Reinventing PBS: Public Television in the Post-Network, Post-Welfare Era

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


In 2000, in the wake of plummeting ratings, a drop in viewer donations, waning corporate underwriting, and public funding cuts, the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) announced a plan to “reinvent” itself. Under the new leadership of former cable executive Pat Mitchell, the interconnective hub of the United States’ 354 public television stations spearheaded a two-pronged approach to reinvigorating the system’s fading vitality and shrinking economic base. The first strategy was to make public television more entrepreneurial and competitive in a changing cultural marketplace. This has involved streamlining business operations, updating PBS programming, rebranding its image, forging commercial partnerships, and expanding revenue-generating activities across broadcast and new media platforms.1 The second strategy was to update public television’s non-commercial public service mission for the digital era and identify new justifications for public and philanthropic funding. PBS entrusted the private Digital Future Initiative-a self-described Carnegie Commission for the emerging stage of public television-with this agenda, which has yet to be fully realized.2.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationBeyond Prime Time
Subtitle of host publicationTelevision Programming in the Post-Network Era
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages23
ISBN (Electronic)9781135842611
ISBN (Print)9780415996686
StatePublished - Jan 1 2010

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2009 Taylor & Francis.


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