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Is Public Television Still Relevant?

Over the weekend, a story in the arts section of the New York Times put forth the argument that public television is less necessary today than ever before. PBS programming — Antiques Roadshow, Nova — feels musty, the story argues, and it's far less important in the scheme of things than it was when there were just three broadcast networks directing the course of TV. Now, on the other hand:

"Cable has changed all that. There are not only countless more channels to chose from now, but many offer the kind of stuff that in the past you could see only on public TV, and in at least some instances they do it better."

Are any of you die-hard PBS viewers? What shows do you watch? And do you think the programming still has its place in the 100+ channel, digital cable world?

Join The Conversation
DCStar DCStar 9 years
PBS is so important! It's where I've watched BBC shows like "Coupling" and seen movies like Anne of Green Gables, Doctor Zhivago (with Keira Knightley), so many fabulous Operas (thanks to Great Performances). I love NOVA and their other science programs, and loved growing up watching Are you being served? And other British television shows. It's my favorite channel!
Fab_Kitty Fab_Kitty 9 years
The results of this poll make me soooooo happy!!! Ditto to all those citing PBS' quality programming like Sesame Street, Great Performances, etc. And a big "Thank you!" to all who help fund it.
pargie pargie 9 years
I love PBS Create! My favorite shows are Rick Bayliss's Mexi One Plate At a Time, This Old House, and History Detective amongst others. Of course it is still relevant, I watch it almost daily!
x_juicyfruit x_juicyfruit 9 years
I think it is. I watch it quite often. I love their Great Performances show.
krazykarot krazykarot 9 years
I love PBS! I couldn't do without it. I grew up in an area where cable isn't available so the bulk of what I grew up on was PBS and I definitely want my future/hypothetical children to watch PBS like I did. Even now I still watch Nova, masterpiece theater, mystery! and whatever random science shows catch my eye. Also their british imports can be spectacular! I loved watching are you being served?, red dwarf and dr who with my dad.
Nexxus1 Nexxus1 9 years
PBS is the ONLY thing my son watches. I don't like him watching many cartoons, but I don't mind PBS because almost every show on there promotes learning, interaction, and education. I would most certainly fight to keep it.
beingtazim beingtazim 9 years
do i get pbs? i don't know. i used to watch it a lot when i watched more tv. i watch CBC a lot though.
bethany21 bethany21 9 years
PBS is great! It simply has the best children's shows, the most unbiased news content, and often great local stuff...the New Orleans PBS channel broadcasts the Rex and Comus balls on Mardi Gras- that's important cultural programming, and you know your local ABC, NBC, or CBS affiliate would never "waste time" on cool local stuff like that. Cable is great and all, but it is definitely no replacement for the quality of programming on PBS. And Antiques Roadshow is pretty amazing as well.
bransugar79 bransugar79 9 years
I am such adie hard PBS fan. I guess cable does offer a wide range of programming but I can't see doing away with PBS. I was a PBS kid from Sesame Street to Mr. Roger's Neighborhhod and The Electric Company 3-2-1 Contact and all. I want my kids to have that growing up. I also think PBS offers local programming that can't be found anywhere else. It's so good to have an outlest for regional stories and events. I think PBS is one of the first places I found culture and I can't imagine it going anywhere
maisiegirl maisiegirl 9 years
Yes, it fills a huge void that commercial television doesn't even address. Programs such as Frontline, Masterpiece, the various travel programs, Antiques Roadshow and it is the only channel that I see feature great "Art" series (Simon Schama's "Power of Art", etc.) and documentaries and programs that are inclusive of multiethnic and world cultures. For example, the various programs on Native Americans, the new Henry Louis Gates' series, the programming illustrating the experiences of our soldiers in Iraq, and I could go on and on. Not everyone in this country watches American Idol, Survivor, Dancing with the Stars; some of us want programming that is intellectually provocative and interesting!
kristinhomesick kristinhomesick 9 years
caterpillargirl: perhaps, but christopher kimball would stanch the bloodflow with his sweet bowtie, saving burt's life.
limelindsey limelindsey 9 years
I LOVE PBS! Sorry for the shouting, but public television is a vital part of American TV. I don't have cable, only bunny ears, and PBS is one of the few stations that I get. Keep PBS!
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 9 years
kristin I think Rick would whip off his amazing glasses , smash them and slit burts throat.
kristinhomesick kristinhomesick 9 years
burt wolf could destroy rick steves in a cage fight
bellaressa bellaressa 9 years
I still watch PBS and I look regularly for documentaries that will interest me.
binkyob binkyob 9 years
I can't lie, when I had cable, I never watched PBS. But now that I don't have cable, I watch PBS all the time! I love it! I think even if we got cable, I would still watch PBS. Antique's Roadshow and This Old House are my favorite! My man and I also activly donate to our local PBS now.
Pheefs Pheefs 9 years
PBS is the best!! I love Masterpiece & Mystery! They also run the Arts Showcase overnight most nights.
lisjaka lisjaka 9 years
If it wasn't for shows like Frontline and Charlie Rose, there would be no one questioning the government action i.e. Iraq War.
bastille_75 bastille_75 9 years
I love PBS and watch it often as well!!! I also agree with the above poster the importance it plays in children's programming is unsurpassed even by newer cable channel and shows.
Taadie Taadie 9 years
I think it needs a little updating in its marketing and image. The shows are valuable but the packaging is stale.
Dana18 Dana18 9 years
PBS is still one of the best station around. They have the best learn cartoons fore kids. Documentaries and masterpiece theater. These types of show the major networks don't show because they do not generate the same amount of revenue.
Gabriela14815884 Gabriela14815884 9 years
I agree with wingedkiare. I think the children's programming is especially important and worth fighting to keep on.
saucymegstar saucymegstar 9 years
I watch PBS very often. Great Performances, Masterpiece Theatre, Mystery!, News Hour with Jim Lehrer and yes Antiques Roadshow. I greatly enjoyed watching the War documentary etc... and the kids programing is top notch. I wouldn't trade PBS for anything. It's been a part of my life since I was old enough to watch television and I hope when I have kids they will grow up on it as well.
ilanac13 ilanac13 9 years
that's a tough one. i think that there are some programs that are relevant but for the most part - the cable networks are carrying similar content now.
raieven raieven 9 years
Some people don't have cable, and don't want it!!! I love PBS.
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