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The Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) is a non-profit public broadcasting television service with 349 member TV stations in the United States. PBS headquarters are in Alexandria, Virginia. PBS was founded in 1969, at which time it took over many of the functions of its predecessor, National Educational Television (NET). PBS commenced broadcasting in October 1970. For some of its historical logos, see PBS logos.

PBS is not a broadcast network in the sense in which that term is usually used in the United States. Unlike the commercial television broadcast model of American networks such as NBC, CBS and ABC, in which affiliates give up portions of their local advertising airtime in exchange for network programming, PBS member stations pay substantial fees for the shows acquired and distributed by the national organization.

This relationship means that PBS member stations have greater latitude in local scheduling than their commercial counterparts. Scheduling of PBS-distributed series may vary wildly from market to market. This can be a source of tension as stations seek to preserve their localism and PBS strives to market a consistent national lineup. However, PBS has a policy of "common carriage" requiring most stations to clear the national prime time programs on a common schedule, so that they can be more effectively marketed on a national basis.

Unlike its radio counterpart National Public Radio, PBS has no central program production arm or news department. All of the programming carried by PBS, whether news, documentary, or entertainment, is created by (or in most cases produced under contract with) individual member stations. WGBH is one of the largest producers of educational programming; news programs are produced by WETA-TV, and the Charlie Rose interview show and Nature come from WNET. Once a program is distributed to PBS, the network (and not the member station that supplied it) retains all rights for rebroadcasts; the suppliers do maintain the right to sell the program in non-broadcast media such as DVDs, books, and licensed merchandise.

Unlike the CBC-SRC state broadcaster in Canada, it is uncommon to find a single PBS broadcasting entitity serving an entire state. This is partly due to the origins of the PBS stations themselves, and partly due to historical license issues. This organizational structure is outmoded in the modern broadcast marketplace. One PBS network per state is probably the most optimal arrangement. This can be done by a legal restructuring of the PBS network in each state, and not violate the original madates of the PBS member stations.

PBS' evening schedule emphasizes fine arts (Great Performances), drama (Mystery! and Masterpiece Theatre), science (Nova and Scientific American Frontiers), public affairs (Frontline) and independent films (P.O.V. and Independent Lens).

PBS has distributed a number of highly regarded children's shows such as Sesame Street, The Electric Company, Villa Allegre, Zoom!, The Letter People, Barney and Friends, Shining Time Station, Thomas & Friends, Reading Rainbow and Mister Rogers' Neighborhood. Popular animated series have included Clifford the Big Red Dog, Arthur, Liberty's Kids and The Magic School Bus. The service has also imported British kids' series including Teletubbies and Boohbah. (Some of these series have since migrated to commercial television in the U.S., at least.)

But PBS is not the only distributor of public television programming to the affiliates. Other distributors have emerged from the roots of the old companies that had loosely held regional public television stations in the 1960s. Boston-based American Public Television (former names include Eastern Educational Network and American Program Service) is second only to PBS for distributing programs to U.S. non-commercial stations. Another distributor is NETA (formerly SECA), whose properties have included The Shapies and Jerry Yarnell School of Fine Art.

Member stations do not rely solely on PBS for their programming. Among the major U.S. syndicators is American Public Television (APT); from these public television syndication sources, stations acquire programming such as The McLaughlin Group. They also produce a variety of local shows, some of which subsequently receive national distribution through PBS or the syndicators.

They are known for rebroadcasting British television dramas and comedies (acquired from the BBC and other sources); so much of the exposure of American audiences to British television (particularly comedies) comes through PBS it has been joked that PBS means "Primarily British Series". However, a significant amount of sharing takes place. The BBC and other media outlets in the region such as Channel 4 often cooperate with PBS stations, producing material that is shown on both sides of the Atlantic. Also, though less frequently, Canadian and Australian, among other international, programming appears on PBS; the syndicators are more likely to offer this programming to the US public stations.

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September 21, 2005 (Posted by Leah Yoakum)
> PBS Wins Awards at News, Documentary Emmys

PBS took six awards at the annual news and documentary Emmys, and Associated Press Television News was honored for its coverage of the Beslan school siege in Russia.

ABC, NBC and CBS each won four Emmys. HBO won three, and the president of HBO's documentary division, Sh... Read More

Source: Yahoo! News


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