Inside TV – 2010
posted by Susie Hernandez
I know, this isn't the Cha Cha or the Rumba, but it's cool!
Why do we do it? Why do we put special programming on during the holidays and where is Charlie Rose? Why can’t this special schedule be around more often? I’ve been told folks want to show off our programming to their visiting relatives, “Oh? Your PBS station doesn’t air Ballykissangel every afternoon? Charlie Rose airs at WHAT time in your city?” TV is important, whether we like it or not. In fact, TV viewing can make or break a family weekend.
My strategy for the holidays has been passed down to me from generations of programmers. I'm guilty of starting it early too! We like to give people a PBS alternative to other network holiday programming. You know you won’t catch a football game on PBS. Shrek the Halls will unfortunately have a lot of commercials (but cute just the same!). The kick-off for holiday programming began with the premiere of the long awaited documentary Secrets of the Divine: The Altarpiece of Ciudad Rodrigo on November 18th. BritComs provided us with many holiday specials and we started airing those specials on the 20th! Tune in on Saturdays for some hilarious Christmas specials from the BBC throughout December!
Thanksgiving Day we launch into a marathon of America’s Ballroom Challenge starting off at noon with the grand finale ending at 5 PM.
T-day is also the beginning of holiday music. No groans please! Clay Aiken will by on at 5 PM, Faith Hill’s Joy to the World broadcasts at 8 PM, followed by Michael McDonald at 9, and Sting’s Songs from the Labyrinth at 10 PM.
Surprise! A one-hour Christmas special from Vicar of Dibley will air at 11 PM!
Black Friday we will continue with the holiday programming starting at noon,with an encore of Faith Hill and Michael McDonald. We sprinkled in BBC comedy with one of the Keeping Up Appearances Christmas Special at 2 PM and the Vicar at 2:30 PM!
Missed the special John Lennon programming earlier in the week? We are encoring Masterpiece and American Experience from 3:30 to 7 PM.
Exhausted from Thanksgiving? Relax on Friday night with Andrea Bocelli and David Foster at 8 PM.
There’s so much more happening all weekend. Be on the lookout for the Rockettes and other great performances.
What's to come in the new year? We've got some programming shifts ahead and I'll keep you in the loop!
Susie the TV Programmer
posted by Susie Hernandez
Miss Marple kicked off the Armchair Thrillers series this summer. Sherlock Holmes wraps up the series this week! Then comes the real mystery...what is happening this fall?
The last week of August marks the end of the Armchair Thrillers that aired all summer weekdays following Ballykissangel. We would love to know which thrillers were your favorites so we can bring more of the same next summer.
This coming weekend also marks the end of the summertime Saturday Night lineup. Did you enjoy MI-5? We hope many of you discovered a new show to love. As promised, we are bringing back some beloved BritComs (British Comedies) and introducing you to some new programs.
First, let me go over the daytime lineup starting Monday, September 13th. The mystery of what’s replacing the Armchair Thrillers each day is now revealed!
@ 1 PM --Ballykissangel (aka BallyK).
@ 2 PM --Lark Rise to Candleford!
Program Notes: The series is a costume drama set based on Flora Thompson’s semi-autobiographical novels. Set in the small Oxfordshire hamlet of Lark Rise and the wealthier neighboring market town of Candleford towards the end of the 19th century. (In Season Two, episode 17, the date carved on the new clock tower in Candleford is 1895.) The series chronicles the daily lives of farm workers, craftsmen, and gentry, observing the characters in loving, boisterous, and competing communities of families, rivals, friends, and neighbors. The narrative is seen through the eyes of a teenage girl, Laura Timmins (Olivia Hallinan), as she leaves Lark Rise to start a new life under the wing of her cousin, the independent and effervescent Dorcas Lane (Julia Sawalha), who is Post Mistress at the local Post Office in Candleford. Through these two characters, viewers experience the force of friendship as Laura and Dorcas see each other through the best and worst of times.
