President of CNN Productions and Time Inc. Television Becomes Fifth PBS President
ALEXANDRIA, VA - February 7, 2000 - The Public Broadcasting Service announced today that Pat Mitchell, the president of CNN Productions and Time Inc. Television, has been named its president and chief executive officer. Elected by a unanimous vote of the PBS board of directors in an executive session on Friday, Ms. Mitchell becomes the fifth president in PBS history and its first female chief executive. She will begin work at PBS on March 1, 2000.
As the president and CEO of PBS, she will direct the operations of the nation's largest and only noncommercial broadcasting service, comprised of 346 member stations reaching over 99 percent of U.S. television households. She succeeds Ervin S. Duggan, who resigned in October 1999.
Ms. Mitchell has a long, varied and distinguished career in television. She has worked for all three broadcast networks, as well as cable, serving as a news reporter, anchor, talk show host, producer and executive. In her current position, she is responsible for developing, commissioning and supervising original, nonfiction programming projects for CNN, TBS and other Turner and Time Warner networks and businesses. She also has responsibility to develop and supervise new television extensions of Time Inc. magazines and brands. Documentaries produced under Ms. Mitchell's direction have won more than 100 major awards, including 41 Emmys, seven Peabodys and 35 CableACEs.
"Pat Mitchell will bring to PBS extraordinary creativity and energy, strong diplomatic and management skills, and a deep commitment to public service," said Colin Campbell, chairman of the PBS board of directors (and president of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund). "We are fortunate to have found someone of her stature, vision and eloquence to lead our enterprise in an era of explosive change in the media landscape."
"PBS has an unmatched record of excellence in its content, education services and the use of technology for public service," said Ms. Mitchell. "I am honored and excited by the opportunity to work with the member stations, producers and educators who have built this institution into an indispensable resource for the American people. The local roots and unique mission of PBS stations gain even greater significance in an increasingly consolidated and commercialized media universe."
A native Georgian, Ms. Mitchell earned her bachelor and master's degrees in English at the University of Georgia. She began her professional career on the faculty of her alma mater and Virginia Commonwealth University, and she later lectured at the Harvard University Institute of Politics. From 1972 to 1979, she worked as a producer, reporter, anchor and program host in local broadcast television. From 1979-1982, she served as a correspondent and substitute anchor for NBC's Today Show.
She formed her own production company in 1983 and developed and hosted the first all-female talk program, Woman to Woman, which was syndicated to more than 100 stations and won an EMMY for Best Daytime Talk Program. She later developed and hosted Hour Magazine for Group W television, served as producer/reporter for ABC's Home show and as arts correspondent for CBS Sunday Morning. As an independent producer in the early 1990s, she created and developed reality series, specials and documentaries for cable and broadcast television.
Ms. Mitchell joined TBS Inc. in 1992. The division she heads has produced 500 hours of acclaimed documentaries and specials for TBS and TNT, including National Geographic EXPLORER, A Century of Women, Moon Shot, The Coming Plague, Millennium and the Peabody-winning Cold War. She is executive producer of CNN Perspectives and the executive in charge of production for two of CNN's three NewsStand programs. She initiated a strategy for licensing the programming internationally and developed co-production relationships with broadcast, cable and satellite companies around the world. She also works with Turner Broadcasting's strategic planning group and is a member of the TBS, Inc. executive committee and the CNN executive committee.
Long active in community and nonprofit organizations, Ms. Mitchell serves on the advisory board of Radcliffe College's Schlesinger Library on the History of Women and the Women's Leadership Advisory Council of the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. She also sits on the board of trustees of the Sundance Institute, the Advisory Board of the University of California Santa Barbara School of Communications, the Atlanta Metro YMCA and the High Museum in Atlanta. She is also president of Global Green USA, the American affiliate of Mikhail Gorbachev's worldwide conservation organization.
Upon the announcement of Mr. Duggan's resignation in September 1999, the PBS board of directors named a committee to conduct a nationwide search for a new president and CEO. The committee, co-chaired by lay board member Marian Andersen and WCET Cincinnati president and CEO Wayne Godwin, retained Heidrick & Struggles to assist with the search. The committee voted unanimously to recommend Ms. Mitchell to the full board, and the board affirmed that decision in its February 4 meeting. PBS board member John Swope has served as PBS's president and chief executive officer during the interim period.
PBS, headquartered in Alexandria, Va., is a private, nonprofit media enterprise owned and operated by the nation's 346 public television stations. A trusted community resource, PBS uses the power of noncommercial television, the Internet and other media to enrich the lives of all Americans through quality programs and education services that inform, inspire and delight. Available to 99 percent of American homes with televisions and to an increasing number of digital multimedia households, PBS serves nearly 100 million people each week. More information about PBS is available at pbs.org.
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