‘Tavis Smiley’ Graduates to Its Sophomore Season

“Tavis Smiley,” PBS’ national late night talk show produced by KCET/Hollywood, will launch a second season on public television beginning on January 7, 2005 when, in addition to its weeknight airings, PBS will also add the show its Friday night block of public affairs programs, as announced today by Mare Mazur, KCET executive vice president of programming and production.

“It’s the best Christmas present,” said Smiley, who is also the show’s supervising producer. “I am so very excited about our second season. We’ve been bringing a greater diversity of viewers to PBS and we’re also attracting
a great lineup of guests. We will continue to build on that. I’ll also be able to devote more time to the production so that we can take the show on the road as we did during the Democratic and Republican conventions.”

“Tavis’ show has far exceeded our expectations,” said Mazur. “We are thrilled about the show’s guests and quality, as well as the new, young audience that is finding PBS to be a terrific alternative to other late night fare.”

In a field littered with late night talk show attempts, Tavis Smiley’s viewing audience has grown 32% in the Neilsen Metered Markets from its January 5, 2004 debut through October, 2004. Additionally, compared to all PBS prime time and late night regular series, “Tavis Smiley” has the highest percentage of African American viewers.

The show has attracted an impressive roster of guests from the worlds of politics, arts, literature, entertainment and news. Some of these have included former President Bill Clinton, Prince, Mark Wahlberg, Maya Angelou, Sen. John McCain, Aretha Franklin, Gore Vidal, Glenn Close, Ice-T, Tom Cruise, Essie Mae Washington Williams (illegitimate daughter of the late Senator Strom Thurmond), Carrie Fisher and her mother Debbie Reynolds, Senator Barack Obama, Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman.

Produced by KCET, “Tavis Smiley” is PBS’ only West Coast based talk show. Neal Kendall is executive producer.

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