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PBS will broadcast a BBC news program featuring Washington correspondent Katty Kay for the second half of Charlie Rose’s vacated time slot, pairing it with a Christiane Amanpour program that began airing last week.
The program, titled Beyond 100 Days, features the London-based Christian Fraser as co-anchor. It began as a temporary show to report on the Trump administration, but has continued indefinitely — hence the unusual title. PBS said Tuesday it will begin airing on Jan. 2.
The pubcaster has had to move quickly to find content for its 11 p.m. hour after ending Rose’s show suddenly when he was accused of sexual misconduct. He also was fired as a morning anchor at CBS.
PBS faces the same challenge now at midnight after cutting Tavis Smiley loose on charges of inappropriate behavior.
The programs replacing Rose’s interviews give PBS an international outlook for the hour. Amanpour’s show is a rebroadcast of one that she does each weekday for CNN International, but it is not aired in the U.S.
“Our role is to fill a market gap and I think the international approach is kind of missing in the news space right now,” said PBS programming chief Beth Hoppe.
Both programs are interim, however, according to Hoppe. PBS sought existing programs because they could be ready faster than a show started from scratch. It’s unclear how long CNN wants to have Amanpour’s program rerun on PBS; the network is already in talks with the BBC about a long-term relationship for Beyond 100 Days.
Kay, who became familiar to American audiences when she anchored a nightly BBC newscast that aired on most PBS stations, said there’s a dedicated core of viewers attracted to the BBC’s objectivity and its take on news inside and outside the U.S.
“PBS audiences are smart, informed and global in their outlook,” she said. “They certainly don’t need a particularly tailored product that explains world events to them. What we give them is a unique perspective on world events.”
The show was an immediate hit with the BBC’s worldwide audience. Beyond the tweets and drama, viewers overseas are curious about what the Trump administration means for American leadership in the world, she said.
Originally conceived to cover the Trump administration’s first 100 days, it was extended and became 100 Days Plus and finally Beyond 100 Days. ”It probably needs some explaining to our American viewers,” Kay said.
Hoppe’s got other ideas for the title.
“If it stays, we might evolve it into something else,” she said.
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