It sounds as if Thursday night's episode of SoCal Connected on KCET might be more than the final new show of the season. I've been hearing more than the usual pessimism out of the show as the season wound down and staffers prepared for the annual employment hiatus that begins Friday — one of the journalists said flatly early today they were told the multi-award winning news magazine would not return. Now co-host Madeleine Brand seems to confirm the news in a post on Facebook tonight:
sad that today was the last taping day of SoCal Connected. At its best, the show produced investigative stories that no one else did. A loss for good journalism in L.A.
As her friends posted surprise and consternation, Brand added that the issue was "no more money." Judy Muller, the veteran TV news correspondent and USC Annenberg professor who has done stories for the show, added a comment: "makes me so sad... a real LOSS for TV journalism in LA."
That's for sure. A half-hour local news magazine, four nights a week, specializing in hard investigations — there's nothing else like it on Los Angeles television. I lost track of how many awards "SoCal Connected" has won in its current form under executive editor Bret Marcus — but it's a bunch. KCET is reeling financially, according to sources at the station, although the ratings have been climbing back up (and getting younger) since the management made the strategic decision to break away from PBS. Feelers out to Marcus and others for confirmation.
Here's the latest full episode on video. And my story from October behind the scenes at KCET.
LA Observed photo of Marcus in the control room at KCET in Burbank