America's Favorite Book Show To Leave Television? Publishing Industry, Stand Up And Save It!

Yes, the lauded national program about books, Barry Kibricks' Between the Lines which airs on 160 PBS stations, is now on the endangered list. Without new funding, this must-viewing show for book readers is down to its final three episodes.

What do Ray Bradbury, Elmore Leonard. Anne Rice, James Ellroy, Kirk Douglas, Ron Howard, Queen Noor of Jordan, Walter Moseley, Sidney Sheldon, Coach John Wooden, Robert Reich, Mario Puzo, Ralph Nader, Mitch Albom, Joseph Wambaugh, Sir Ridley Scott, Dean Koontz, Arianna Huffington and Erin Brockovitch have in common? They are among the scores of noted authors who have guested in discussion and celebration of their works on one of the Public Broadcasting System's rare nationally broadcast series promoting reading, host/producer Barry Kibrick's Between The Lines.

The three-time Emmy winning show, a staple on PBS nationally for two decades, will halt production following its final three broadcasts unless and until corporate and audience funding materializes. It is a first time fund-seeking for the iconic show. Between The Lines airs in a remarkable 160 markets including 48 of the top 50, providing 92% national coverage. The show to date has been funded by a non-profit now facing its own financial cuts. A prior crisis was averted with the funding input of super-selling author Sidney Sheldon, an early guest on and fan of the lauded and loved program.

(A list of broadcasting stations where the show can be viewed and a partial list of interviewed authors is available at:

www.gobetweenthelines.com)

I take this very personally as a longtime viewer and fan of the show and its on-line saved-forever iterations, even more personally because Barry did me the great honor of focusing his show for this weekend (Saturday, August 27) on Starflacker: Inside The Golden Age of Hollywood, my memoir of sixty years among the legends That seat opposite Barry Kibrick certainly adds to one's rating on the company-you-keep scale. Just ask the scores of great authors and memoir-writing entertainment superstars who sat in that seat. His probing for (and finding) philosophical content and value in the wit and antics of Hollywood's greatest stars elevates and validates his love of the books he chooses to address. The American reading public has long trusted his tastes and perceptions.

The joy of joining this elite company was stirred with sadness when he advised me that the show on Starflacker would be one of the last three shows of PBS' long-running and much honored series.

It's urgent that the publishing and book marketing world gathers to keep this program going, to find it a stream of new funding. An investment in Barry's show would seem to me a superb and prestigious sponsorship, and I'm a professionally-engaged judge of such things. The library value of 20 years of rich philosophical conversations with a varied selection of the leading authors of our time is a gigantic asset which can be monetized in many ways in addition to its continued broadcast on the great majority of PBS stations which currently carry it so eagerly and proudly. It can also be a money stream in its social media extensions. With thoughtful media promotion of American literary offerings now being so meager in this exploitative time, one might expect Barnes and Nobel. Amazon and top publishing houses to rush to keep this vital promotional and intellectual organ going.