CBS Cable exit jolts art world

The announced demise of CBS Cable to take effect within 90 days has sent shock waves of uncertainty, not only through the cable business, but through the cultural community, Monitor TV critic Arthur Unger reports.

CBS Cable, the most widely praised of the cable services, which ran through an estimated $30 to $50 million in start-up costs, announced Monday that it was through, leaving the field wide open to the other free cultural channel, ARTS, and to the one pay-TV cultural channel, BRAVO. Culture, according to Monitor TV critic Arthur Unger, has become a non-moneymaking scare word in cable these days.

Meantime, back at Public Broadcasting Service, which some years ago was in the forefront of the tide of cultural events on TV, the feeling is that the swing is back to PBS. Lawrence Grossman, PBS president, told the Monitor: ''All the hopes and expectations of enough advertising to support a cultural cable channel were based on nothing. It all just goes to prove the need for a subsidized channel like PBS.''

Martin E. Segal, chairman of the board of Lincoln Center, reflecting the disappointment of the performing arts, told the Monitor: ''CBS Cable was a glorious endeavor, presenting the best of the performing arts, and we are grateful to them for giving us some of the finest.''

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