American Public Television (APT) is the largest syndicator of programming for public television stations in the United States. APT continues to distribute a wide variety of public television programs nationally, as well as the Create and World public TV multicast channels.
Eastern Educational Television Network
APT began in 1961when it was incorporated as the Eastern Educational Television Network (EEN). At first, EEN was a regional cooperative that began to exchange programs between a couple of its member stations. EEN was one of the first distributors of shows such as The French Chef (with Julia Child) in 1963, Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, and Washington Week in Review on a national basis.
American Public Television
APT distributes more than 300 new program titles per year, including documentaries, talk shows, music performance content, dramatic and comedic series, how-to programs, children’s series and classic movies. Shows currently or previously distributed by APT include, but are not limited to, The Open Mind, Rick Steves’ Europe, Live From the Artists Den, Jacques Pepin: Heart & Soul, America’s Test Kitchen From Cook’s Illustrated and its sister series Cook’s Country, Yan Can Cook, Barbecue University with Steven Raichlen, The Big Comfy Couch, Net Cafe, Pati’s Mexican Table, Samantha Brown’s Places to Love, Globe Trekker (aka Pilot Guides in other countries), Doc Martin, Rudy Maxa’s World, Sara’s Weeknight Meals and Scully: The World Show. APT distributes weeknight international news series Asia Insight and Newsline from NHK, as well as the business news program Nightly Business Report.
- APT Exchange (originally the Free Library) was a service in which the company acts a clearing house for pre-funded programs that are offered free of charge to stations started in 1978. Rick Steves’ Europe (starting in 1990), Nightly Business Report and America’s Test Kitchen are offered through this service.
- APT Worldwide is the corporation’s international sales division even representing some A&E and Discovery programs. Amongst its network clients are Discovery, National Geographic Channel, NHK, ITV and Italy’s RAI-SAT
- Premium Service provides programming for stations via outsourcing or acquisition prime time pledge drive programs particularly performance or self-help shows, which would either trigger a pledge call or a DVD purchased for the viewer’s use or as a gift. One of its earliest successful show was the first Three Tenors.
- Syndication is a service in which completed programs are acquired. Muhammad Ali: Through the Eyes of the World, purchased in 2002, was a top hit through this service along with the BBC’s Battlefield Britain series.
APT also owns two digital subchannel networks together with WGBH, WNET.ORG, and NETA.