@ 3 PM --Are You Being Served?.
Are You...? is no longer on Saturday nights but we were able to acquire it for daytime broadcasts only.
@ 3:30 PM --One Foot in the Grave!
Program Notes: The BBC sitcom series features the exploits of Victor Meldrew (Richard Wilson), and his long-suffering wife, Margaret, (Annette Crosbie), in their battle against the trials of modern life. After being forced to take involuntary early retirement, the series followed Victor's various efforts to keep himself busy, whilst encountering various misfortunes and misunderstandings. The series was set in a typical suburban household in a suburb of London based on Luton (although was largely filmed on location in Dorset). However, despite its traditional production, the series subverts its domestic sitcom setting with elements of black humor and surrealism.
So there’s the daytime lineup!
As part of my job, I watch a lot of programs throughout my day. Despite the hours of viewing every week, would it surprise you to know I watch a lot of TV when I get home? I loved the Saturday night lineup this summer and will definitely consider changing it up for next summer!
Starting September 18th, here's what's going on this fall for Saturday Night:
@ 8 PM --Keeping Up Appearances.
Folks, I’m thinking of putting this one on the shelf. Thoughts? The show is up for contract. What to put at the beloved 8 PM slot? I expect many colleagues to come to my office about this idea. Everyone loves Keeping Up Appearances!
@ 8:30 PM --As Time Goes By.
We have a few more plays before the contract is up.
@ 9 PM --Monarch of the Glen.
Folks liked the earlier timeslot! I’m keeping it there.
@ 9:50 PM --After You’ve Gone! Immediately following Monarch of the Glen we will be premiering this new comedy!
Program Notes: Starring Nicholas Lyndhurst, Celia Imrie, Dani Harmer and Ryan Sampson, After You've Gone was created by Fred Barron, who also created My Family. When his former wife Ann goes to Africa to help out following a natural disaster, Jimmy Venables, a handyman, has to move back into the marital home to look after his two children, Molly and Alex. Jimmy's opinionated widowed former mother-in-law Diana Neal, who has always disliked Jimmy, decides to help him out.
@ 10:30 PM --The saucy Vicar of Dibley!
Tell all your pals! The Vicar is back after a long hiatus!
What’s new with Sunday?
@ 8 PM --Masterpiece Theater.
@ 9:30 PM --Sherlock Holmes.
(Sometimes early or late depending on Masterpiece’s length)
@ 10:20 PM --MI-5!
Immediately following Sherlock Holmes, typically MI-5 will air at 10:20 PM.
@ 11:30 PM --After You’ve Gone.
The repeat allows Sunday night viewers a chance to catch it and those who missed the Saturday broadcast a chance too!
At midnight there will be an encore of MI-5!
Have you ever wondered why we air things at 10:20 or 9:50?
Most US produced shows are very close to one hour for PBS. The BBC generally has shows a little shorter which means we have to fill in the time. A 9:50 start time for a show means we scheduled a program to air immediately following another program with no breaks. As you know, we don’t have commercials but we do have short promo breaks informing you of shows airing next week or a PBS spot we typically have to air. We sometimes omit these breaks in order to capture the viewer watching the show that just ended.
In the case of Sherlock Holmes, many of those viewers may not know of MI-5. If we air five or eight minutes of promotions, thank you’s, etc in between Sherlock and MI-5 to round out the start time, those Sherlock viewers may turn away and miss one of the best drama spy shows currently on TV (in my opinion).
It’s easier to remember that a show starts at the top of the hour or at the half hour mark, and it looks nicer on a TV schedule. It’s a rarity that we will start a show at an odd time. Now you know why we would do such a thing!
As always, I welcome your questions and comments. I may just write a blog about it!
Susie the TV Programmer
posted by Susie Hernandez
Charlie Rose, acclaimed interviewer and broadcast journalist engages America's best thinkers, writers, politicians, athletes, entertainers, business leaders, scientists and other newsmakers in one-on-one interviews and roundtable discussions.
