In its first distribution deal with a cable network, WNET-TV, the PBS station here, said Tuesday that its nightly talk show with interviewer Charlie Rose will also be carried on the Learning Channel.
Beginning Jan. 6, the Learning Channel will air "Charlie Rose," hosted by the former anchor of CBS' "Nightwatch," at 10 p.m. (EST) Monday through Friday, a day after the original broadcast on WNET. Rose's talk show, which premiered in September, is carried live on WNET weeknights at 11 p.m.
"We have kept our other programming off of cable because we felt that it was important that it be identified as PBS programming," William F. Baker, president of WNET, said in an interview. "This is a local program that was not part of our national schedule. We needed the help financially, and we felt that the Learning Channel had a similar mission to ours."
Terms of the deal were not disclosed. But Baker said that the money from the Learning Channel will defray some of WNET's production costs on the Rose show and also will be used to begin another locally produced series. Local public-affairs programming is one of the most difficult kinds of programming for PBS stations to fund because corporate sponsors prefer to back national arts series.
Rose, an Emmy-winning interviewer who was the host on the Washington, D.C.-based "Nightwatch" for six years, has been tapping into the vitality of New York in his new talk show, interviewing a variety of guests from New York Gov. Mario Cuomo to cabaret singer Andrea Marcovici, and presenting debates among community activists on issues such as race and health care.
"This city offers the most interesting resource--people--to draw on," Rose said Tuesday. He said that another possible use of the Learning Channel fees might be to help fund some prime-time specials.
Executives at the Learning Channel said that they expected only minor overlap between WNET and the cable audience, and were talking to WNET about other possible distribution deals. The Learning Channel is available to 15.6 million viewers.
WNET-TV is one of the major producing stations for the PBS network, producing such series as "Great Performances" and "Nature."