Good News: PBS Chief Paula Kerger told reporters that PBS will air a performance of "King Lear" that includes a full frontal nude scene in it.
Bad News: Its a nude scene with Ian McKellen.
At the Summer US Press Tour, Kerger answered a question from a snarky critic (not me) about airing the production of King Lear unedited. The stage play contains a scene in which McKellen, portraying the king as he slowly goes insane - tearing his royal clothes off. The reporter then askes how Kerger feels about showing nudity on television.
Lisa de Moraes from the Washington Post scribed Kerger's comments:
"The film is just being shot, and I haven't actually seen the final version yet," Kerger says in response to the critic's question. "We're actually going to bring it to press tour in January, so you'll have a chance to see it then."
At this point, the reporter quips that his readers cant wait till January to find out the answer.
Honestly, bub. No one is holding their breath wondering whether or not Sir Ian is going to unsheathe his royal scepter on public TV.
And this is PBS we are talking about here. They run on the thinnest of shoestring budgets, being given a pittance of funding from the federal government that every year gets slashed a little more (Bush cut the funding for PBS in half this past January). Do you really think that a network this desperate for funding would bite the hand that feeds it? My guess is that the scene will either be carefully edited with well placed camera framing, or they will resort to the ubiquitous dark shadowy patch for any offending parts.
I applaud PBS taking the hard stance against censorship, but at the same time, I think they know what can be done tastefully to preserve artistic integrity.
We'll keep a watch on this story as it develops. (boy that sounds bad considering what we're talking about here.)
As always, stay tuned.