say good-bye to PBS as we’ve known it

You may remember the time, many years ago, when you could sit down to an evening of Masterpiece Theater or Mystery! on PBS, and after a brief reminder that the forthcoming entertainment was brought to you by Mobil Oil, that was it: you were done being advertised at.

No more. From The New York Times:

PBS officials told member stations at its recent annual meeting in Orlando that beginning this fall, the Wednesday science series “Nature” and “Nova” would contain corporate and foundation sponsor spots, promotional messages and branding within four breaks inside the shows, instead of at the very beginning and end.

The longest period of uninterrupted programming, according to a plan shown to the programmers, would be just under 15 minutes, compared with the current 50 minutes or more. Based on what PBS learns in the fall, the new format would continue to be introduced night by night through the year, officials said.

It was nice while it lasted.

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