David Thiel in front of the Late Show marquee.
David Thiel
May 21, 2015

So Long to a Late Night World of Love

By the time this article is posted, David Letterman’s final Late Show broadcast will have already occurred, but as I write this, it’s still a couple of days off. There have been approximately one godzillion tributes to Letterman in the weeks leading up to his retirement, but I couldn't let the event pass without offering a few words of my own.


Portrait of Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
Credit: Courtesy of Peter Simon
May 07, 2015

Burying Your Roots

It's something that I hate to see: a major PBS personality in the headlines for what seems to have been a breach of the trust that viewers and stations alike place upon such figures of authority. Was the omission of actor Ben Affleck's slave-holding ancestor from an episode of Finding Your Roots an editorial judgement or an ethical failure? We shouldn't have to wonder.


Elmo, Rosita, Big Bird, Abby Cadabby and Cookie Monster.
Courtesy of © 2015 Sesame Workshop. All rights reserved.
April 16, 2015

I May Be Overthinking Things

Elmo, Cookie Monster and Abby Cadabby are getting new digs in the upcoming season of Sesame Street. Now I can cross "Where does Cookie Monster live?" off my List of Things I Worry Too Much About.


The Dowager Countess sits at a table on the lawn of Downton Abbey.
Credit: Courtesy of MASTERPIECE
April 02, 2015

The Legacy of Downton Abbey

Next year, the doors of Downton Abbey will close for good. But we've all been left an inheritance!


BBC One Sunday night program listings.
© BBC
March 19, 2015

Sundays Will Be Timey-Wimey

The good news is that PBS has heard your concerns about editing British dramas to fit neatly into an hour. That's also the bad news.


The cast of The Good Neighbors poses for the camera.
© BBC
March 05, 2015

The History of Britcoms on WILL-TV (Part Two)

Earlier this month, I set the WABAC Machine to the mid '70s and the introduction of British TV comedy to WILL-TV. In this installment, we'll trade Mr. Peabody's trusty time machine for a DeLorean as we go back to the '80s!


John Cleese behind a hotel desk, with a stuffed moose head nearby.
© BBC
February 19, 2015

The History of Britcoms on WILL-TV (Part One)

As we approach our 16th annual Great Britcom Vote event on Saturday, March 7, I’m digging into our archives to suss out the early history of British comedy on WILL-TV. Which such series was the first to air in Central Illinois?


Foyle flanked by two gas-masked soldiers, pointing rifles at him.
Credit: Courtesy of Bernard Walsh/Eleventh Hour/ITV for MASTERPIECE
February 05, 2015

This Acorn Falls a Little Bit Further from the Tree

It seems as if everyone wants to be a TV network these days. In the past two years, popular web-based content distributors such as Netflix, Amazon and Yahoo have become content producers as well, with original TV series such as House of Cards and Transparent. Then there’s Acorn Media, a DVD distributor that has become both an entertainment portal and now a production company. Whether or not this acorn grows into an towering oak, it’s already having an impact on what you see on WILL-TV.


Adam Winfield is seen with his parents during a meeting with the family's defense attorney at Ft Lewis.
Courtesy of Dan Krauss
January 23, 2015

Public TV Challenged by Indie Filmmakers

An impassioned conversation has been taking place between filmmakers and public television officials over the treatment of independent films in the national PBS schedule. In my view, it’s one that speaks to the soul of our shared enterprise as broadcasters operating in the public interest.


Alan J.W. Bell and Ken Kitson pose with WILL staffers David Thiel and Danda Beard.
Photo: David Thiel
October 17, 2014

Another Glass of Summer Wine?

Producer Alan J.W. Bell hopes that you haven't seen the last of the British comedy classic.


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WILL Highlights

The Greatest Honor

9 pm Friday, May 22, on WILL-TV: The story of a son’s last chance to understand the WWII combat experience of his father.