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Documentary Filmmakers Worry About Being Squeezed Out Of PBS Prime Time

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Documentary Filmmakers Worry About Being Squeezed Out Of PBS Prime Time

Television

Documentary Filmmakers Worry About Being Squeezed Out Of PBS Prime Time

Documentary Filmmakers Worry About Being Squeezed Out Of PBS Prime Time

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/393284659/393284660" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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The popularity of Carson and company on the hit show Downton Abbey is tough for PBS documentary films to compete with. Some major markets — including New York — are considering moving those docs out of prime time. WGBH/PBS hide caption

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WGBH/PBS

The popularity of Carson and company on the hit show Downton Abbey is tough for PBS documentary films to compete with. Some major markets — including New York — are considering moving those docs out of prime time.

WGBH/PBS

As PBS enjoys the success of shows like Downton Abbey and Antiques Roadshow, documentary filmmakers feel they're being marginalized.

Two signature documentary shows on PBS — POV and Independent Lens — air rigorous, in-depth reports about difficult issues often set in minority communities. They also enjoy a prime time slot on many stations, including New York City's WNET, one of the largest PBS member stations in the country.

Now that may change — and documentary filmmakers are speaking out. They say PBS puts too much emphasis on what's popular to the exclusion of mission-driven programs. PBS maintains that all of its shows are important, but an executive admits it hasn't done the best job of promoting documentaries.

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