Bill Buckmaster didn't know at the time he got confirmation from the three Republican candidates running for US Senate that we would get this kind of exposure for a debate. We were one of two debates these candidates agreed to. Buckmaster continues to get interviews and will host debates up till Election Day. This interest in public affairs and the election is great for me as we dive into a new public affairs strategy on PBS HD CH. 6 and World (Ch. 27.3).
Starting in August, public affairs on PBS HD CH. 6 will begin weeknights at 4 PM. As reported in a previous Inside TV blog, we are moving away from children’s shows in the afternoons and early evenings. Charlie Rose will be welcomed into the public affairs block as he moves from 1 PM to 5 PM.
Here’s our new public affairs lineup on PBS HD CH. 6:
4:00 PM PBS Newshour (east coast version)
5:00 PM Charlie Rose
6:00 PM Nightly Business Report
6:30 PM Arizona Illustrated
7:00 PM PBS Newshour (west coast version)
On Fridays, we will continue to air Washington Week with Gwen Ifill at 8 PM. She just started tweeting, by the way! Follow her @pbsgwen. PBS Need to Know will continue to air at 8:30 PM.
On the World Channel, nightly public affairs will continue to be prominently featured in the schedule and I’m reviewing more shows to consider to air on weeknights.
Currently, the public affairs block on World has:
8 PM PBS Newshour (west coast version)
9 PM Arizona Illustrated
Starting in September the lineup will be:
8 PM PBS Newshour
9 PM Arizona Illustrated
9:30 PM BBC News
10 PM Charlie Rose
11 PM Journal
11:30 PM Nightly Business Report
I think these new public affairs scheduling on Ch. 6 and World will pair nicely. With so many hours and shows to choose from, you decide on when and what you want to watch. In-depth news and information will be available to you on KUAZ, online on azpm.org, PBS HD CH. 6 and World.
I’m thrilled to have Charlie on at 5 PM and the only thing that would make our block complete is having Bill Moyers back. But please, don’t get me started on Bill. I miss him so!
P. S. As debates and interviews get scheduled on Arizona Illustrated, you will be able to find them at the AZPM Election 2010 Dashboard. Personally, as a newbie to Arizona, I'm excited that the online guys here created this feature. I review it quite a bit.
P.P.S. Are you or someone you know a diehard 1 PM Charlie Rose viewer? Don't fret! He is on at 1 PM on the World Channel!
posted by Susie Hernandez
Genius idea--dinosaurs and trains? Wish I had thought of Dinosaur Train!
A viewer recently asked, "One mystery: You have a KIDS channel, 27.2. Why do I have to run into kids programming on 6.1?"
Great question! Why indeed! Well, for one, a lot of folks don't know we have a 24/7 kids channel! The great news is that the word is getting out.
We are one of the few PBS stations in the country that are getting enough viewers on our digital channels that we get ratings reported to us from Nielsen. I can’t share with you the data due to Nielsen contractual agreements but will give you an overview. I think you may find this interesting because I know some of you wonder why don’t we have more kids programs on PBS-HD and why do we have a 24/7 children’s station.
While reviewing the numbers, I looked at the ratings for one of our newest channels, PBS Kids (Ch 27.2) to see where the kiddies were tuning in. In February 2010 we got our first book of ratings. In that first book, the PBS Kids channel got a lot of viewers in the daytime and nowhere else! In May, our second book came in and PBS Kids had a lot of viewership again in the morning and daytime but jumped up from 8 PM to 11PM.
You read this right. In terms of ratings, there are a lot of kids watching our Kids Channel at 10 PM! I’m glad they have this channel to turn to versus the other fare available at 10 PM!
So why even have any children’s programming on PBS-HD? In short, PBS HQ requires it. We air just over the minimum requirement and are happy that we are able to provide a 24/7 channel devoted to the best of what public media has to offer on PBS Kids. We also have also loads of episodes and games online.
