Three of its top executives have purportedly resigned in unison this past Friday. Neal Kendall (executive producer), Luke Sader (talent producer) and Stephanie Storey (producer).
Some sources have suggested to EURweb that the resignations came after years of acrimony between the staff and the host over differing visions of program direction and quality of show bookings. Speculation has abounded for years as to Smiley’s supposed demanding management style and whether it played a factor in the employees decision to leave; or whether the departures were amicable in nature.
The production team was most recently responsible for Smiley’s “Visions for a New America” which aired live on C-Span January 17 from George Washington University. It is not known whether the rather tepid media coverage prior to the broadcast or subsequent ratings impacted the departures.
The alleged resignations ironically come during this, the tenth anniversary of the television program.
When reaching out to Smiley spokesperson Leshelle Sargent, she offered the following response:
“Monday afternoon the entire ‘Tavis Smiley’ on PBS television staff joined Tavis in a gathering on his sound stage to celebrate and thank three producers who have been with him since day one in 2004.
We categorically deny any rumor suggesting that there is any “acrimony” amongst his TV show family. Quite the contrary, as the show is just starting its 10th anniversary season. Moreover, none of the three producers celebrated today have suggested otherwise.
We will have no further comment on this scurrilous gossip.”
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