Spotlight on PBS Interns: Kelly Cook

Editor's Note: As summer nears its end, we 'd like to share a few stories about some of the talented young people who spent their summer with us here at the PBS national office. Earlier this summer, The SPI Team matched a pair of interns to have a conversation about their experience at PBS. The intention? To reveal a candid perspective of their time working in the building, what they learned and how they plan to move on in the future.

Kelly Cook is the General Audience Programming Intern this summer. Born and raised in Arlington, Virginia, she is now a rising senior at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, where she is studying dramatic writing as well as French in the College of Arts and Science.

As the GA Programming intern, Kelly reads through many submissions for shows that might air on PBS. She is responsible for logging submissions as well as reviewing them, writing notes on why they may or may not be the right fit for a PBS program. She also reads and provides feedback for scripts for new programs that PBS is considering greenlighting as well as for programs already airing on PBS. Similarly, Kelly will screen programs and give notes on these as well. In addition to these responsibilities, Kelly sits in on some department meetings and helps others on her floor with various projects.

On whole, Kelly’s work experience is what she expected it to be, as she feels she was given a good description of the job from her interviewer. One of the biggest surprises Kelly has about working at PBS is how nice and helpful everyone is. At school, Kelly is taught that TV is a cutthroat industry, and that you have to work hard. “I work hard here, too, but no one is menacingly cutthroat,” Kelly says of PBS, commenting that from the get-go, her internship here has been tailored towards her interests in writing.

Due to her experiences at school giving feedback on her classmates’ scripts, Kelly felt very prepared in giving feedback on shows for her coworkers to read. However, she finds that one of the biggest challenges in her work is knowing which shows to say no to. “Going through over thirty programs in one day…after a while you get soft and need to know when to buckle down and say no, and ask, ‘Is this a program for PBS?’” Kelly went on to say that to overcome this, she watched a lot of programs that PBS already airs, including shows she had not watched already, to get a better feel for the PBS brand.

Chloe Snyder | PBS Kids Programming Intern

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