Bye Bye KCET, Get Ready for PBS SoCal!

KOCE announces name change and public television lineup — “Nova,” “Tavis Smiley,” but no “Charlie Rose”

Last Updated: December 16, 2010 @ 3:51 PM

In the wake of KCET and PBS' public breakup, KOCE-TV is taking up the mantle of public television. 

To signal its new status, KOCE is also undergoing a name change. The local channel will henceforth be known as PBS SoCal. 

Beginning January 2011, PBS SoCal will be the PBS hub for Los Angeles, Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura counties and the city of Santa Barbara, in addition to Orange County.

Among the shows migrating to PBS SoCal from KCET will be “Masterpiece Theater,” “American Masters,” “Tavis Smiley,” “California’s Gold,” “Frontline,” “NOVA“ and "Pioneers of Television."

In a conference call with reporters on Thursday, KOCE still seemed to be shaking off the shock of KCET's departure from the PBS family. 

"The general mood can best be described as bewilderment. None of us expected it to come to this. All of us assumed at the end of the day that something would be worked out. We have been so busy scrambling to fill void that we havent had time to think about what might have been," President and CEO Mel Rogers.

West Coast-based KCET is ending its 40-year-long affiliation with the Public Broadcasting System. The decision came about after the two sides failed to reach an agreement on a reduction in dues and greater programming flexibility. It will now broadcast more local programming and re-runs of classic movies. 

While stopping short of criticizing KCET's move, Rogers seemed puzzled that KOCE's public television cousin would want to snip the PBS cord.

"It's a hard thing to figure out and explain because they walked away from what I think is the best media brand and content in the country," Rogers said.

As the new PBS affiliate KOCE announced it would also be relocating from Huntington Beach to Costa Mesa. 

One show that will not be making the move, at least not for the foreseeable future, will be "Charlie Rose."

"As you know we came upon this opportunity as a surprise. We have commitments to keep," Rogers told TheWrap. "We will have 'Charlie Rose,' we hope in a number of months…he will come to us." 

The station will continue to provide Orange County with local programming like “Inside OC with Rick Reiff” and “Real Orange."