Los Angeles' KCET-TV sees ratings drop of 50% after it boots PBS to the curb

KCET was the Los Angeles TV-affiliate for PBS up until January 1, 2011.

That's about the same time the station's ratings went flying out the door.

For its first week as an independent, KCET has seen a 50% decline compared to the same period last year.

KCET broke its ties with PBS after months of disputes over dues and (ironically) rating erosion seen by PBS programming.

KCET says it is now the largest public television station in the United States, independent of PBS. 

They say the decision to separate themselves from PBS is "an act of financial prudence, courage and confidence in our community."

The station has replaced PBS shows such as "Nova" and "Antiques Roadshow" with repeats of British series such as "Prime Suspect," as well as documentaries and news programs imported from Japan, Canada and elsewhere.

All of this is significant given the size of the Los Angeles market, and should be a key conversation point in any PBS negotiations in other cities.

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