tv PBS News Hour PBS December 17, 2013 3:00pm-4:01pm PST
macneil/lehrer productions >> ifill: the senate cleared the way for a final vote on the bipartisan budget deal. good evening. i'm gwen ifill. >> woodruff: and i'm judy woodruff. also ahead this tuesday, russia offered billions in aid to bolster the president of ukraine while protesters in kiev continue to call for him to resign and for closer ties to europe. >> ifill: plus, a peek inside p.b.s' "masterpiece," the long- running series introducing american audiences to british dramas like "downton abbey." >> there is a certain goodness of intent to all these characters, and i think that's been missing in television, british and american. >> ifill: those are just some of
>> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> woodruff: an agreement on how much and what the federal government should spend money on took a giant step toward final approval in congress today. the senate voted to limit debate on the measure that's already passed the house of representatives. >> on this vote, the yeas are 67, and the nays are 33. >> woodruff: with that critical procedural hurdle cleared, the only question left for the budget deal is when-- not if-- it will pass. a dozen republicans joined all 55 members of the democratic caucus democrats to move forward with the bill. the chair of the senate budget committee, democrat patty murray, helped craft the measure. >> mr. president, this deal is a compromise.
it doesn't tackle every one of the challenges we face as a nation, but that was never our goal. this bipartisan bill takes the first steps towards rebuilding our broken budget process and hopefully towards rebuilding our broken congress. >> woodruff: georgia republican saxby chambliss agreed with that assessment. >> the legislation we have before us today is the embodiment of compromise, something that has unfortunately been absent in washington as of late. >> woodruff: the agreement would roll back $63 billion in automatic, across-the-board spending cuts, the so-called sequester. they would be replaced by $85 billion in targeted cuts and increased revenues over the next decade. that total includes $6 billion in reduced cost-of-living adjustments for younger military retirees. several republicans voiced
opposition to that provision, among them mississippi's roger wicker. >> we can find $6 billion elsewhere without breaking a promise to people who, during a time of the global war on terror, have stood forward, donned the uniform of the united states of america and volunteered time and time again >> woodruff: final passage on the budget measure is expected no later than wednesday. in afghanistan, six american soldiers died in a helicopter crash today. it was the worst single incident to hit nato forces there in months. the troops were aboard a black hawk that went down in the southern province of zabul. there was only one survivor. the cause is under investigation by nato. there was no enemy fighting reported nearby. the u.s. is moving to beef up security forces in the philippines amid growing tensions with china. secretary of state john kerry pledged more than $40 million in aid today.
he met with his philippine counterpart and maintained the aid is not directly aimed at countering china. but he again criticized beijing for imposing an air defense zone over disputed waters. >> the united states does not recognize that goal and does not accept that. the zone issued not be implemented and china should refrain from taking similar unilateral actions elsewhere in the region and particularly over the south china sea. >> woodruff: just yesterday, kerry announced $32 million in security aid for vietnam. meanwhile, japan has its own plan to answer china's military expansion. the ruling cabinet in tokyo voted today to increase defense spending by 5% over the next five years. the money will pay for new surveillance drones, jet fighters and naval destroyers. north korea's political and military elite made a show of
loyalty to leader kim jong un today on the second anniversary of his father's death. state television showed kim front and center at a memorial event for kim jong il as top officials pledged support. the pageantry came days after the leader's powerful uncle was executed as a traitor. federal prosecutors have their first guilty plea in a bribery and fraud scandal. a navy criminal investigator appeared in federal court in san diego this afternoon. prosecutors say he relayed ship movements to an asian defense contractor in exchange for luxury trips and prostitution services. six navy officials have been implicated in the scandal. the washington, d.c., city council voted today to raise the local minimum wage to $11.50 an hour, one of the highest in the nation. it takes effect in 2016. and on wall street, the dow jones industrial average lost nine points to close at 15,875. the nasdaq fell five points to
close at 4,023. still to come on the newshour: tech titans visit the white house; a drug maker stops paying doctors for promotions; a ukraine in turmoil turns to russia for aid; el salvador's tough stance on abortion; making "downton abbey" and other masterpieces; new york's experiment with micro- apartments. >> ifill: we turn to the latest developments over the reach of the government's surveillance program. tech executives from 15 leading companies-- including google, facebook, twitter and apple-- met with the president at the white house today. the companies came with a list of concerns about government surveillance on the day after a federal judge questioned its constitutionality. margaret talev covers the white house for bloomberg news.
