People/Biz

Programming execs out in PBS cuts

PBS's VP of programming Steven Gray and VP of program scheduling and editorial management Sandy Heberer are both leaving the U.S. public broadcaster, realscreen understands, as part of restructuring that hits 13 staff.
August 3, 2011

PBS’s VP of programming Steven Gray and VP of program scheduling and editorial management Sandy Heberer are both leaving the U.S. public broadcaster, realscreen understands, as part of a restructuring that affects 13 staff.

It is understood that Gray and Heberer will depart effective September 1, with the network set to unveil details of a new organizational structure thereafter, according to sources with knowledge of the situation. It is understood the restructuring was announced internally to PBS employees in mid-July.

A spokesperson for PBS told realscreen the network was unable to comment on specific individuals, but said: “We did have an elimination and restructuring of positions in the last few weeks – 13 positions overall were impacted, and we have determined that we will not go ahead and fill an additional eight positions that were vacant.”

However, the spokesperson also added that six restructured or new positions were being added and said that the broadcaster will have an announcement “in the coming weeks” about its new organizational structure. The spokesperson said the changes did not constitute “a major restructuring.”

A further email stated the cuts were necessary for the public broadcaster to “focus efforts in areas with the greatest value to the public media system in a time of budgetary constraints.”

Gray has been with PBS for more than 21 years, having originally joined the network in 1990 as director of program scheduling. Neither Gray nor Heberer responded to emails requesting comment.

The news comes after PBS was yesterday awarded a license by British media regulator Ofcom to launch a channel in the UK, as previously reported.

About The Author
Barry Walsh is editor and content director for realscreen, and has served as editor of the publication since 2009. With a career in entertainment media that spans two decades, prior to realscreen, he held the associate editor post for now defunct sister publication Boards, which focused on the advertising and commercial production industries. Before Boards, he served as editor of Canadian Music Network, a weekly music industry trade, and as music editor for HMV.com. As content director, he also oversees the development of content for the brand's market-leading events, the Realscreen Summit and Realscreen West, as well as new content initiatives.

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