GM belt-tightening hits public television


As General Motors faces a cash crunch, the automaker has been cutting back on all sorts of marketing and promotion expenses. The Detroit News reports that one casualty is PBS filmmaker Ken Burns, whose 10-year underwriting deal with GM will not be renewed. The six-part series, “The National Parks: America’s Best Idea,” will air this fall on PBS as the last of the 10 films made under the sponsorship agreement.

A Burns spokesman told the newspaper that the filmmaker had known for some time that the sponsorship would not be renewed and thanked GM for its 10 years as a partner. GM had paid for 35% of each film’s budget and also funded educational outreach programs tied to each documentary.

GM spokeswoman Kelly Cusinato hailed Burns as the “gold standard for documentary filmmaking and told the Detroit News the company was proud to have been associated with him. “But the company’s financial crisis has forced GM to rein in such spending,” she added.

GM did not advertise in the Super Bowl this year, nor the Emmy Awards or Academy Awards. It also ended an endorsement deal with golfer Tiger Woods.