After ratings plunged and filmmakers and industry members rallied in protest behind an open letter from Kartemquin Films and a Twitter campaign, PBS has agreed to reexamine its unpopular decision to move documentary series POV and Independent Lens from their old Tuesday spot to Thursday.
Beyond being a highly competetive TV slot, Thursdays are a night PBS affiliates typically reserve for non-PBS or local programming. Because of the scheduling switch, many networks were unwilling to surrender their most popular programming night bumped the nonfiction series from prime time or to another evening after the premiere date entirely.
The New York Times reports that PBS has agreed to look for a new solution, but has made no statements as to what that might be:
Late Thursday, a PBS spokeswoman said in a statement that, after conversations about the two programs, “we agreed to alternative scheduling options for ‘Independent Lens’ and ‘POV.’” The new time slot for next season is expected to be announced at PBS’s annual meeting, May 14 to 17 in Denver.
Reporting on the kerfuffle on our site on Monday, Anthony Kaufman had documentarians weigh in on the importance of the platform the two programs provide, and wrote that “the 10pm Tuesday slots were part of the shows’ identities: Independent Lens and POV have followed the popular Frontline for as long they’ve existed (10 years and 24 years, respectively).”
Now, Kaufman believes that “PBS is likely to slot the two programs in another non-Tuesday slot, but they’ll commit to consistent national primetime carriage of the programs (rather than let local programmers do with them what they willl).”
Independent Lens suffered a 42% drop in ratings this season following the move. POV, which has just announced its 2012 lineup, will kick off its own Thursday night run on June 21st.