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PBS budget increases despite federal cuts

Despite federal funding cuts, PBS plans to increase its overall budget for the upcoming year by $52-million, the largest jump in its history, officials said Sunday. "Ours is a policy of growth, not retrenchment," said Ervin S. Duggan, president of Public Broadcasting Service. PBS has been actively seeking new sources of private revenue in recent years that are helping to make growth possible. The service's budget will expand from about $172-million this year to $224-million for the fiscal year 1997. Kathy Quattrone, chief programing executive of PBS, said the service also aims to increase its programing budget by 50 percent in four years _ from $114-million to $165-million by 2000. "We were worried, but the federal funding cut for PBS turned out to be relatively small." Quattrone said. "It wasn't enough to make a difference in our overall industry base." The public broadcasting industry receives about 14 percent of its total income from federal funding. The 1996 budget of $276-million is 13.4 percent less than what Congress had originally promised, a result of deficit cutting efforts.

Downey locked

into rehab center

A judge ordered actor Robert Downey Jr. Monday into a locked drug rehabilitation center with 24-hour supervision for an indefinite period. The 31-year-old actor, who was arrested three times in a month, has been held in jail since his last arrest on July 20, when he left the open rehabilitation center at which he had been ordered to stay by Judge Lawrence Mira as a condition of $100,000 bail. A prosecutor at Monday's hearing urged Mira to keep Downey in jail. "The more Mr. Downey stays in jail the less likely he is to want to visit us again," Deputy District Attorney Ellen Aragon said. Downey's progress hearing is Aug. 23.

Combs' widow left with huge debt

TV game show host Ray Combs left his family with at least $500,000 in debts, his widow said. "I don't have anything," Debbie Combs told the Cincinnati Enquirer in a story published Monday. Between 1988 and 1994, Combs was the host of The New Family Feud. The 40-year-old hanged himself June 2 in a suburban Los Angeles hospital where he was under observation for mental problems. Lawyers found an $82,000 debt from Combs' Cincinnati comedy club that closed 18 months ago, assorted credit card and telephone bills, Mrs. Combs said. Their house has been foreclosed on and the family is relying on a food pantry for meals, she said.

Bill aims to save

U.S. film heritage

A foundation to promote preservation of important U.S. films would be created by a bill approved Monday by the House. The charitable foundation would solicit private gifts to finance the film archives. It would work with a board that was created in 1988 to advise the Library on Congress on selecting 25 movies a year for inclusion in a national film registry. The library adds copies of the films to its collection. A study ordered by Congress in 1992 concluded that the nation's film heritage is at risk and that half of those produced before 1950 already have been lost. The study recommended preservation of newsreels, documentaries, avant garde movies, socially significant amateur films and regional historical materials. The bill, approved by voice vote, now goes to the Senate.