Last summer I tried two different themes: Armchair Vacation and Armchair Thrillers. Armchair Vacation featured Nature, Globetrekker and other lighter shows that featured an exotic or fun destination. The series aired immediately after Charlie Rose from 2 to 3 PM weekdays. Armchair Thrillers featured mysteries from the BBC. Thrillers picked up where Vacation left off from 2 to 3 PM weekdays.
This summer I kept the popular AZPM “soap opera” Ballykissangel from 2 to 3 PM but had to bring back Armchair Thrillers due to popular response. This meant I had to replace some of the children’s programs that normally aired after BallyK with Armchair Thrillers. (Yes, there were some calls from parents!)
Every weekday this summer from 3 to 4 PM sometimes to 4:30 or 5, depending on the length of the mystery, we are airing Armchair Thrillers. We’ve done it for a few weeks now. If you are watching it, thank you! If you have a child that misses their favorite show, please let me introduce you to a terrific 24/7 PBS Kids channel and our Kids website where loads of videos and games are available anytime. (smile)
So what am I looking forward to this fall in terms of children’s programming? Sesame Street has a great season ahead. The Cat in the Hat show featuring the voice talent of Martin Short looks wonderful and a new season of Dinosaur Train is going full steam ahead. What isn’t returning? I’m sad to report that Maya and Miguel are not on the national schedule anymore. We will bring it back as an exclusive Kids Channel program in 2011.
As I reviewed the latest from PBS HQ on the new children’s programming lineup that will begin this fall, I was combing over our ratings for the kids block on PBS-HD (Ch 6) to see if the shows leaving the schedule were ones dipping in viewership. They were and I’m glad PBS made some adjustments (minor adjustments, I promise!).
posted by Susie Hernandez
Say so long to Waiting for God
It's time to say so long to some old friends. While some viewers leave for the summer, there are plenty who stick around. We decided to take a look at our schedule and refresh it for those of us staying in town.
So long, Waiting for God. We aired you! Some viewers love this series. Some asked me to get it off the schedule. Well, it's off for now but not due to a few calls. The contract is up with the BBC. June 26th is the last night for at least a year and we moved some of our other BBC shows to new slots. Do you love Waiting for God? Let me know. I may just buy it again in a year or two.
So what's going to be on? Let's focus on primetime (7 to 10 PM) this blog entry, shall we?
Sundays are reliably the same. Nature @ 7 PM followed by Masterpiece @ 8 and then Sherlock Holmes immediately following.
Mondays we have History Detectives launching their new season at 9 PM. Some interesting cases come their way but that's not the reason I'm writing about it in this blog! The series isn't all new. Some of the episodes are like a "best of" that you may find interesting. After months of production, from my standpoint, seeing a few repeats isn't so great. I want to bring you all new episodes but do see the value of bringing on pertinent segments of the show when its warranted. We will also have a few Mondays with back-to-back History Detectives shows. They offered it this way and since we love History Detectives in Southern Arizona, I am keeping the schedule as is!
Tuesdays you will see some changes at 10 PM once Frontline takes the summer off. They will have an important show on the 5th anniversary of Katrina but that's not till August 25th. In it's place, I'm repeating Secrets of the Dead on Tuesdays at 10 PM.
Wednesdays will be all about Baseball in July. It's Ken Burn's Baseball and I highly recommend recording it. After Baseball ends it's three week run, Great Performances is returning to Wednesdays. They aren't offering new shows but some of their "best of" for the summer.
About Thursday. You may want to sit down but then you may jump back up. I'll cut to the chase...MI-5 is not airing on Thursdays at 10 PM anymore. It will move to Saturdays at 10 PM. Why? WHY? Well, I've gotten a lot of complaints about that 10 PM timeslot on a work night. And after this last season, I'm having a hard time of it myself. Due to the language, the topic and the content flags, I cannot air it earlier in the evening so I chose a night that perhaps you won't mind staying up late for! Thursday's lineup is now "Nature and Science"-type shows from 8 PM to 11 PM. We will have some new stuff, shows from the vault, and programs about to disappear from my library forever.