so what was on the executive's agendas who showed up at the white house today, march sphwret. >> so much in the final weeks of the administration with the president making decisions about how to rein in this program about making clear what their concerns are which is their business is affected by other countries and they're working on behalf the nsa. >> what was the white house agenda at the meeting. >> so much of the white house agenda is similar to that perception and about sending a signal to americans they care about privacy and sending a signal to american business and the president who has the sort of bad rap about understanding the concerns of business does and that she listening. >> ifill: there were 15 tech titans invited to this meeting. how many of them have been affected by for instance these efforts of the government's part to make them turn over records of the users. >> eventually all of them have been directly affected or are
concerned in some way they will be affected from a financial perspective. but, for example, these companies like google, facebook, twitter, at&t and comcast, the telecommunications companies have been directly affected. some of the other internet companies, to the extent they use sort of cloud services, the major derns, that's in terms of the existing business and their ability to grow business in both europe and developing countries. >> i know this was a private meeting and people were heavy with the comments afterwards but what kind of conversation happened at the table? >> one is that erik schmidt of google opened up by saying these are fine broad applicables all of us agree on to the stent we can tell you what we share in terms of recommendations this is it and we had to do largely on two fronts, one in terms of sort of starting and dialing back collections information and
increasing transparency so the companies can tell their clients, tell their customers or individuals this is how many requests the government has made last year so the people can get a handle on how big it is. the other thing is that melissa mayor of yahoo expressed a concern about the balkanization of policies from country to country in order to deal with that and how that can be problem at problematic for american business. >> ifill: the president asked for a review panel to look into these measures. do you know if he and the executives agree on what this should look like? >> what we know about the review panel is through the leaks because the information is classified until its declassified and we won't see them in the form they're submitted. we will see a version of that sometime in january. will we know who that the panel recommended that the government continue its metadata program and that's based on reports out from administration officials so far and so, yesterday's move by
the district court judge that says i think that miss metadata correction is probably unconstitutional so you have the panel saying go forward with modifications and the court saying i don't think so, we want to hear from the appeals court but this judge would be saying it goes too far. >> ifill: was it a coincidence that the white house announced they hired someone from microsoft to take over health healthcare.gov. >> an interesting point and what the white house has been telling us, this meeting was planned days ago. they may have always planned 20 roll out the microsoft executives out of this meeting. the white house originally wanted to talk about health care and what they're doing to fix the bugs in the health carol out and the techy executives said guess what, we're not coming until you tell us we're on top of the agenda at this meeting. >> ifill: and will he. he will succeed the giants in
overseeing and running the program and making sure that if everything goes as planned that the health care web site and process goes forward and the americans will be able to sign up without the glitches that have plagued the initial weeks of the roll out. >> ifill: margaret t a. lev, bloomberg, thank you very much. >> woodruff: now, drugs, doctors and the relationship with the pharmaceutical industry. those connections have long been the subject of ethical and business concerns, particularly when it comes to the financial ties between doctors and the drug companies. yesterday, one of the world's biggest pharmaceutical companies, glaxosmithkline, announced changes to some of its practices. it will no longer pay doctors to promote its drugs, and it will stop compensating sales representatives based on the number of prescriptions doctors write. the moves come following other problems for the company,
including a bribery scandal in china involving payments to allegedly boost sales. and a settlement with the u.s. government last year on marketing drugs for improper uses. we look at these changes, and both our guests are professors at harvard medical school and affiliated with brigham and women's hospital, but they have different views: dr. jerry avorn and dr. thomas stoessel. >> dr. avorn let me start with you. explain a little more about what is it that many doctors are doing and how many are doing it? how widespread is this? >> well, judy, it's quite common for companies to hire doctors to be on what they call speakers' bureaus in which the doctor will travel around and give lectures about a drug and, in many cases, the slides and the content and script are actually prepared by the drug company and the doctor presents this information as the
latest information about diabetes or blood pressure or whatever, and it's not always clear to the audience that this is material that was really scripted completely by the drug company that was paying the doctor to give the talk. >> and how long has this kind of thing been going on, dr. avorn? >> probably for decades and it's not the best way for doctors to learn about drugs in a fair and balanced matter. >> dr. stoessel, what would you add to that in terms of what doctors are doing now, or many are them are doing for the drug companies. >> well, i agree with c dr. avorn, it was a very common practice for a majority of doctors, and we have some relationship, whether in the marketing side or research, with drug companies, and that has improved long of tee and life quality, so the idea that it
somehow is problem attic is just not clear but it is extremely common. >> extremely common meaning most dress do something like this or is it just really impossible to say? >> well, there have surveys that have shown that up to 3/4 of doctors of that ilk have some kind of financial relationship with the company, not necessarily speaking. that's just one of many, many forms of collaboration. >> dr. avorn, what sit that you find objectionable about this? what is the problem with it? and what is the change that you see glaxo making? >> well if i as a doctor want to learn about a drug i think it's better for me to learn about it from somebody who is an expert in the field but who is not being paid to teach me by the company make the products that he is teaching about.
