A number of organizations have contacted Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) to ask us about a production deal they’ve been offered by producers of various television shows carrying titles such as American Milestones, Breakthroughs, In America TV, In Focus, The Journal, Biography, Giving Back, Impact PTV, Leading Edge, Learning About, Outlook TV, Outlook Television, and Vision Media or other such shows that may be introduced by well-known personalities such as James Earl Jones, Ben Kingsley, Martin Sheen, Joan Lunden, Jimmy Johnson, or other celebrities. From the information we have received from organizations contacted by these producers, the producer typically offers to create a 3-5 minute short program (or interstitial) which highlights the organization’s business. The producer asks the organization to pay for production costs ranging from $20,000 to $30,000, plus additional travel expenses in order to conduct on-site interviews. The organizations that call PBS have been led to believe that the program will be featured on “National Public Television” or that the program will be distributed to “PTV,” “Public Television” or to “PBS Stations.”
PBS wishes to clarify that it is not associated with these producers and does not endorse, distribute, review underwriting for, or otherwise have any business relationship pertaining to these shows. It is important to note that producers of shows distributed by PBS do not solicit fees from individuals or organizations in return for inclusion in their shows.
PBS cannot provide any information about if or when these shows produced for a fee receive any broadcast television time through public television stations, including PBS Member Stations, or any other outlet.
If you would like to contact us directly for more information, you may do so at: http://www.pbs.org/about/contact/viewer-services/
For more information about producers who contact businesses and charge a fee for “interstitial” programming, please review the following articles:
- Farhi, Paul, “Production Firms Stir Suspicion Among Networks, Would-Be Clients,” The Washington Post, Dec. 26, 2012, http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/production-firms-stir-suspicion-among-networks-would-be-clients/2012/12/26/d6eda81a-4a04-11e2-ad54-580638ede391_story.html
- Folkenflik, David, “Sold Documentaries On Public TV, Firms Get Ads,” All Things Considered on National Public Radio, April 20, 2010, http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=126056182
Strom, Stephanie, “Company Pitches a Television Production, and Nonprofit Groups Are Wary,” The New York Times, August 16, 2008, http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/16/us/16pitch.html?_r=1&