On Sunday, the Washington County Insider reported that Milwaukee PBS programming staple Around The Corner With John McGivern would not be returning for another season. According to the story, McGivern himself let the news leak during a live performance in Hartford, Wisconsin, noting that Milwaukee PBS was “moving in another direction” with more “COVID-related programming.” We picked up the story on Monday. As it spread, one thing became clear: folks were not happy.
Late Monday night, Milwaukee PBS released a statement about the future of Around The Corner. That future, according to Milwaukee PBS, is up to McGivern, who has “expressed his intent to independently produce the series.” Here’s the statement.
(Editor’s note: The above picture shows McGivern outside the Audubon Inn in my hometown of Mayville, Wisconsin. One time when we were in high school my band and I played a show in West Bend and we got paid 100 whole dollars and we all got phone numbers and when we drove back home to Mayville we stayed at the Audubon and sat in a jacuzzi all night smoking cigars and listening to Duran Duran. We thought things couldn’t possibly get any better.)
STATEMENT OF MILWAUKEE PBS VICE PRESIDENT AND GM, BOHDAN ZACHARY
MILWAUKEE – December 14, 2020
Milwaukee PBS prides itself on providing diverse, enriching and engaging programming to our viewers and supporters in the region, including Around the Corner with John McGivern.
In response to the challenging financial circumstances brought about by COVID-19, we are exploring different production models for three of our programs, including Around the Corner with John McGivern.
On October 26, 2020, Mr. McGivern expressed his intent to independently produce the series so viewers might anticipate future episodes should he move forward with this model. Milwaukee PBS has offered to continue to air Around the Corner with John McGivern under an independent production model proposed to Mr. McGivern. Regardless of whether Mr. McGivern pursues this plan, Milwaukee PBS will continue to air episodes from the existing nine seasons of Around the Corner with John McGivern and offer them online at milwaukeePBS.org.
We understand Around the Corner with John McGivern is a beloved tradition and escape for many Wisconsin families. In light of the economic realities stemming from the pandemic and the substantial costs of the series, we are unable to continue production of Around the Corner with John McGivern. We are encouraged by Mr. McGivern’s intent to find funding for his series so he can produce the show independently.
COVID-19 has certainly brought unprecedented challenges to our society, our City, and our station. To prioritize the health and safety of Milwaukee PBS team members and the public, MATC/Milwaukee PBS employees are not allowed to travel and produce content in the same manner as was possible pre-coronavirus. This presents another challenge to the in-house Around the Corner with John McGivern production model.
As the New Year approaches, Milwaukee PBS will increase its focus in 2021 on the impact of COVID-19, racial injustice, and economic disparity on southeast Wisconsin. These critical issues are the station’s commitments to the communities it serves. Viewer favorites like Around the Corner with John McGivern will continue to air in 2021 as well.
On February 4, 2021, Milwaukee PBS will air a live hour-long special at 7:00 PM on COVID-19 vaccines and distributions in our region. The broadcast will feature experts in health – and the hosts of the event will be 10thirtysix’s Portia Young, Adelante’s Patricia Gomez, and Black Nouveau’s Earl Arms.
On February 11, 2021, Milwaukee PBS’s Black Nouveau will present “Understanding Implicit Bias”. Kima and Dasha Kelly Hamilton will lead a ninety minute interactive webinar that will help people understand unconscious patterns and stereotypes we develop that affect individuals, attitudes and actions. The special will air from 7:00 – 8:30 PM.
Next fall, Milwaukee PBS will air a live performance of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra in its new home, the Bradley Symphony Center.
Exclusive articles, podcasts, and more. Support Milwaukee Record on Patreon.