i think it's much better to have impartial noncommercial unbiased sources giving us our information because that way it's much more likely to tell us what we need to do to take better care of patients, not be part of a marketing apparatus to increase sales of a given drug, and that's the activity that glaxo is winding down and i think that's a healthy thing. >> and dr. stoessel, what about this idea that for someone to be paid to explain a drug, that that in essence is presenting a conflict of interest? >> sure. first of all, drngs dr. avorn and i would agree agree it's very hard for doctors to keep up with information. new information is coming in all the time so it's vital that doctors have exposure to as much information as possible. now, with respect to the glaxo move, we don't really know the details of why they made that decision. i hope they made that decision because they feel they have
alternate ways of getting information about the products to doctors. if they don't, the shareholders are to be very concerned and patients ought to be concerned. now, as far as being paid, well, i think that the institution dr. avorn and i work at pays us and we and our colleagues go out and encourage patients to come to our institution, but at the same time, we think we give outstanding objective care. now, being paid is an important part of our economy, and the onus shouldn't be on who pays him but what is the quality of the service. >> so dr. avorn, what about it when you look at it interest that perspective. >> he has one thing when a doctor is paid to do clinical services for a patient. everybody knows what you're
doing and why you're getting paid. but to do teaching about a drug, i think it is simply much more messy & distorted to have that education paid for by the company that makes the drug. i'm much more in favor of programs in which doctors can be educated about medications by people who have no commercial axe to grind and we have been doing some work along those lines on a nonprofit basis for years and doctors really appreciate hearing about a drug from a colleague who is not getting paid to read a script but is evaluating the evidence as its there. >> dr. stoessel doctor wouldn't a system like that work? >> well, first of all doctors appreciate hearing from other doctors who are paid by companies because they voted with their feet because these so-called peer to peer speaking activities have been extremely popular. it allows doctors to learn from other doctors who, whether or not they're scripted know a lot about the product in question.
now, i have no objection to the type of education that dr. avorn does. we need all types of education. but even though it's nonprofit he has an agenda to support it. so we return to what we said before, it's the quality of the information, not the judgments about the motives of the people providing it that is important. dr. avorn, do you think what glaxo smithkline is doing is now going to be copied or emulated by other pharmaceutical companies? >> i do think they're setting a good example and i wonder if the other companies are going to hang back and see what is this doing to their sales because you can probably sell more drugs when you can totally control the flow of information than if you just pay a hospital or medical school to do whatever kind of education it wants. it will be very interesting to see whether this is going to cause their sales to take a hit or who this would be a model that other companies are willing
to follow. we will learn about that in the coming years. >> woodruff: dr. stoessel do you expect other companies to do the same thing and there will be an effect on patients? >> i hope not. >> i think that, it needs to be looked at. it's very important to point out, that this problem is approached as if it were a monolithic and one size fits all but there are all kinds of companies with different product lines, and it's much more important, for example, in an orphan disease or a cutting-edge area, such as cancer, that new information about rapidly emerging technologies get to doctors so they can help patients. it may be that the glaxo product profile is not so -- it's not so necessary for them to engage in those activities. so i think -- or i hope for that health of the industry they will react strategically and react in
the best interest of keeping their research and development programs profitable so they can or may take as many shots on goal as possible. >> i was going to say as far as patients it could be better if patients are hearing not only about the costliest products but the good old-fashioned generics that may work well but nobody is paying a drug company to go out and teach about that so it may make drugs more affordable which is good for patients. >> and it's an urban legend that all new products are more expensive, which that is true, and that doctors don't hear about them, they won't prescribe them, that is true. but the idea that old generics are as good as new products is sometimes through but it is not always true, and that it needs to be viewed on a case-by-case basis. >> woodruff: we hear you both. thomas stoessel and dr. jerry
