Antique Roadshow News

Fellow appraiser Soodie Beasley sent me a couple of interesting links about the Antiques Roadshow.  Some of the issues being reported are concerns which a few on air appraisers have with promotional rules and restrictions set by the popular PBS Antiques Roadshow television program agreement.

It seems the agreement for on air appraisers can be very restrictive when dealing with the media beyond the show.  Of course the agreement was developed in order to protect the brand of the popular show.  The problem is the appraisers are not compensated or reimbursed for expenses, they only receive the benefit of occassionally being on the show and being associated with it. According to some reports the agreement does not allow the on air appraisers to appear on other media without first getting approval from the Roadshow, even if the Roadshow is not mentioned.

The American University School of Communications had a good online article in Current.org about the situation.

AU's Current.org reports
That contract, Sohmers told Current, “has evolved to be more illogically restrictive over the past several years.” It requires appraisers to inform series Executive Producer Marsha Bemko before they appear in other media, get her written permission to appraise on other shows, limit their public remarks to their areas of expertise, and never present themselves as Roadshow appraisers or let others present themselves as such.

The agreement also states that experts need prior permission to use the Roadshow’s logo or name in any materials and must promise not to use Roadshow videos or photographs “in any manner.”

Other appraisers on the show see no problem with the restrictions, given the invaluable publicity they get from the broadcasts. “For those hours you’re on that show, you do not work for yourself or your business,” said Kathleen Bailey of Issaquah, Wash., who’s been on since the first season. “You are there to support PBS and follow the rules. The rules are going to be different from your own business. The tradeoff is advertising. The rules aren’t that hard to follow.”

“Gary Sohmers wrote to us expressing his concerns about a number of matters,” Roadshow spokesperson Judy Matthews said in a statement to Current. “We have been in touch with him to fully understand his concerns, and out of respect, will not share further comment while our communication with him is still in process.”

No pay, much exposure

The nature of the relationship between appraisers and Roadshow predates even the 1996 debut of PBS’s American version of the show. Dan Farrell had been a fan of Britain’s original in the 1970s; he bought U.S. rights in 1981 and was instrumental in getting it on PBS. Farrell remains a consulting producer — “the appraiser wrangler,” as he says, scheduling and interacting with experts on all sorts of old stuff.

As WGBH was initially developing its version, Farrell told Current, “we knew right from the very get-go” that paying battalions of appraisers would be too expensive. So the producers treated appraisers as experts in their fields, “like an expert appearing on a news show,” Farrell said. “They don’t have to join a union and be paid a minimum” to appear, as the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) typically requires for broadcast talent.
Source: Current.org, click HERE to read the full online post.

1 comment:

John Buxton said...

I am again amazed that this article would be published without even seeking comment from the Roadshow appraisers that are in ISA. Giving Gary Sohmers airtime is a bit like having an open bar at an AA meeting. But you would have known that if you would have taken the time to ask. JB