Updated May 21, 2019:

Six months after putting NOVA senior executive producer Paula Apsell on leave, WGBH has announced that Apsell will be retiring and will be named senior executive producer emerita. WGBH is also establishing a scholarship in her name.

Apsell, who lead NOVA for 33 years, said in a statement that she was honored to have the scholarship, which will be awarded to Boston public school students who plan to study science, technology, engineering and math in college, in her name.

Jeanne Hopkins, a spokeswoman for WGBH, declined to comment on the exact timing of Apsell’s departure but in a statement said that “there was a dispute between Ms. Apsell and WGBH which has now been resolved and withdrawn to the parties’ satisfaction.” Last fall, the Emmy-winning producer was put on leave following complaints that she violated WGBH’s respectful workplace policy. Apsell will not keep an office at WGBH and will no longer be involved with NOVA, but it’s possible she may participate in occasional station functions.


Beat the Press has learned that Apsell was placed on leave within days of receiving a Lifetime Achievement Emmy from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences on Oct. 1st and that the move was related to complaints that Apsell violated WGBH’s respectful workplace policy. Her future at the station is unclear.

WGBH declined further comment, and Apsell has not responded to multiple requests for comment.


WGBH’s Beat the Press has learned that Paula Apsell, the longtime senior executive producer of NOVA and head of the WGBH Science Unit, has been placed on leave.

WGBH Vice President of Communications Jeanne Hopkins said in a statement, “WGBH does not comment on personnel matters.” The move came several weeks ago and while there is speculation in the building as to why Apsell was placed on leave, we were unable to confirm the reasons. We do know her departure was not voluntary.

We reached out to Apsell several times but did not hear back. We will continue to report on this story as it develops.