avorn. thank you. >> ifill: in ukraine, protesters are back at the barricades again, their anger refueled by their president's new dealings with moscow. chief foreign affairs correspondent margaret warner reports. >> warner: russian president vladimir putin threw embattled ukrainian president viktor yanukovich a lifeline today, agreeing to buy $15 billion in ukrainian bonds and to slash the selling price of russian natural gas by about a third. he launched their talks at the kremlin by voicing solidarity with his economically strapped neighbor. >> ( translated ): i very much hope that we will be able to move forward in solving the most sensitive issues for us. without any doubt, ukraine is our strategic partner and ally in every sense of this word. >> warner: but putin insisted there was no discussion of ukraine becoming part of an
economic trading bloc of former soviet states, over which yanukovich has been criticized at home. >> ( translated ): i would like to calm everybody down. we have not discussed today at all the question of ukraine joining the customs union. >> warner: yet back in the ukrainian capital, news of the bailout angered protestors who want ukraine to move toward the european union, not back into russia's fold. one opposition leader, former heavyweight boxing champ vitaly klitschko, insisted their battle is not over. >> ( translated ): we are struggling, but we will win. the authorities are shaking, but they have not given up. they've given up ukraine's national interests, they've given up ukraine's independence, and they've given up perspectives of better life for all ukrainians. >> warner: the protestors have been camped out in kiev's maidan square since november 25, when yanukovich, under pressure from russia, unexpectedly reneged on plans to sign a political and trade agreement with the e.u. last week, they were boosted by
a visit from assistant secretary of state victoria nuland, who handed out bread and encouragement. and e.u. foreign policy chief catherine ashton came away from a meeting with yanukovich saying he'd pledge to sign the agreement after all. but on sunday, e.u. officials said negotiations were going nowhere, and the crowd in the square swelled to some 200,000. >> the free world is with you. america is with you. i am with you! >> warner: arizona senator john mccain told the demonstrators that ukraine's destiny lies with europe, not with russia. back in washington today, white house spokesman jay carney said the kremlin bailout doesn't address the protestors' concerns, nor ukraine's deeper economic problems. >> as we've said in the past, we urge the ukrainian government to listen to its people and to find a way to restore a path to the peaceful, just, democratic and economically prosperous european future to which ukrainian citizens aspire.
>> warner: the kremlin plans to buy the first installment of ukrainian bonds this week. >> ifill: and margaret joins me now. >> let's start with the kremlin. what was going on there? >> this was vladimir putin trying to lance boil with -- remember, these are the biggest protests in eastern europe in this century since the orange revolution in 2004, bigger than the protest against putin about four years ago. and putin for once played this smart. he didn't force viktor yanukovich to sign the customs unit and didn't rub his nose in it. he gave him the lifeline he needs. nobody knows what private assurances were given and nobody nopes how the opposition will act and whether this will quell their protesters or not. >> what are the protests about? what is at the root of all of this? >> two things. one is economic. and the ukraine has been
battling this terrible corruption, huge subsidies, overspending. that's one. and the ukraineions of the new generation, they look at their neighborhood, poland. the poles joined the europeans and live a great life, have personal premium freedoms, money to spend and a flourishing economy and say why not us? so there's that. there's a deeper old historical and cultural ties between russia and the ukraine. russia does want to reconstitute, not a new soviet block but group of countries that are economically independent on them and its used a lot of economic muscle against moldova and ukraine is the big surprise. ukraine and russia go way back centuries. they are the two entities that formed the soviet union in 1922. when ukraine decided to break away and to the father of that family it was like a betrayal in
the family. so there's a lot -- for putin, getting ukraine in this is the golden prize. >> ifill: emotional as well as everything else. tell me what is at stake for the u.s. they have been talking to u.s. officials and u.s. officials as well, trying to figure out where to land in all of this. >> there the a lot at stake for the u.s. and also for the west in general. that is, because ukraine is such a strategically important country, it's not had a cold war going on anymore but there's a geo complete kill war between the way of life. the more personal freedoms of the west in western europe and now the western part of eastern europe, and then there's a group around russia that is more authoritarian, fewer personal freedoms, more controlled economy and a lot of corruption. so if the west could manage to reorient ukraine toward the eu,
to taking the tough steps they will have to, to get imf loans which is what they will have to do, a lot of economic pain but that could have a reach region on the region and russia. >> it's interesting. we just saw in your piece that yanukovich said what they wanted to hear, and $15 million or billion? >> billion. >> he is telling russia what they want to hear. how do they read him here. >> both europeans and americans feel the same way. the swedish prime minister called him a two face. but the u.s. officials and european officials say when you get in a meeting with him, first of all, he is very obsessed with old grievances and the eu didn't come through the way they should have didn't give him enough money and thank you don't ups the pressure he is under, and russia is essentially saying, we
