President & CEO
Paula A. Kerger is president and chief executive officer of PBS, the nation’s largest non-commercial media organization with 350 member stations throughout the country.
Ms. Kerger joined PBS as its sixth president and chief executive in March 2006, and is the longest serving President in PBS history. Since her arrival, Ms. Kerger has made particularly strong commitments to the arts, news and public affairs, high-quality educational content for children and the classroom, diversity, and the use of new digital platforms to bring public media into the lives of all Americans.
Under Ms. Kerger’s leadership, PBS has been growing its audiences across genres, and platforms. In the course of a year, eighty-two percent of all television households in America watch PBS, and over seventy percent of all children watch PBS. And online, in 2015, Americans viewed more than five billion videos across all PBS digital platforms.
Among her accomplishments are the pop-culture phenomenon “Downton Abbey” on MASTERPIECE, Ken Burns’s THE ROOSEVELTS: AN INTIMATE HISTORY, the original American drama series MERCY STREET, the documentary “Hamilton’s America” about the Broadway smash hit musical, acclaimed children’s programs such as PEG + CAT and CURIOUS GEORGE, and award-winning apps and online sites. PBS has also developed PBS LearningMedia, which provides educators with digital resources for the classroom.
During Ms. Kerger’s tenure, PBS has launched critically praised online video sites for general audiences (pbs.org) and children (pbskids.org) and created new digital partnerships with companies like iTunes, YouTube, AppleTV, Microsoft’s Xbox, Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, and Comcast’s On Demand service to ensure that PBS programming is accessible across multiple platforms and, increasingly, to a global audience. PBS has also created PBS Digital Studios, which produces high-quality original content exclusively for digital platforms. PBS Digital Studios now distributes more than 30 web-original series, and has been honored with numerous industry awards including 7 Webby awards, 18 Tellys and 2 Mashies, including “Best Branded YouTube Channel.”
In addition to leading PBS, Ms. Kerger is president of the PBS Foundation, an independent organization that raises private sector funding for PBS, and has become a significant source of revenue for new projects at PBS. Ms. Kerger is regularly included in the Hollywood Reporter’s “Women in Entertainment Power 100,” an annual survey of the nation’s top women executives in media. In 2005, she was named to the Women’s Forum, an organization of 300 leading women in New York’s arts and business scenes. In 2008, Ms. Kerger received the Woman of Achievement Award from Women in Development, New York. And in 2012, she was honored by Promax/BDA, B&C and Multichannel News with their 2012 Brand Builder Award.
Prior to joining PBS, Ms. Kerger served for more than a decade at Educational Broadcasting Corporation (EBC), the parent company of Thirteen/WNET and WLIW21 New York, where her ultimate position was executive vice president and chief operating officer. Her tenure boasts many achievements, including WNET’s completion in 1997 of the largest successful endowment campaign ever undertaken by a public television station.
Ms. Kerger received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Baltimore, where she serves on the Merrick School of Business Dean’s Advisory Council. She has received honorary doctorates from Washington University in St. Louis and Grand Valley State University. She is a director of the International Academy of Television Arts and Sciences and Chair of the board of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History.
Ms. Kerger and her husband Joseph Kerger live in Round Hill, VA.