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PBS Announces Plans to Broadcast 2007 Presidential Forums Tavis Smiley to Moderate Conversations Between Journalists and Announced Candidates



Arlington, VA, February 8, 2007 – PBS announced today it will broadcast two live presidential forums in primetime with Tavis Smiley, host of TAVIS SMILEY, PBS’ late-night talk show, serving as moderator.

The Democratic presidential forum will be held Thursday, June 28, at 9 p.m. EST, at Howard University in Washington, DC. The Republican presidential forum will be held Thursday, Sept. 27, at 9 p.m. EST, at Morgan State University in Baltimore, Maryland.

The forums will include three journalists of color who will pose questions to the candidates. Additional details regarding the selection of the journalists and forums will be released at a later date.

“These forums reflect PBS’ commitment to informing the public on the key issues in the next presidential campaign, and we are especially delighted that Tavis Smiley, who is so knowledgeable on these topics, will serve as moderator,” said PBS president and chief executive officer Paula A. Kerger.

In addition to his PBS program, Smiley also hosts the “Tavis Smiley Show from PRI,” a two-hour news and opinion radio program featuring commentary and interviews.

Smiley, who conceived of the forums, said they are an outgrowth of last year’s New York Times best-seller, the Covenant with Black America. When the book was released in 2006, both the Democratic National Committee and the Republican National Committee pledged that their respective presidential candidates would address the issues outlined in the book. Edited by Smiley, the book outlines 10 of the most pressing issues facing African Americans.

“While Iraq is clearly an important issue for all Americans, there are a number of domestic issues mentioned in my book that we’re all grappling with in this country, including education, healthcare, the economy – you name it. As moderator, I will insure that the forums address these issues,” says Smiley. “We live in the most multicultural, multiracial, multiethnic America ever, and the presidential campaign must respond to and reflect this reality from all perspectives.”

“Tavis Smiley asks the questions that other interviewers won’t,” says Al Jerome, president and chief executive officer of KCET, the presenting station for the forums. These conversations are sure to be lively as well as informative.”

About PBS

PBS is a media enterprise that serves 354 public noncommercial television stations and reaches almost 90 million people each week through on-air and online content. Bringing diverse viewpoints to television and the Internet, PBS provides high-quality documentary and dramatic entertainment, and consistently dominates the most prestigious award competitions. PBS is a leading provider of educational materials for K-12 teachers, and offers a broad array of other educational services. More information about PBS is available at pbs.org, one of the leading dot-org Web sites on the Internet.

About Tavis Smiley

Tavis Smiley is the host of TAVIS SMILEY on PBS and “The Tavis Smiley Show from PRI” and the author/editor of 11 books including the New York Times best-sellers Covenant with Black America and What I Know for Sure: My Story of Growing up in America. His latest book, THE COVENANT In Action is in stores now. For more information, visit www.tavistalks.com.

-PBS-

CONTACTS:

Laurel Lambert, KCET Los Angeles, Tel.: 323/953-5246, Fax: 323/662-2123; llambert@kcet.org
Carrie Johnson, PBS, Tel.: 703/739-5129; Fax: 703/739-5777; cjohnson@pbs.org





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