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February 17, 2014 | By Michael Hiltzik
A few days ago the Public Broadcasting Service announced it was returning a $3.5-million grant it had received from a Texas billionaire to fund a series of documentaries about the "pension peril" -- the costs to cities and states of their public employee retirement obligations. PBS took the action after a report in the tech news website  PandoDaily exposed the conflict of interest underlying the original donation.  That was the good news. The bad news was that PBS had accepted the funding from a self-interested billionaire in the first place.
April 26, 2014 | By Yvonne Villarreal
His is a name that has appeared in this publication's pages hundreds of times - as an author and as a subject. It's a name that calls up notions of the Latino struggle for civil rights and the radical Chicano movement in Los Angeles. It's also a name that initially made filmmaker Phillip Rodriguez groan when someone suggested the life behind the name as a subject for his next documentary. The legacy of former Los Angeles Times reporter and columnist Ruben Salazar has reached folklore heights since the journalist's suspicious death in 1970 at age 42. And therein lies Rodriguez's point of contention.
October 20, 2012
Re "Republicans for 'Sesame Street,'" Oct. 16 Jo Ellen Chatham's Op-Ed article is a compelling argument for maintaining federal funding for PBS. I would also like to hear her views on Mitt Romney's desire to eliminate federal funding for Planned Parenthood and to switch Medicaid to a block-grant program. Surely Chatham's compassionate stance on early childhood education for the disadvantaged is reflected in her feelings about healthcare for low-income women and others. Assuming she expresses similar compassion for these people, I would like to know why she is voting for Romney and encouraging others to do the same.
April 25, 2014 | Mary MacVean
America's Test Kitchen, the outfit that produces books, magazines, television programs and more, all about cooking, has trained its persnickety palate on gluten-free food. "We were really surprised how hard this was," says Jack Bishop, America's Test Kitchen editorial director. "We thought we would just figure out which flour to plug into existing recipes. " Not even close, as it turned out. Eight people spent almost a year in the kitchen near Boston working on the recent "The How Can It Be Gluten Free Cookbook.
September 12, 2013 | By Robert Lloyd, Times Television Critic
"Brains on Trial," Thursday and Sept. 19 on PBS, offers a two-part look at "how brains work when they become entangled with the law. " That is not the John Agar 1950s sci-fi flick it might first sound like, but a look at how recent research into neuroscience and brain mapping changes our understanding of basic questions of human reliability, memory and bias among witnesses, juries and judges. These epistemological problems, pondered by philosophers since time immemorial, are no less difficult today; if anything, they are complicated by new knowledge.
February 13, 2014 | By Randy Lewis
Pledge-break messages tend to be something that public television and radio audiences tolerate rather than welcome, but Steve Martin is riding to the rescue with a witty clip he shot for PBS stations to air during fundraising campaigns starting next month. “Hi, Steve Martin again,” he says at the top of the clip. “You know I'm not just asking you to make a pledge to PBS. I'm also asking my celebrity friends. Right now I'm going to text Tom Hanks, my big celebrity friend.” The response Martin reads when his cellphone dings isn't quite what stations look for, but the bit refreshingly avoids the stiff testimonials that typify these campaigns.
February 19, 2000
Re "Executive at CNN Taking Helm at PBS" (by Elizabeth Jensen, Feb. 7): I've watched KCET programming move progressively to the left, and with the naming of Pat Mitchell as president of PBS, that liberal bias appears likely to accelerate. The recent interview of President Clinton on the "NewsHour" exemplifies the liberal bias on PBS programs: a softball interview designed to provide a forum for Clinton to do what he does best--spin and lie. Obvious, tough follow-up questions were never asked.
July 24, 2005
Thanks to Robert Lloyd for a fun but well-written commentary about PBS ["PBS and Its Grand Ambitions," July 17]. I agree with his comments, especially regarding the "NewsHour." The only palpable left-leaning bias that existed on PBS was with Bill Moyers. Occasionally a leftward imbalance shows up on "Washington Week," but it isn't nearly as overbearing as it was until Mr. Moyers departed. However the issue I have with PBS isn't editorial as much as funding. I still don't understand why my tax dollars, which are taken by force of law, are needed to support entertainment television of any kind, especially when there is such a plethora of choices on the dial.
July 31, 2005
Reading Robert Lloyd's story about how public television ["PBS and Its Grand Ambitions," July 16] was created in 1967 as "a rebuke to free-market television" because the latter was depriving families of "a concert hall, a museum, a university, a forum," I was reminded of some of the schlock shows we peons of a certain age had to suffer through in front of our 19-inch screens when only three or four crassly commercial networks ruled. To name a few: Leonard Bernstein's "Young People's Concerts," Alistair Cooke's "Omnibus," "Playhouse 90," Rod Serling's "The Twilight Zone," David Susskind's "Open End."
May 20, 2013 | By Jane Engle
Fans of National Public Radio and the Public Broadcasting Service can meet the people behind the broadcasts on the seven-night “Newsmakers and Tastemakers” tour of Washington and New York City . Notables (subject to change) are expected to include Gwen Ifill, moderator and managing editor of “Washington Week” on PBS and senior correspondent for “PBS NewsHour”; Scott Simon, host of NPR's “Weekend Edition Saturday”; filmmaker Ric Burns, whose series “New York: A Documentary Film” premiered nationally on PBS; and Charlie Cook, publisher of “The Cook Political Report.” In D.C., participants will meet Ifill and other staff at PBS studios and tour NPR's new national headquarters.