are ruining you if you go this trecks, so it's tough to stand up to that. but more fundamentally, they don't think he is a man that is legal thinking about the future of this country and the long run, that he is very preoccupied with himself, his political future, he wants to run for re-election and it is alleged, the incredible corruption racket that he and his family have going. so -- >> is it me or does it sound like a piano stand, the same relationships. >> the big question is how does yanukovich sell this when he gets home. does he say, now we can pay our debts but we're going to move down the path -- or does he just say, take it or leave it? >> and he said today i had no alternative but to sign this. and secondly how do these protesters react. the u.s. has been a lot of time
and energy working with them to stick together, keep it moderate, not make excessive demands. they have kept it very, very well controlled. but there's a long winter ahead. is something vital going to happen? anything could happen. >> i know you're keeping your finger on the pulse. thank you. >> thank you. circumstances, a sentence lawyer dennis munoz estanley plans to >> woodruff: now, to el salvador, home to some of the strictest anti-abortion laws in the world. newshour special correspondent fred de sam lazaro reports on what it means for women there when abortion is considered murder, without exception. a version of this story originally aired on the pbs program "religion and ethics newsweekly." >> reporter: farm laborer elias cruz, an agricultural laborer, took the day off recently to visit his daughter's pro bono attorney.
>> ( translated ): i was just talking to her. she feels her case has been abandoned. they did not investigate as they should have to get concrete evidence. >> reporter: 19-year-old glenda cruz was recently sentenced to ten years in prison after her pregnancy ended under suspicious circumstances. >> maybe it's because she is in prison that she is was alone. >> across town at the medical legal department, dr. jose magonya has no doubt this was a case of infanticide. >> she is in prison because of an abortion. it's absolutely false what she said. what happens is, when someone murders someone else, he or she doesn't turn up on the tv and say i'm guilty of murder.
maybe there has been a mistake. but in most cases, they are guilty. >> linda cruises is one of several cases that have come under public scrutiny in the debate of one of the world's most stringent abortion laws. since 1977 it has been illegal in el salvador except for threat to the mother's life, rain or insent. dozens of women's have been prosecuted for abortion, in some cases for aggravated homicide the. the change reflects a change in the catholic country of a group called "yes to life" and church leadership with close allies in the republican alliance party, which rose to power after the civil war ended in 1992. miguel aquino is bishop of the city of san miguel. >> we cannot accept any law that goes against life.
it is not a question of faith and religion but of humanity. >> many doctors say the law has put them in a very difficult position. obstetrician, jorge cruise said they cannot intervene with a woman's health even if her pregnancy has no chance of coming to term. >> the law does not permit us to end pregnancies that are unviable, as long as there's a heart beat. often there's hemorrhage and women die from the shock. >> he and colleagues feel many dress, particularly junior ones are being intimidated into betraying patient confidentiality for fear they could be prosecuted as accessories. >> in the public health system, patients coming in after an abortion, whether self inflected or septic, providers were told they had to report the patients for prosecution. >> but medical legal officer
magonia said the doctors' fears are exaggerated. >> the statistics of the doctors in jail because of the crime of abortion is zero. >> reporter: in truly dire circumstances, he says doctors can save a woman's life. he points to the days of a 22-year-old woman whose case drew international attention and skirts the law. known as beatrice she was suffering from lupus syndrome and kidney failure. she was pregnant with a severely deformed fetus that could not survive outside of the womb. after deliberating for several weeks and at 26 weeks into the pregnancy, el salvador's supreme court denied a petition for an abortion. a decision that drew widespread protests. the court upheld the recommendation of 14magonia's
office. doctors were then allowed to perform a cesarean section, that in the doctors review respected the infant's right to life. >> the department of legal medicine said beatrice wasn't at imminent risk. we were right. time went on and she continued with her pregnancy. the baby was delivered. he lived for eight hours and then he died. >> but the week's long ordeal harmed the mother's health and caused beatrice needless suffering say these obstetricians. >> one of the consequences of all of this is that consultations with women in these situations have gone way dune and that treats even more complicated cases. >> for some women whose pregnancies fail, it's been difficult to prove that they have not been responsible for miscarrying. about nine years ago, christina quan ti. inia was close to term
