soooo...here's what the Militant guesses KCET will be broadcasting, starting in 2011:
Mr. Howser's Neighborhood: The Huell will be hosting yet another show, aimed at children, teaching them about a-ma-zing places in Southern California. There will be a trolley, which will be furnished by the San Pedro Waterfront Red Car.
Hipster Antique Store Roadshow: Filmed on location in Silver Lake, this show features hipsters from all over what they consider to be "The Eastside," lining up to get expert appraisals of their vinyl copy of Vampire Weekend's debut album, their first-generation iPhone and their medium-sized t-shirt with a picture of a synthesizer on it.
The LAist.com News Hour: The most-talked about local issues of the day are discussed in this nightly news program hosted by LAist.com's Zach Behrens and Lindsay William-Ross.
This Old Craftsman House: Produced entirely in Highland Park, the show's host shows viewers the step-by-step process of DIY'ing your own craftsman house restoration.
Second Street: This children's program takes place entirely in Downtown Los Angeles starring a human cast with puppet characters, designed by Bob Baker Marionette Theater. Puppet characters include the Taco Monster, Ponderous Pigeon and Oscar The NIMBY.
Actually, this whole independent, local KCET thing might not be a bad idea after all. In fact, it might be the best thing evar for the Los Angeles airwaves. PBS is based in Arlington, VA and has an obvious East Coast Bias. An independent KCET would be...Infinitely Angeleno!
Come to think of it...The Militant Angeleno should have his own show! No, really! After all, he possesses an exemplary knowledge of Los Angeles, has some experience being in front of the camera and KCET obviously knows about him. So whaddya say, KCET? GIVE THE MILITANT HIS OWN SHOW IN 2011!
MA blog readers, let KCET know you want to see the Militant on the air!