PBS ‘Need to Know’ Wants to Know About Its Future

By Alex Weprin 

The weekly PBS newsmagazine “Need to Know” is in the awkward position of not knowing what its future holds. As The NY Times notes, PBS has not decided whether to renew the program yet.

Like all PBS programs, the show is produced by a local station, in this case New York’s WNET.org. WNET has been receiving feedback from other stations that broadcast the show, both positive and negative.

One thing that seems clear: of the two anchors, Alison Stewart and Jon Meacham, Stewart looks far more comfortable in front of the camera. So if changes do get made in a second season, it looks like Meacham might be in the hot seat.

As the Times notes, it comes down to the budget:

Asked about the show’s future, PBS said in a statement: “PBS’s commitment to ‘Need to Know’ runs through June 2011. As with any renewal decision, we are evaluating the series carefully. No final determination has been made.”

“Every PBS show is concerned about what next year’s budget may look like. PBS has a lot of decisions to make, and we get that,” said Mr. Shapiro, who was nonetheless optimistic that the program’s growing audience would earn it renewal. But, he said, “if money were plentiful I think we’d have a little less concern.”