Filmmakers Protest Smithsonian TV Deal

Last month the network Showtime and the Smithsonian “announced the creation of Smithsonian Networks, a joint venture for original television programming on scientific, cultural and historical subjects whose first service would be an on-demand cable channel beginning this December. As part of the deal, Smithsonian Networks was to get the right of first refusal on commercial documentaries that relied significantly on the museum’s archives, curators or scientists.” Now, “more than 215 filmmakers, television executives and academics have signed a letter demanding that the Smithsonian, a publicly financed museum, not only reveal financial details of the joint venture but also abandon it.”