At our recent PBS Board of Directors meeting, there was universal gratitude as PBS prepares to say goodbye this month to a great friend, Downton Abbey. I left the meeting impressed with the excitement about the quality programming that will continue to separate PBS from the crowded TV space.
A personal highlight was having an extensive conversation with Lisa Wolfinger, co-creator and executive producer of Mercy Street, the original PBS drama series set in the Civil War era. Lisa seemed genuinely interested in my thoughts on the series and receptive to ideas about future Mercy Street plot lines.
Clearly, the PBS leadership is grateful for the runaway success of Downton Abbey. But what’s more notable is the eye on the future and the need for innovation to build on our audience base in the incredibly fractured world of media. The public media world is exciting because of the commitment that so many people bring to delivering local and national content. We depend on national programming to help us educate Mississippians about the larger world around them. But I love that MPB provides residents a commitment to excellence that is as large PBS’s. Recently, we’ve brought you the governor’s inauguration, the state of the state, introduced a new season of @issue and continued to broadcast the ever-popular Mississippi Roads series.
This month is also packed with important work right here at home. It is always fun to watch dozens of Mississippi’s finest students file into MPB studios for the Mississippi State Spelling Bee, which airs live on March 15. With a studio audience and cameras rolling, the students calmly demonstrate the rewards of hard work, reciting letters to words that would stump the best of us. March is a big month for education. MPB will lead several events tied to the national Read Across America. We’ll host students in our auditorium and hold events throughout the state.
Each month in this space, I struggle with the decision on what programming to emphasize to you, our members. I am excited about them all. None of it, however, would be possible without your support.