May 13, 2008

Written by Nicole Pedersen

After over 30 years off the air, PBS is bringing back the children’s classic “The Electric Company.” The updated show began production in New York on Monday, with 26 half-hour episodes set to air on PBS affiliates beginning in January.

The new show will follow in its predecessor’s footsteps, with language-intensive programming set to funky dance beats that target 6 to 9 year olds. This is a huge step away from the “Sesame” programming strategy of the past 20 years, which has skewed to younger and younger audiences (Elmo anyone?), leaving older kids to get their learnin’ from shows like “Pokemon” instead – this may explain why my eleven year old neighbor can not spell ‘business’ but can tell you the difference between a pidgeot and a pidgey.

A spin-off of sorts from “Sesame Street,” “The Electric Company” ran from 1971 to 1977 and starred Morgan Freeman and Rita Moreno, among others. Still produced by the Sesame Workshop, the new series has the same goal as it did back in the day: “The literacy crisis today is as pervasive and alarming as it was in 1971 when we created the first version of ‘The Electric Company,” remarked Scott Cameron, the Workshop’s head of education and research, “We know that if struggling readers don’t get the literacy help they need by the end of second grade, they are in danger of never catching up.”

You got that Bush Administration? If the TV people think our kids need help than some of them are quite obviously being left behind. I thank God that I had “The Electric Company” when I was a kid – otherwise I couldn’t have wrote good so now.

Explain to kids that “Letterman” will not be doing a top ten list this time here

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