Missed this story over the holiday break. Television host Tavis Smiley, who had worked with KCET for seven years to produce his self-titled late-night program, will no longer be working with the station now that they’ve left the PBS umbrella. He’s moving his program to Orange County’s PBS affiliate KOCE. And he doesn’t feel good about the way the move went down.
“If the viewer in Southern California, if the viewer in Los Angeles, feels bilked — feels bamboozled, hoodwinked, run amok, led astray, abandoned — if the viewer feels that way, I say to the viewer, ‘I feel your pain,’ ” Smiley told the LA Times. “As I move around the city, the feeling is for me palpable of how disappointed the citizens are about this decision.”
Smiley says he was not kept in the loop about KCET’s decision to leave PBS. “To keep PBS out of the loop is a problem, but they’re thousands of miles away. I’m right here on the lot….I literally got a phone call as KCET was making the statement publicly, as this story was breaking,”
“Tavis Smiley” was and remains the only show on PBS with an African-American host. We’ll see if KCET, now that it’s independent, will make an effort to find a new voice from the African-American community in Smiley’s absence.