and she said she suffered a miscarriage. >> i sat on the toilet and i felt a strong pain. next thing i know i'm in the hospital. >> her mother called the police, a common practice in emergencies here because ambulances are unreliable. a call she fears was construed as a complaint. >> it was very depressing when i released what i did. we were scared that she could die. the authorities misinterpreted it. >> i was dizzy because of the anesthesia and blood loss and i saw a man in blue asking for my name. he said you're under arrest for the murder of your child. >> she was sentenced to 30 years for aggravated homicide, even though she said the autopsy was ruled inconclusive. her sentence was eventually commuted to time served. four hellish years, she says. >> i felt so terrible because
the prosecutor would keep pointing at me and saying, she killed her baby, she killed her baby! if you go to prison for an abortion, they beat you up and it's not just me. there are other women in there. >> reporter: including glenda cruise. laura represented both women and hopes to get a similar situation for cruise. >> i don't think she is capable of what she is accused of. she s. not violent and was raised with christian morals. we tried to talk to the prosecutors in the clues' case. the defense attorney has managed to free eight women jailed in abortion cases. >> in most of these cases, these are poor women, women with not very much education. sometimes there are cases of women who are literate. it's important to remember before 1998 therapeutic abortions and abortions of
deformed fetuses or for rain were allowed and now it's not the same political climate. >> bishop aquino sid the conservative climate is a backlash against feminist groups that tried to impose liberal social legislation that is contrary to the culture here. beatrice was the latest such interference, he says. >> they want to promote therapeutic abortion. this would open the window to other kinds of abortions, then same-sex marriage and adopting children by homosexuals or lesbians. recent polls show most sal dorians oppose abortion but support some elections. however with the elections moving next year, political analysts say it's toutful there will be any changes to the laws governing abortion any time soon. >> >> woodruff: fred's reporting is a partnership with the under- told stories project at saint mary's university in minnesota.
>> ifill: "masterpiece" is a pbs crown jewel, and, for 25 years and counting, rebecca eaton has been at its helm. now, she's written a book about bringing british drama to the american screen. jeffrey brown has our conversation. >> it's the longest-running weekly prime time series in the country and most honored. 17 peabodys and 57 emmys to its credit. upstairs downstairs put masterpiece theater on the map in 1974. other british dramas followed. >> good evening. i'm alistair cooke. >> each program introduced by a host with alistair cooke holding the position for 22 years.
>> what's become of him? >> what becomes of anybody? >> the series helped launch the american careers of many well renowned british actors. >> she was murdered, michael. she was found in a prostitute's exeter. now i want you to look at this photograph. >> presumably they thought you were. now look here -- excuse me. >> reporter: several years ago masterpiece updated its look and moved into three parts, classic, mystery and contemporary. >> and it's now of course with downtown abbey, the highest pbs drama of all time. behind the scenes for the last 25 years, rebecca eaton, author of "making masterpiece." >> rebecca joins us now. welcome. >> thank you. >> you start the book with an
anecdote about how you first said no thanks to a proposal about a new drama with a british aristocratic family. >> big house, people downstairs and upstairs. it was downtown abbey and i did say no. >> but the rest is history. >> i was lucky. in television angel must have been sitting on my shoulder because it made the rounds of other information executives and they said no. i didn't say no because i didn't like it; we just had too much that year. and then i heard that maggie smith had been cast and elizabeth mcgovern who plays lady cora and said it's very good. so i picked up the phone. >> this was angel question that sort of goes to -- i steele one of the titles of your chapters which is what does an executive producer do all day in a anyway. in making masterpiece how do you
define your role? >> i'm the person that tries to not choose the bad british programs. that's a double negative. you try to avoid the bad gluns but i saved the american public. these programs are made in england. they are made by, i think, some of the best drama produces and writers and actors in the world and we are their american partners. so my job is to read the scripts, take the pictures and try to choose the ones that i think will work best for masterpiece and best often the air, and sometimes i get it right. >> well, on the mysterious process of getting it right or wrong, is it an i know it when i see it kind of thing? >> it is quite subjective, i have too say, kind of seat of the pants programming, and little bit of experience goes a longway and i have been doing it now for 26, 27 years, and we watch the ratings. we know what the audience likes.
