Fred Rogers goes viral with “Garden of Your Mind” video remix

An Auto-Tuned video of the late PBS icon Fred Rogers is going viral, with more than 700,000 views as of Friday (June 8) afternoon. The three-minute video was remixed by Symphony of Science's John Boswell for PBS Digital Studios. "When we discovered video mash-up artist John D. Boswell, aka melodysheep, on YouTube," the PBS studio said in a statement, "we immediately wanted to work together. Turns out that he is a huge Mister Rogers Neighborhood fan, and was thrilled at the chance to pay tribute to one of our heroes." It's the first in a series of PBS icon remixes. Continue Reading

Preschoolers get 40-plus (count ’em!) new PBS Kids math games

PBS Kids unveiled last week its largest offering of math-skill games for preschoolers — a cache of 40 games that can be played on computers, mobile devices and interactive whiteboards. “As the nation’s children continue to fall behind, we need to embrace new technology to help them learn,” said Lesli Rotenberg, PBS’s senior v.p., children’s media. Games include Monkey Jump from Curious George, which has kids hop along with George and count as they fill a toy-store bin with bouncing balls; Hermit Shell Crab Game from The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That!, in which players help the Cat, Nick and Sally fit hermit crabs into shells of corresponding sizes and patterns; and Carnival Count-off from Fizzy’s Lunch Lab, which teaches children how to estimate added sums and count by fives and tens. PBS partnered with CPB on the project, which is supported by a U.S. Department of Education Ready to Learn grant. Continue Reading

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. Continue Reading

Electric Company returns, Naomi still missing

A new Electric Company, based on that 1970s PBS hit, premieres Jan. 19. And, yes, Paul the Gorilla is there, and the silhouettes sounding out words and all the wisecracking humor. Bill Cosby may be gone, but Whoopi Goldberg and other stars drop by. . . Continue Reading

Here I am, your special PBS Kids Island (come to me, come to me)

PBS Kids Island, an online amusement park located on the Raising Readers website (www.readytolearnreading.org), offers learning games created by producers of Super Why!, Word World, Sesame Street and Between the Lions, most collected from their separate sites, grouped by reading skill and divided into three levels of difficulty. On the cartoony Island, kids can choose games to play from a carousel ride and win tickets they can use to buy things from the prize booth — video downloads, printable games and coloring sheets. In their own tree house, a kid can stash or play with their prizes and display their awards. Project advisors who work with low-scoring schools eligible for federal Title 1 aid encouraged PBS to give kids the opportunity to choose activities on their own on the Island, because low-income kids don’t get to make many choices or take risks or try experiments, says Sharon Philippart, project director for Raising Readers at PBS. