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As PBS decision looms, KCET switches to Sunday movies in programming shake-up

September 27, 2010 |  4:02 pm

KCET, the Los Angeles-based member station that has been mulling a plan to leave the PBS network and go independent, is rejiggering its fall programming.

Starting Sunday, the station will unfurl "KCET Presents," a Sunday movie series hosted by KTLA entertainment reporter Sam Rubin. (KTLA is, like the Los Angeles Times, owned by Tribune Co.) The first film in the series will be "Annie Hall," followed by classics such as "Ninotchka" and "Easter Parade" as well as more recent features such as "Batman" and "Rain Man."

As a result, "Masterpiece" -- the drama anthology series that has been a staple of PBS lineups for nearly 40 years -- will move to Thursdays, paired with "Doc Martin," a long-running British comedy-drama about a country doctor. "Doc Martin" will premiere Oct. 21.

“With 'KCET Presents' we found an opportunity to bring back a long-standing television tradition of offering great movies on Sunday nights,” Bohdan Zachary, KCET's vice president of broadcast and syndication, said in a statement. “We are moving 'Masterpiece' to Thursdays because KCET had a long, successful history there with Mystery!, now part of the 'Masterpiece' franchise, and [we] feel that it will work well with 'Doc Martin' as a scripted drama programming block.”

Meanwhile, KCET will move its local-affairs newsmagazine, "SoCal Connected," to Wednesdays starting Oct. 20, where the following week it will be joined by the BBC espionage series "MI-5."

-- Scott Collins (Twitter: @scottcollinsLAT)

Photo: Sam Rubin, host of the new "KCET Presents"; credit: KCET