so there aren't focus groups. we have a very small shop. but we get to know the players and what works. >> i don't know if i should start with what works. i always want to hear what -- >> what doesn't work? i don't want to talk about that. there have been a few. i'm a sucker for actors, for good actors. and sometimes i can convince myself that a not very good script or nod very good story is going to be great because somebody so in it. we actually did have collin ferth of "pride and prejudice" dis234 something called nostromo. it was a good book but it just sat there as a drama. that's one of the ones not many people like. >> you mentioned collin and it's funny because you said people get confused with "pride and prejudice" dis,which was his great vehicle for american public. but people come up to you and say that was incredible, but
that was not a masterpiece program. >> it was not. >> it was alone another network but i say thank you. >> but that goes to your creating this masterpiece, creating a genre for american audiences. i think it was born, masterpiece was born in 1971. pbs was only a couple of years old. as i say in the book, you know, the first four site saga had just aired and suddenly there was about appetite for british drama and there were shelves of programs. so people at wgbh in boston and at mobil oil realized this was a huge opportunity. there was only julia child on public television then and some lectures, so they started buying the already produced programs, and the audience completely turned up. so now we have to just keep feed. >> when it comes to a downtown abbey, why is it such a hit?
>> man, if i knew that, i would certainly not tell you, for one thing. and julienne fellows who created down ton is asked that all the time and he doesn't know. i tell the story in the book b. when he was a little boy his mother used to turn the kitchen over to him. one time she turned the kitchen over to him and he made the most fantastic chocolate eclairs. and she said, julienne how did you do it? can you do it again? and he never could. so it's little bit of magic. he was ready to do it, julienne, and he was to the matterhorn and i think he understood the characters and knew what they would be because he had them in his own family true tree and i think -- my theory about it is that if a perfect television precinct drama but there's a certain goodness of
"entertainment tonight" to all of these characterize and i think that has been missing in television, british and. >> rooney: we are going to talk more about downtown abbey and other things and we will do that online. for now the book is "making masterpiece." thank you very much. >> thanks jeff. >> woodruff: now, turning to tiny apartments in big cities where more and more people are living alone. correspondent mona iskander has our story. it first aired on the weekend edition of the newshour. >> it's about 260 square feet, and everything is really compact. it's got to be multifunctional. >> reporter: shawn groff is a 26-year-old employee at whole foods who lives in a building that consists solely of what are known as micro-apartments. >> we're standing in every room. we're standing in my kitchen,
living room, dining room and my bathroom is just around the corner. >> reporter: his dining room table is also his bed. for about $950 a month, he square foot space. learns to make do with his 260- square foot space. >> if i have company and i need another chair, i can use my coffee table again and maybe even pat it down and they can enjoy as well. this is a solution for people like myself, perhaps in the stage of my life where i don't have that many things and don't need that much space. i'm not really home that often. you ask yourself what you really need, and, if you're honest about that, a lot of things become unnecessary. >> reporter: he happens to live in vancouver, canada, one of the first north american cities to embrace the tiny living concept. but the idea is catching on in a number of cities in the united states, as well, like seattle,
san francisco, new york, boston, washington, d.c., providence and cleveland. they've all been pursuing projects to develop this new model. it's an idea may be new to north america, but countries like japan have for years looked to micro apartments as a solution to high urban density. >> there's very little housing restrictions in tokyo. so, the housing really does correspond with the population need. >> reporter: sarah watson is the deputy director of a non-profit research group in new york, the citizens housing and planning council. for the last five years, the organization has been studying new concepts in housing. watson says the number of people living by themselves in the united states has increased dramatically. in the '40s and '50s, it was less than 10%. today, that population is closer to 30%. people are getting married later, getting divorced at higher rates than they once did and are living longer.
and watson says supply of housing for single people hasn't kept up with this changing demographic. >> if the population changes but there's not housing supply to follow, what happens is people start going underground and living informally. and that's why you see this huge growth in the craigslist market, people trying to make room in housing stock that's not designed for it. >> reporter: and the problem is only going to get worse. for instance, new york's population is expected to rise by approximately 600,000 people by the year 2030. that's about an 8% increase. >> we can't just keep building taller buildings, so there has to be some new ways to accommodate these people within it. so, this whole space is 325 square feet. >> reporter: so, her organization lobbied to convince mayor michael bloomberg's administration to consider new types of housing in new york, including micro-apartments like this one on display at a recent exhibit at the museum of the city of new york.
