AT Inbox: Antiques Roadshow responds to ‘scripted’ jab

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Dear Editor:

While Ed Rogan certainly is entitled to his personal opinions about Antiques Roadshow and the event he attended in Madison in 2009 (Click here to read Mr. Rogan’s Antiques Roadshow commentary), his letter contains several errors of fact we would like to correct:

* Whoever told Mr. Rogan that all “slots for filming” were filled by the time he arrived was misinformed. Roadshow continues to record appraisals until every single guest has gotten his/her appraisal. The odds are just as good at the end of the day as at the beginning that an extraordinary treasure will come through the door.

* We’re sorry Mr. Rogan was disappointed he didn’t see our host, Mark L. Walberg, or Leigh and Leslie Keno. But neither Mark nor the appraisers are “long gone” by 1 p.m. Mark and a camera crew work all day during our events. If he isn’t at the appraisal event, Mark and the crew are out shooting a field story elsewhere in town. As for spotting particular appraisers, at 1:00 PM many of them are taking a lunch break. And some appraisers don’t attend every Roadshow event. But each and every appraiser is expected to remain at an event until the last guest has received his/her appraisal.

* We are so grateful to the approximately 100 unpaid volunteers who help us in every city we visit, that it pains us to hear Mr. Rogan’s sarcastic criticism of those “guarding sacred ground on the AR set.” Actually, those volunteers are simply redirecting guests so they don’t walk in front of the cameras when we’re recording appraisals.

* The Antiques Roadshow producers who select guests to be recorded for television are adept at weeding out individuals who already know the history and value of their objects. The point of the show is to have our guests—and our audience—leave more informed than when they arrived. Our unpaid, volunteer appraisers have a limited amount of time to evaluate objects, but they all have access to Internet reference sources, a traveling library of books, and the opinions of their colleagues, to confirm their professional judgment.

It’s unfortunate that Mr. Rogan’s skepticism spoils his enjoyment of Antiques Roadshow, and we hope he’ll reconsider watching. We can assure him that none of our guests (including the extraordinarily poised little girl whose cradle was appraised by Leslie Keno) is coached or given lines to speak before their appraisals are recorded.

Thank you to Mr. Rogan and Antique Trader and everyone else who takes the time to give us feedback on the Antiques Roadshow TV series. As we prepare to launch our 15th season on PBS in January, we hope the public finds the thrill of discovering America’s hidden treasures at least as entertaining as “good old American greed.”

Judy Matthews
Senior Publicist
Antiques Roadshow


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