GPB rethinks shifting ‘Lawmakers’ to twice-a-week schedule

Days after announcing a dramatic shift in its 42-year coverage of the state Legislature, Georgia Public Broadcasting officials this morning said they’re backing away from a decision to make “Prime Time Lawmakers” a twice-a-week program.

Nancy Zintak, spokeswoman for GPB, said the change has been delayed for at least a year, to allow time to move viewers to other platforms intended to fill the void.

After a first rehearsal on Tuesday, Zintak said, executives decided that the state public affairs network was moving too quickly. “We realized that, if we do this cold, we may not get the viewership we currently have,” she said.

Last year, the program averaged an estimated viewership of 11,500 Atlanta households, or 17,500 statewide.

GPB is funded through the state budget. Zintak said there was “absolutely” no pushback from the state Capitol on the change. “Prime Time Lawmakers” is geared to coverage of the annual 40-day session of the Legislature. This year’s session begins Monday.

“We hadn’t talked to the legislators yet,” she said.

Background from Tuesday’s post:

One of Georgia’s longest-running public affairs programs will shift to a twice-a-week format for its 42nd season.

GPB executives say the decision has more to do with viewership than budget cuts. The problem is that “Prime Time Lawmakers” (originally called “The Lawmakers”) has aired only on days when state lawmakers meet. But the 40 days allotted to each session are spread out over four months.

“We’re trying to make it easier for the viewer to know when to expect it. If you don’t have a legislative calendar in front of you, in the past it was really hard to figure out when the show was airing,” said Robert Brienza, vice president for news and sports at GPB.

“One week it may be on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, the next week it may not be on at all. The third week, it may be on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday,” he said.

For the first week of the Legislature, “The Lawmakers” will broadcast the full week in its traditional 7 p.m. slot, Monday through Friday. But beyond that, the program will broadcast at 7 p.m. each Thursday and Friday.

Zintak said GPB will likely attempt the twice-a-week effort next year, after it has built up its Internet-related platform.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

For instant updates, follow me on Twitter, or connect with me on Facebook.

7 comments Add your comment

Aesop's Fables and other Lib Economic Theories

January 9th, 2013
11:22 am

Sid the Science Kid
Sid learns how to recycle and reuse things.
The natural splendor of Cuba, including its wetlands.
Humble Beauty: Skid Row Artists
A look at homeless people in Los Angeles who create art.
Second Opinion
Treatment for older cancer patients is discussed.

I can see your concern with this issue. Imagine turning on your TV looking for the latest legislative session of the decent, upstanding and moral Republican party and instead getting a face full of X Rated Eco Porn? What if there are kids in the room?


Taxby Rebliss

January 9th, 2013
11:31 am

Switch ‘em to once a year. You’d get about the same amount done.


January 9th, 2013
1:06 pm

Will the last Democrat in Georgia please turn off the lights?.....

January 9th, 2013
1:34 pm

Instead of a once or twice-a-week informational procedural about all that our highly esteemed Georgia Legislators have accomplished at the end of a “work” week (which is often absolutely nothing of value), why don’t they just turn the program into a show that covers the Georgia Legislature through a much more realistic lens?

How about broadcasting “Prime Time Lawmakers” as a reality TV show about a bunch of narcissistic sociopathic morons who just happen to have (unfortunately) fallen a** backwards into a government job where they have in some way taken charge of a legislative body government?


January 9th, 2013
1:48 pm

Let the voters know about upcoming legislation, have pro and con statements, maybe call in from voters on how they feel about legislation. Then tell voters to contact their senator/representative, governor and if they do not listen to you, get together and find someone to run against them. Register as many people as you can, run for offices at local, state and federal levels. The pay and benefits are good. Vote in every election, local and state governments run the show.

Outer Perimeter

January 9th, 2013
3:13 pm

@Last Democrat In Georgia

Good to see you posting again!

Silent Jay

January 10th, 2013
1:24 pm

Chip should host it. Maybe earn some of that salary he gets at GPB.