>> this is for big cities, particularly cities that attract young people. going to be a very big problem coming down the road, and this is the first step that we're taking to try to find a solution. >> reporter: in a city where space is at a premium, mayor bloomberg launched a pilot project to be developed on city- owned land on manhattan's east side. each of the 55 prefab units will be housed in a single building, and each will be less than 400- square-feet. in order to do that, mayor bloomberg said he would waive zoning regulations put in place in the 1980s to protect against overcrowding. construction is set to begin this december or january. so, it's basically an experiment. >> right. it's an experiment. and the city's using it to... to properly test what happens if you just relieve a few elements, a few controls, really to see what the options could be. >> reporter: new york's micro- unit building will require that 40% of the units are rented at an "affordable" rate.
this being new york, the word "affordable" is relative. the rent for those tiny subsidized apartments will be between $940 and $1,800 a month. that's actually quite low for the neighborhood. >> this, for many cities, this is actually a selling point. >> reporter: john infranca is a law professor at suffolk university in boston, who studies affordable housing and land use policy. >> i think it's good for cities in terms of being able to retain young professionals, recent college graduates who might otherwise be priced out of the city. you know, that'll add a certain, you know, dynamism to the city. boston, for instance, is really pushing that front, that they want to retain their recent graduates who otherwise can't afford to live there. and... and those graduates are going to be important for the city's broader economy to grow. >> reporter: but there has been backlash. in seattle, community groups have voiced concerns that these units crowd too many people together and that they make neighborhoods less stable as young people come and go. in vancouver, critics worry that
micro-apartments will replace housing for the poor. for example, the apartment building where shawn groff lives used to be a single room occupancy building. locals complained its residents were being forced onto the street. i mean, critics say that these are really geared towards young, high-income people who are moving to the city for the first time. it's not really addressing the needs of lower-middle-income workers who also need the housing. >> a lot of these pilots that are happening in cities are definitely on the higher end because they're happening in high value areas. but... but we believe if you could really think through the design concepts of these small spaces and situate them in other locations, you know, you can... you're really changing the price point for that. and you can target different populations. we have a small, one-drawer dishwasher. >> reporter: and watson believes micro-units make sense for the way many people live today. >> there's a reason why this is catching on in the country because, you know, you can live
quite comfortably now with your music collection and your, you know, your books all on a very tiny laptop. i mean, it's actually transformed our need for space in the last five years, technology. so, you couple that with new transformable furniture, and you can really maximize a small space in a positive way. >> on the pbs signature segments on our web site. >> >> ifill: again, the major developments of the day. the senate cleared the way for a final vote on the bipartisan budget deal. a dozen republicans joined all 55 democrats to overcome what appears to be the last procedural hurdle. and russian president putin signed a $15 billion bailout for ukraine in a bid to keep the country in moscow's orbit. >> woodruff: how can sign language convey the emotion in a bob dylan ballad or the sorrow in a presidential eulogy? a lot of it depends on body language. with the outrage over an incompetent interpreter at
nelson mandela's memorial, we look at what it takes to interpret more than just words. that and more is on our web site, newshour.pbs.org. >> ifill: and again, to our honor roll of american service personnel killed in the afghanistan conflict. we add them as their deaths are made official and photographs become available. here, in silence, are five more.
>> ifill: and that's the newshour for tonight. on wednesday, the federal reserve announces if it will slow down its stimulus of the economy. i'm gwen ifill. >> woodruff: and i'm judy woodruff. we'll see you online and again here tomorrow evening. for all of us here at the pbs newshour, thank you and good night. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> my customers can shop around; see who does good work and compare costs. it can also work that way with healthcare. with united healthcare, i get information on quality ratings of doctors, treatment options and estimates for how much i'll pay. that helps me and my guys make informed decisions. i don't like guesses with my business and definitely not with our health. that's health in numbers. united healthcare.
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solutions for small businesses and major corporations. what can we do for you? >> and now, "bbc world news." >> this is "bbc world news america." reporting from washington, i'm katty kay. the u.k. governments accuses syria of murdering this british doctor who was on a mission of delivering humanitarian aid. his family asked to the bbc. distraught. we were in shock. we were expecting him home on friday. >> vladimir putin offers a lifeline to cash strapped ukraine. and