Names and Faces
Vice President, Programming and Development
Bill Gardner oversees the acquisition, development and production of historical, cultural, current and world events, natural history and science programming for the PBS Primetime schedule as Vice President, Programming and Development.
Before joining PBS, Mr. Gardner was executive producer at Discovery Studios, where he developed projects in the reality, lifestyle and science genres. He also oversaw national productions including Animal Planet’s Puppy Bowl and served as show runner on Science Channel’s Human Nature with Dan Riskin.
Prior to Discovery, he spent over a decade in the independent production world as director, producer, writer and show runner on programs for multiple networks, including Digging for the Truth on the History Channel, Treasure Quest and Solving History on Discovery, CNN Presents and Explorer for National Geographic.
Mr. Gardner has produced in over 30 countries, including spending two months embedded with US Special Forces investigating the looting of the Baghdad museum. During this time he was also the first Westerner allowed to film inside the holy Shi’i Shrines of Hussein and Abbas in Karbala.
Before entering television, Mr. Gardner performed anthropological fieldwork among Arab expatriates in the United States, in Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon and among Muslim Sufi mystics in Marrakech, Morocco, as well as in the world of crack cocaine addiction in the US Virgin Islands. He is a member of the board of CINE and has a Masters Degree in cultural anthropology.
Vice President, News & Public Affairs
As Vice President, News & Public Affairs for PBS, Marie Nelson is responsible for collaborating with executive producers of acclaimed PBS news and public affairs series, as well as independent producers, to develop and direct innovative approaches to engage audiences in current events across these programs and platforms.
Ms. Nelson is a seasoned content developer with experience in public media and other broadcast and cable organizations. Prior to PBS, she served as executive producer of national programs at PBS member station WGBH. At WGBH, she oversaw the production of AMERICA BY THE NUMBERS, an eight-part documentary series that explores the impact of America’s changing demographics.
Prior to WGBH, Ms. Nelson was the acting vice president of news & original programming for BET Networks, where she oversaw a range of cross-platform projects, including Battleground 2012, a yearlong politics initiative. She also served as the founding executive producer for NPR’s “Tell Me More” and as a producer for “Nightline” with Ted Koppel and “World News Tonight” at ABC News. Nelson has also served in public affairs and international development roles with the U.S. Department of State, the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition and Africare.
Vice President, Children’s Programming
As Vice President of Children's Programming for PBS, Linda Simensky collaborates with producers, co-production partners and distributors throughout development, production, post-production and broadcast for existing and new series including Curious George, Super Why!, Dinosaur Train, The Cat in the Hat Knows A Lot About That, Sid the Science Kid, Martha Speaks, WordGirl, The Electric Company, and Wild Kratts.
Prior to joining PBS, Ms. Simensky was Senior Vice President of Original Animation for Cartoon Network, where she oversaw the development and series production of The Powerpuff Girls, Dexter's Laboratory, Samurai Jack, Courage the Cowardly Dog and other major projects.
Ms. Simensky began her career with a nine-year tenure at Nickelodeon, where she helped build the animation department and launch such popular series as Rugrats, Doug and The Ren & Stimpy Show.
She is a past-president of ASIFA-East, and the founder of New York chapter of Women in Animation. She has lectured at numerous colleges and animation festivals, and has taught courses in animation at the School of Visual Arts in New York. She has written for numerous animation publications and has had several essays published in books including "Nickelodeon Nation" and "The Children's Television Community."
Ms. Simensky holds a BA in Communications & History from the University of Pennsylvania and an MA in Media Ecology from New York University.