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PBS Won't Air Mister-less Buster

PBS has decided not to distribute a scheduled Feb. 2 airing -- and March 23 reairing -- of a now-controversial episode of new kids' show Postcards from Buster.

But show producer WGBH says it will air the program March 23 and make it available to other stations.

The episode in question, which mixes animation and live action, features animated rabbit Buster's visit to  Vermont for some maple syrup collecting and a visit with a family where both parents are women. That second part of the plotline generated some complaints, including a letter Tuesday night from Department of Education Secretary Margaret Spellings.

So, was it administration pressure that prompted the decision? A PBS spokeswoman says no. Although Spellings'concerns about whether this was the right venue to introduce this sensitive topic "dovetailed" with those of PBS, she said, the decision was made, and stations informed, before PBS President Pat Mitchell received the Spellings letter Tuesday night.

John Wilson, SVP, programming, for PBS told B&C that "what was meant to be a background element was obscuring the heart of the show and what it was supposed to be about, which was maple sap collecting. That was going to continue to be the case and we thought it better to pull the show."