Fridays you may have noticed that we are no longer strictly public affairs the whole night. For more on this, read my previous blog. I've received a lot of calls on the Masterpiece programs I've selected to air on Friday nights at 9:30 PM. A lot of suggestions have come across my phone and email box. Keep the suggestions coming! By the way, I'm also interested in Saturday Night movies and many of you LOVE that idea. There is something about staying in on a Saturday night with an old Hollywood movie. We like it and I'm looking into it.
Saturdays will be fun this summer! We are rolling out with a few new-to-AZPM BBC comedies in the fall so we need to phase out some old shows this summer. So here's the lineup for you—Keeping Up Appearances @ 8 PM; As Time Goes By @ 8:30 PM; Monarch of the Glen @ 9 PM; MI-5 @ 9:50 PMish (immediately following Monarch) followed by Austin City Limits @ 11 PM. Not drastic but enough changes that will take some getting used to. If you are an MI-5 fan, tell all your friends to check out this show. I am hoping that it's new night will bring in new fans. There's too few of us out there!
By the way, one of my seasons of Sherlock Holmes is going away. We purchased several seasons and the early ones are expiring. The seller may let me buy the old seasons back. I'm looking over my budget to see if I can afford it once we start our new fiscal year. As a salute to our favorite sleuth, I am giving him a lot of play. More on this in a later blog. For now, chew on these changes, and let me know what you love, like and dislike.
So there's your summer lineup for PBS HD Ch. 6. Create, Kids and World will keep it's core programming and in the fall, those channels will have some great new shows that I'll be happy to keep you in the loop about!
posted by Susie Hernandez
Alison Stewart formerly from MTV and now on Need to Know!
We all have our "must have" PBS shows. For many of our loyal viewers, it's the public affairs programming. A night without Newshour is not a night at all! Antiques Roadshow on Mondays? Some folks never miss it. I have a long list of faves and love to get calls from eager fans whether mad, sad, happy or thankful, about their TV favorites. They often tell me what can't be missed, what they want more of, and what can be left behind! A few months ago a viewer asked me why can’t he continue to watch Motorweek and the German TV equivalent, Drive IT! (On PBS HD--Sundays @ 10 AM and 10:30 AM) during AZPM's pledge drives?
He knew we were in a pledge drive and knew that the pledge drives interrupted his beloved "car" hour on PBS HD Channel 6. He said he was willing to go to one of our other channels if I continued to air those programs even during pledge drives. Other calls came in about public affairs and we thought we'd test it out. Would fans really move to a different channel to catch their favorite show?
Quite often folks call about missing a show and when we explain why and that we tried to promote the time, etc as much as possible, some viewers still miss the news. We wondered, would the fans notice our TV spots about the "slide" during our pledge drives? Hope is all we had along with a bunch of spots!
Many of the viewers were thrilled about the "slide" but switching channels takes practice! After a few tries we now have Motorweek and Drive IT! viewers who understand that their show is on PBS HD Channel 6 except when there's a pledge drive. They don't miss their show all together, they just go to AZPM's Create Channel! When pledge is over, their shows return to PBS HD Channel 6. Our viewers are up to date on the latest motor trends and have been introduced to one of our newest and fasted growing channels!
So now I'm working on the same strategy for you public affair lovers! During Pledge on Friday Nights, we will slide Washington Week with Gwen Ifill (On PBS HD--Fridays @ 8 PM) and the new series Need to Know (On PBS HD--Fridays @ 8:30 PM) to the AZPM World Channel. If you haven't been watching the World Channel and you love documentaries, public affairs and news you must check out this channel. Many of the staff here love this channel. It's their favorite of the bunch. Check out the schedule!
We have fewer "bumps"! We slide! In the next year, I'll be looking for more of these kinds of opportunities on World, Create and even the Kid's Channel as we evolve our services for the community!