Even less decent programming on PBS?
Posted 10 September 2002 - 11:04 AM
This is from an opera list to which I subscribe. It is from the list owner of Opera_L, a person who does not make mistakes on subjects such as this.
I would think one could substitute "ballet" for "opera" and still be accurate.
The post is as follows:
I'm not sure about the future telecasts, but the word I heard was that money
was not as much of an issue as everyone thinks it is.
According to my source, the bigger issue is that PBS is less interested in
giving opera telecasts airtime. (Of course, money must figure as part of the
equation, but the source assured me it's not the sole issue.)
Posted 10 September 2002 - 11:27 AM
If I may give a personal anecdote from my travails of finding a publisher for my book, one editor of an excellent medium-sized press that did publish arts-related books, rejected the proposal with this a note saying kind things, and that the book should be published, "but it needs an editor who likes ballet, and that is not I." (My absolute favorite rejection letter said that the book was so good, the editor didn't want to deny an editor who was a ballet enthusiast the pleasure of working on it, and so regretfully passed on the proposal.) I don't think this is a unique experience.
I think a lot of the statements that one reads about how ballet or opera -- or modern dance -- have no relevant to "the people" are made by a few people -- I hate to call them "elites," but that's the position they hold -- to whom the high arts are not relevant.
If I were doing educational outreach programs, I'd add, to those (much needed) programs for underprivileged youth, some bootcamps for the privileged, the ones who will be donors and arts managers when they grow up!
Posted 10 September 2002 - 11:28 AM
Posted 10 September 2002 - 12:37 PM
Ballet (and even Opera) have a hard sell in getting people to watch something on a 20" screen (60 inch maximum) that is being done on a stage twice that size. Sets play an important "character" too.
I don't necessarily think it's the people that "elite" but perhaps the art form of ballet that is.
Posted 10 September 2002 - 12:44 PM
Posted 10 September 2002 - 12:49 PM
I always thought they were "commercial" more like a "board"
And should PBS be the "standard" for getting out the arts to the public? They make no mention of the arts specifically.
Let's say we could have a 24/hour ballet channel, would people watch it (after an extended period of time)
Posted 10 September 2002 - 02:00 PM
Originally posted by Calliope
Let's say we could have a 24/hour ballet channel, would people watch it (after an extended period of time) [/B]
Actually I would like to have a total of four channels:
1) Ballet, 24/7
2) Opera, 24/7
3) Boxing, 24/7
4) News--for wars, revolutions, terrorist events, etc.
If so, I would probably watch a LOT more TV than I do now, which is just about none.
Posted 10 September 2002 - 02:17 PM
Originally posted by Alexandra But their "arts" programs are more and more aging rockers. It ain't art, and it ain't today's pop music. It's just popular programming aimed at the Baby Boomers. Growl.
I will stop posting (I hope) on this thread after this, because I am not really rational about either PBS or our local outlet here in Motown. They are both execrable.
I don't watch it for news--that's why God gave us the New York Times nor for entertainment. I will confess to not liking the music that Alexandra references when it was new, and still don't, so recycling it is makes no sense.
What really tore it for me was a was a show on a weekend evening (this was before four hour blocks of Antiques Roadshow ruled its airwaves) that had country music concerts---"Live from Austin" or something like that.
Country Music, programmed every week? Apparently there weren't enough commercial outlets for this dreck.
Posted 11 September 2002 - 04:36 AM
This is a great thought Ed, dance 24/7, thanks for this vision of the future. I hope it happens soon.
