PBS president slams commercial kids programming


Paula Kerger, President of PBS, used the occasion of the Winter TV Press Tour 2010 to take commercial broadcasters to task for failing to live up to their mandates to provide educational and informational programming for children.

According to the Washington Post, Kerger said commercial stations typically fail to meet minimal requirements, and she was particularly critical of the blurring of commercial and programming lines on commercial broadcast websites.

She was asked if the vast amount of retail children’s products based on PBS programming wasn’t also a form of commercialization of children’s programming, but defended it, saying much of the product available was also educational, and at a minimum, it was separate from the programming itself.

She said noncoms start with the program, and the toys follow, while with commercial broadcasters it works from the product to the program.

RBR-TVBR observation: The children’s programming requirements placed on television stations are extremely hard to argue about, because – well, because they’re all about children. Saying bad things about children is a surefire way to get in PR hot water.

But speaking as a parent, if anything, there is way too much stuff on TV for kids – far more than we had when we were children. In fact, there is no comparison.

Back in the day, we were forced to figure out ways to amuse ourselves, go outside to play or pursue sports activities, read a book, put on a show, or otherwise use our imaginations – just the stuff all the concerned regulators and watchdogs call for every day, that are hard to get kids to do because you have to drag them away from the 24/7 children’s program offerings that are ubiquitously on TV nowadays.

PBS is to be congratulated and thanked for the excellent quality of children’s programming it provides. And there is a lot of great stuff on various MVPDs. More than enough. Too much. We don’t want any more. Don’t force it any more, please Washington, we beg of you.