As you may remember, a few days ago we congratulated PBS 'Arthur's' Mr. Ratburn on his union to his partner Patrick. Although there was a lot of positive feedback on the episode, Alabama Public Television chose to not air the episode. Instead they ran a re-run episode of the show when the "Mr.Ratburn and the Special Someone" aired nationwide on May 13.
Mike Mckenzie, director of programming at APT, said APT was notified by WGBH and PBS in mid-April about the episode titled “Mr. Ratburn and the Special Someone” and decided to show a re-run. Mckenzie said APT has no plans to air the episode at a later date.
“Parents have trusted Alabama Public Television for more than 50 years to provide children’s programs that entertain, educate and inspire,” Mckenzie said in an email. “More importantly – although we strongly encourage parents to watch television with their children and talk about what they have learned afterwards – parents trust that their children can watch APT without their supervision. We also know that children who are younger than the ‘target’ audience for Arthur also watch the program.”
PBS told CNN that their local channels decide what to put on the air in their markets.
"PBS Kids programs are designed to reflect the diversity of communities across the nation," PBS Kids' Maria Vera Whelan told CNN. "We believe it is important to represent the wide array of adults in the lives of children who look to PBS Kids every day."
The show's creator told CNN he felt like the episode was a responsibility they had with Arthur.
APT also pulled an episode of Arthur in 2005, when Buster, a bunny character in Arthur visited a girl who had two mothers.
“'Our feeling is that we basically have a trust with parents about our programming. This program doesn't fit into that,'' Alabama Public Television's executive then-director Allan Pizzato told AL.com in 2005.
The episode is still available to view online at pbs.org.
What are your opinions?