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Compromise Reached : Series On Constitution Back On Moyers Agenda

March 05, 1987|CLARKE TAYLOR

NEW YORK — Two weeks after scuttling plans for a daily series of reports about the creation of the U.S. Constitution, Bill Moyers and station WNET said Wednesday that they were going ahead with the public-television project after all.

"When the series' demise was announced, so many of my public-television colleagues called and wrote to urge its resurrection that the dry bones began to stir," Moyers said in a prepared statement.

"I asked myself how the original framers (of the Constitution) would handle the dilemma, and I answered, 'They would compromise,' so that is what we have done."

The compromise has to do with the way the three-minute reports, conceived as a means of observing the Constitution's bicentennial, will be scheduled.

When Moyers and the Public Broadcasting Service initially announced the series in January, they said it would be offered at a fixed time in the daily schedule to which all PBS stations would have to adhere. Many of the system's 300 stations protested that they wouldn't have their scheduling patterns dictated to them by the national program service, so the series was withdrawn two weeks ago.

Under the plan unveiled Wednesday, the stations will be free to schedule Moyers' reports at their discretion.

They will run from May 18 through Sept. 18 and will feature Moyers, the former CBS correspondent and commentator who returned to public television late last year, reporting what was going on that day 200 years ago at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia.

The series is to be produced in Philadelphia and will utilize diaries and records from the 1787 convention. It is being funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, public television stations and the investment firm of Paine Webber.

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