PBS’s live-action Odd Squad aims to ‘make math relevant’ for kids

PBS Kids will expand the footprint of its math-focused programs with Odd Squad, a live-action TV series for school-aged children. The new show, which follows the fall 2013 debut of Peg + Cat, a preschool series presenting math concepts, will debut Nov. 26. Creators Tim McKeon and Adam Peltzman, who previously collaborated as television writers on another PBS Kids series for school-aged children, The Electric Company, are producing Odd Squad through Toronto-based Sinking Ship Entertainment and the Fred Rogers Company (which also produces Peg + Cat and Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood for PBS). Odd Squad stars sleuths Olive and Otto, members of a detective agency who use math concepts to solve unusual mysteries around their town.

Odd Squad to be PBS Kids’ newest math learning series

It’s a question that parents and teachers struggle to answer at home and in the classroom: how do we make math fun for kids? The creative minds at PBS Kids have spent the last few years devising a solution to that problem. With Ready to Learn funding provided through the Department of Education in 2010, PBS staff set their sights on creating two math-focused children’s shows. Their answer for the 3- to 5-year-old crowd was PEG + CAT, an animated series that debuted last fall.  Produced by Fred Rogers Company, PEG + CAT teaches measurement, shapes and patterns, skills that help the characters solve their real-life problems.

Odd Squad, a live-action math series geared toward children ages 5 to 8, is the latest addition to PBS’s slate of math-based kids’ programming.

PubTV tests new approaches for fundraising with kids’ TV

This reluctance to fundraise around children’s shows is “a conundrum,” Rotenberg said in an interview. “Kids’ programming is probably the most recognized and valued service that we offer … And yet it seems that, as a community, we shy away from it.”

It’s a beautiful day for return to Make-Believe

In honor of its 40th anniversary on public TV, the famous Mister Rogers Neighborhood of Make-Believe set, including King Friday XIII’s castle, will be assembled for public viewing one last time, Nov. 6–8 [2009] at Pittsburgh’s WQED. Much of the large set has been warehoused …

Young promoter cancels his debut as Fred Rogers’ successor

Michael Kinsell, who planned to present himself as the next Mister Rogers at a controversial gala on Sunday in San Diego, told Current in an e-mail Thursday night that he is canceling the show. Kinsell, who said he is 18, had publicized the May 31 fundraising event as a star-studded posthumous tribute to the famous host of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.

It’s all been good for whatshisname since he was rejected by the dump

A wayward, 6-foot stuffed gorilla arrived at WDSE-TV in Duluth, Minn. in time for the annual Kids Club Circus last week. Its former owner tried to leave it at a landfill but the gorilla was turned away (it wasn’t construction debris), and it fell from the truck into the path of a state official’s car. A state trooper somehow sensed WDSE would adopt. The star of Martha Speaks (shown at right with Sgt.

Many stations packaging their own kids’ channels

With the all-digital future arriving, if haltingly, and a bigger share of viewers likely to come through DTV multicast channels, public TV stations are reconsidering how to use their bitstream, making over their channels, and in some cases adding new services to woo audiences. The wee audience, for one. Little kids and their parents are a vital audience and constituency for public TV, and mockups of the stations’ future DTV menu often featured a dedicated channel for them. To supply it, stations had access to a 24-hour PBS Kids feed, packaged by PBS. That changed in 2005 when the network acceded to the desires of its two biggest producers for children and joined a partnership to package Sprout, a cable channel for preschoolers.