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WNET Reinstates POV, Independent Lens After Viewers Rally

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Local New York station WNET has changed its mind and put PBS' new episodes of documentary showcases Independent Lens and POV back on its schedule after previously deciding to remove them from their Mondays at 10 p.m. time slot, PBS announced Monday. WNET had planned to air repeats of PBS arts programming instead.

"WNET's decision to return Independent Lens and POV to the schedule on Monday nights, after hearing from 1,195 viewers, donors and filmmakers in the few days since December 19, is good news for all viewers," The Indie Caucus said Monday. "But it is particularly good news for those whose voices are underrepresented in American media. Independent, point of view documentary anchors public television's promise to provide diverse perspectives from and for underrepresented voices in American media."

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Previously, WNET's programming vice president Stephen Segaller said the decision to air repeats of POV and Independent Lens on Sunday nights at 11 p.m. was made "to schedule Independent Lens and POV in time slots where the series will have a chance of getting a still larger audience." Because of the success of Downton Abbey, Sunday nights are PBS' highest-rated night of the week.

Tracy Droz Tragos, whose film Rich Hill is to be featured in the upcoming season of Independent Lens, applauded the decision reversal to return the documentary showcases to primetime. "I'm thrilled that Rich Hill is back on the schedule and will open the Independent Lens season, as scheduled on WNET/Thirteen on Monday, Jan. 5 at 10," Tragos said in a statement. "No, the families in Rich Hill are not celebrities and don't have a lot of clout--but they have honest and difficult struggles that deserve to be seen, and they have enduing love and infinite promise."

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