Posted 11 September 2002 - 12:28 PM
I think they are right to some extent, that public broadcasting has
become too oriented on the bottom line of ratings and sponsorships,
and therefore has lost some of its stature as the alternative that
presents what commercial media will not or cannot. Without the kind
of adequate and steady public support enjoyed by other public
broadcasters -- BBC, e.g. -- the margin for error on risk-taking is
But those people who want a 24/7 ballet channel aren't seeking the
public interest, either. [Treefrog's note: Ed, I know you weren't advocating that PBS take on this role.] What people seem to want from TV is not the
famed 500-channel universe, but the 1-channel universe -- the "me"
channel: what I want, when I want it. Digital TV may get close to
that, offering a more Web-like model where you pull in what interests
you, and through the ability to "multiplex" channels -- PBS Arts, PBS
Kids, PBS Science, etc. Channels like Discovery already simulate that
with multiple cable channels -- Animal Planet, Discovery Health,
Learning Channel, etc.
PBS, now, is in the difficult position of having to be a generalist
channel in a niche-programming world. Why tune to PBS and hope for
arts when you can tune to Bravo or A&E; why tune to PBS for science,
when you can tune to Discovery; why tune to PBS for kids' programming,
when you can tune to Nick?
The answer is depth, quality and consistency, when PBS is doing it
right. "Dance in America," one strand of "Great Performances," has a
20+ year tradition of excellence; Ovation, the arts channel is still
struggling to get going after a decade of trying...it's in about 25
million homes, or a quarter of US households. Guess where the top
arts producers will go with their best ideas?
PBS only succeeds when everyone is happy some of the time, and unhappy
some of the time. Don't the country music fans have an equal claim on
air time? (By the way, the country program referred to, "Austin City
Limits," is no Shania-come-lately. It's been on PBS for well over 20
years...about as long as "Great Performances.")
I think the person was on track who asked how many people would watch
24/7 dance, after an initial fascination period. You'd have to
stretch the quality pretty thin to get that much programming.
Posted 11 September 2002 - 01:38 PM
I would also add that I appreciate the lack of commercials more than ever. For example, Monty Python's Flying Circus episodes appear regularly on my cable channel, BBC America – but with lengthy breaks that chop up the continuity of the shows, which were originally broadcast on the BBC sans interruption and were shown that way over here when I first began watching them on PBS. They, and some other British shows originally seen on PBS, do show up on cable channels, but chopped up ruthlessly to make room for commercial time. I also noticed this when I was watching the Trocks on Bravo. Now, if only they would show the Trocks on PBS once in awhile….
However, not all of PBS' problems can be laid at this door. I am disturbed that the thinking of market-minded apparatchiks does seem to be taking over. I don't regard either "Antiques Roadshow" or "Austin City Limits" as examples of such thinking. But there's a difference between "something for everyone" and "our surveys show that people aren't interested in that."
I also think that "niche" programming, in television and elsewhere -- the "My News," "My This," "My That" syndrome -- is a potentially disastrous development. But, time will tell.
Posted 11 September 2002 - 02:31 PM
By the way, there is a French cable channel, Mezzo, which is devoted to classical music, jazz opera and dance. In fact there's far more music than ballet, but that's not too bad. I have no TV (and my parents don't get it), but if I had one I would perhaps consider subscribing.
Posted 11 September 2002 - 02:48 PM
Posted 11 September 2002 - 04:19 PM
Posted 11 September 2002 - 06:58 PM
There are opera singers, orchestra concerts, old film clips, in fact, just about anything that could qualify as something artistic (a documentary from the 1920's on the different architectural styles of apartment houses in Los Angeles now probably all gone, alas). These are only shown in 5-10 minute intervals with a nice short biography at the beginning and end of the segment. Unfortunately, the station alternates with DW TV and sometimes unexpectedly something like the Australian Ballet's Snowflakes will be cut off to start the "news of the hour" for Germany (in English).
There was a good point brought up about PBS having lost its way. After all, it was their mission for many years to produce Opera, Dance in America, etc., and hope to draw people in, not grasping for ratings so they can get bigger advertising bucks. In the meantime the other channels were created to grab as many of the higher rated shows as possible, such as Discovery, History, A&E. I'm hoping PBS will return to their "bread & butter" products.
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