April 21, 2014 | By Robert Lloyd, Los Angeles Times Television Critic
Coming to PBS on Monday via "Independent Lens," Greg Camalier's documentary film "Muscle Shoals" tells the story of the artists behind the artists whose names went on the label -- musicians such as David Hood, Roger Hawkins, Jimmy Johnson, Barry Beckett and Spooner Oldham, little known to most, but already legend to readers of album credits. Set among the studios and players that turned an "undescript little town" (as local girl and Grateful Dead backup singer Donna Jean Godchaux calls it)
April 15, 2014 | Robert Lloyd, Los Angeles Times Television Critic
Ken Burns' new documentary, "The Address," which premieres Tuesday on PBS, is not at all what we have come to think of as a Ken Burns film. There are no celebrity voices reading documents of the dead; no narrator reading the words of Geoffrey C. Ward; no team of experts to elucidate the American past or an American pastime; no Buck O'Neil to bring back a world lost, but remembered. No "Ken Burns Effect," for that matter, the signature, all-but-patented, slow, close caress of old photographs that has taken his name.
April 14, 2014 | By Scott Collins
KCETLink, the struggling parent company of former PBS outlet KCET-TV, has added two more boldface names to its board of directors. Jeffrey Levine is the vice president and head of television for Random House Studio, a film production arm of the well-known book publisher. Dan German is the founder and general partner of Fort Mason Asset Management, a money management firm in San Francisco. BEST TV OF 2013 Lloyd | McNamara The additions bring the total of directors at KCET to 21. That includes Al Jerome, KCET's longtime chief who recently announced his upcoming retirement.
April 9, 2014 | By Mary McNamara, Los Angeles Times Television Critic
Ever since Charles Darwin made his way to the Galapagos, we've heard a lot about that fateful moment when some previously water-bound creature pulled itself up from the slowly receding seas, took a breath and began the eons-long march to humanity. What we didn't know was what that creature looked like and how, specifically, it relates to us. Based on the bestselling book of the same name, "Your Inner Fish" is a six-hour, three-part documentary determined to do just that. Paleontologist and evolutionary biologist Neil Shubin, who wrote the book and hosts the series, is infectiously enthusiastic as he takes viewers on a tour of the human anatomy, its unexpected roots (subsequent episodes cover our inner reptile and our inner monkey)
April 5, 2014 | By Susan King
Just two weeks after the Beatles' landmark appearance on "The Ed Sullivan Show" in February 1964, the British group the Dave Clark Five - the Beatles' biggest rivals in the U.S. - had its own remarkable debut on the hugely popular Sunday night CBS show. It was the start of something big. The DC5 performed "Glad All Over," which had knocked the Beatles' "I Want to Hold Your Hand" off the top of the U.K. charts earlier in the year. The members of the group from Tottenham in North London were handsome and well dressed, and their music was a pulsating mix of percussion, vocals, sax and sex appeal.
March 30, 2014 | By Ed Stockly
Customized TV Listings are available here: Click here to download TV listings for the week of March 30 - April 5, 2014 in PDF format This week's TV Movies SERIES How I Met Your Mother The comedy wraps up its nine-season run tonight and if all goes well, Barney and Robin (Neil Patrick Harris, Cobie Smulders) will tie the knot, and Ted (Josh Radnor) will meet his children's mother (Cristin Milioti) and the kids will finally learn how their parents met. Alyson Hannigan and Jason Segel also star in the hourlong finale.
October 9, 2012 | By Meredith Blake
Mitt Romney has vowed to cut government funding for Big Bird and his PBS friends, but the results of a new poll indicate the Republican candidate is out of step with most Americans on this issue. A survey of 800 likely voters, commissioned by the Washington Times and conducted by the polling firm Zogby from Friday through Sunday, found that  55% of voters oppose cuts in spending to public television and consider it a “worthwhile” use of federal funds. In contrast, only 35% of voters believe “the government cannot afford to subsidize public television.” Although defunding PBS has been a conservative legislative priority since at least the mid-'90s , the poll's results suggest that public television enjoys more bipartisan support than, well, just about anything does these days.
August 14, 2012 | By Chris Barton
Opera fans who haven't yet had the opportunity to weigh in on the Metropolitan Opera's new -- and divisive -- production of Wagner's "Ring" cycle, take note: PBS will air the four operas on consecutive evenings beginning  Sept. 11. A multimillion-dollar effort directed by Robert Lepage, the Met's "Ring" cycle become something of a punching bag for some of New York City's critics, with much of the harsh words reserved for the production's ambitious staging, which included a 45-ton set of revolving planks.
March 26, 2014 | By Scott Collins
PBS has become a Sunday night ratings force with "Downton Abbey" and "Sherlock. " The most recent seasons of the British dramas were their highest-rated yet, according to final numbers released Wednesday by PBS outlet WGBH-TV. Season 4 of "Downton" -- detailing the life of a fictional aristocratic family and its servants a century ago -- averaged 13.2 million total viewers, according to Nielsen -- up 15% compared with the previous season. VIDEO: Interviews with the women of 'Downton Abbey' Meanwhile, the third season of "Sherlock" -- a modern retelling of the Sherlock Holmes stories by Arthur Conan Doyle -- averaged 6.6 million, for a whopping 50% gain compared with Season 2. "Downton" has been renewed for Season 5 via its U.K. maker, ITV, and will presumably re-appear in the U.S. early in 2015.
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