Late yesterday, members of the crew that produces Real Orange, the only television show in Southern California exclusively devoted to OC, were called into a meeting with their bosses to learn the stunning news: after 16 or so years, from when the station was KOCE to today, their show and work would be canceled at the end of the year.
Goodbye, broadcasting legend Ed Arnold, Vaya con Diós, co-host Ann Pulice. Sayonara, longtime news director Mike Taylor. And just a week before Thanksgiving–CLASSY (note to Jeebus: don't let such timing happen here anymore–pretty please?)
I've been appearing on Real Orange infrequently for over a decade now–it's always been Rick Reiff who was a bigger fan of mine. But Pulice and Arnold were always extremely kind to me in the makeup room, always enjoyed it when I was on their show, and Taylor in particular was always a fan of mine and the Weekly. I contacted Taylor to get his reaction; he forwarded my message to Stacy Shaffer, marketing manager for PBS SoCaL, who launched into robot PR mode with the following:
I understand that you are interested in knowing why PBS SoCaL is dropping Real Orange.
Since becoming the flagship PBS station for our area, PBS SoCaL has been expanding its mission to serve the entire Southern California region. As a result, PBS SoCaL management made the strategic decision to restructure our local programming to move the station forward in fulfilling our role of serving the entire Southern California community. Due to this realignment, PBS SoCaL will no longer produce new episodes of “Real Orange” after the end of the calendar year. We will continue the mission of providing the most trusted news to Southern California by focusing our efforts to support our weekly news and public affairs series, “SoCal Insider” and our weekly arts show, “LAaRT.” We will also continue our efforts for our other high quality local content, such as specials, documentaries, training workshops, and community screenings.
Given this change, the two host positions, one production role, and two part-time positions will be eliminated. Other production staff involved with the program will have their duties reassigned to other efforts within the organization or have their schedules revised. Severance packages will be provided to those affected. Programming plans for the Monday-Friday at 5 p.m. slot will be announced in the coming weeks.
“Real Orange” has been an asset to our schedule and our community for many years thanks to the talent of the series' dedicated hosts and crew. We greatly appreciate Ed Arnold and Ann Pulice, and hope to work with them on future projects. While we understand this will be a challenging transition for our colleagues, we believe this is the right decision to help move PBS SoCaL forward and strengthen the value of the programming we provide to the citizens of Southern California.
In other words: adiós, sayonara, goodbye, don't let the door hit you on the way out. And thanks for nothing–happy holidays!