Noncommercial WGBH-TV Boston has decided to go ahead and air its suddenly controversial episode of Postcards from Buster Wednesday, Feb. 2, as originally planned.
It agreed to postpone the airing to March 23 after PBS, which distributes the educational kids series, requested the move. PBS said it wanted to give stations more time to decide whether and how to air the episode, which features a lesbian couple.
Buster is an animated bunny who carries a video camera on visits to different families, with the live action and animated footage intercut.
PBS then decided not to distribute the show at all, expressing concern over the subject matter, a concern that was shared by new Department of Education Secretary Margaret Spellings in a letter to PBS President Pat Mitchell (the show is produced primarily with grant money from DOE in partnership with PBS). WGBH-TV, which produces the series, then decided to air it anyway March 23, then this week decided to air it in its original Feb. 2, 5:30, time slot.
According to station spokeswoman Jeanne Hopkins, VP, communications, for WGBH-TV, a couple of dozen stations will also air the show, a handful Feb. 2, some March 23, and others sometime in between. Some are even giving it a prime time airing, with an accompanying discussion of the issues raised.
WGBH would just as soon have avoided the controversy, since the basic plotline is about colleccting maple syrup, and the lesbian copule led family unit is just one of many different types Buster visits, including fundamentalist Christians, Muslims and Mormons.
It argues the show is just as true to its mission of showing diverse, real, families, as any of the other episodes it has aired.