DOE Reinvites Buster Producer

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The Department of Education has reinvited Postcards from Buster executive producer Carol Greenwald to speak at a joint PBS/DOE kids' TV conference in Baltimore.

DOE Press Secretary Susan Aspey had not returned calls for comment, but according to a spokeswoman for WGBH Boston, where Buster is produced, Greenwald, who was attending the conference anyway, was contacted by a DOE staffer there Thursday, told her it had all been a misunderstanding, and asked her to rejoin the panel.

She graciously accepted, said WGBH's Jeanne Hopkins.

As to the misunderstanding part: Hopkins, who had talked with Greenwald, said it seemed pretty clear to them. "A DOE staffer called last week and told her she could not be on the panel."

The reinvite followed almost immediately B&C's report Wednesday of the disinvite, which  came in the wake of DOE complaints about a Postcards from Buster episode featuring a lesbian family.

New DOE Secretary Margaret Spellings had asked PBS either to not air the show or to pull the DOE logo from it and refund the money it had spent to produce it.--Buster is majority funded through DOE's Ready-to-Learn grant to PBS.

PBS decided not to distribute the episode to member stations, though said it was not in response to Spelling but to its own concerns about the lesbian couple, and is having another episode produced to take its place.
WGBH, which was disappointed with the PBS decision, aired the original this week, as did some 30 other stations, arguing that it was just as Ready-to-Learn friendly as the other 39 episodes of the series it produced.
DOE plans to be more involved in Ready-to-Learn under a new grant proposal to be issued in the next few days. PBS' Ready-to-Learn grant expires in August.

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