MPT says it's not angry with Rukeyser

May 30, 1992|By David Zurawik | David Zurawik,Television Critic

Maryland Public Television is denying a published report that it is angry at "Wall Street Week" host Louis Rukeyser because MPT is not sharing in profits from a financial newsletter Rukeyser recently launched.

"It's exaggerated," Raymond K. K. Ho, president and CEO of MPT, said of the report published in yesterday's Washington Post. "We are not angry."

Ho said that he did have a "concern" about the newsletter, "Louis Rukeyser's Wall Street," when he first heard about it.

"My concern was that the newsletter had a name so close to that of the TV series," he said. "That's why we asked for a disclaimer at the end." The disclaimer says the newsletter is not part of the TV show.

But he added, "Our position all along has been that what Louis Rukeyser does is his business as long as it does not interfere with the show. The key thing to recognize is that he has many other activities -- giving speeches, writing a newspaper column, writing a column for the [MPT] program guide. And all of it creates good synergy for the TV series. . . . In that sense, [the newsletter] promotes the TV series.

"It would have been nice if we could have created a partnership to publish the newsletter. But it didn't work out that way."

The Post story, citing an unnamed public broadcasting source, said the newsletter is "infuriating officials" of MPT "because they are not sharing in the profits."

Rukeyser -- who hosts "Wall Street Week," a weekly show produced by MPT in Owings Mills for PBS stations around the country -- yesterday called the report in the Post "a lot of baloney."

Rukeyser is not an employee of MPT, but rather an independent talent under contract only for the show. MPT declined to discuss specifics of the contract, but the show is one of the most successful on PBS and is estimated to earn MPT about $1 million a year.

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