8 US public TV stations create sales entity

LOS ANGELES : A new sponsorship sales firm has been established by eight public television stations in the US.

PBS has also become a member of the group. Public Television National Productions (PTNP) will represent programmes released by these stations for national public television distribution. The stations say they realised that securing underwriting for public television programmes helps bring some of the best of television to the screen, while giving sponsors a visible connection to public television's quality reputation.

In addition to PBS, membership includes the principal public television stations. They include KCET/Hollywood; WTTW, Chicago; KQED, San Francisco; KERA, Dallas; KCTS, Seattle; WQED, Pittsburgh; Oregon Public Broadcasting, and Connecticut Public Television.

Programmes range from cooking series such as Mexico: One Plate at a Time, a WTTW production hosted by well-known Chicago-based chef Rick Bayless, to PBS Hollywood Presents, primetime original dramas produced at the legendary studios of member station KCET. The series' latest production is The Gin Game starring Dick Van Dyke and Mary Tyler Moore, in their first television acting reunion in almost 40 years.

The CEO of PTNP is Jay Campbell, who comes from Cable Ad Ventures, a television development, sales and production company he has headed for 20 years. Campbell introduced American Family to Johnson & Johnson, which resulted in their exclusive sponsorship of the PBS series, the first primetime drama on network television to feature a Latino cast.

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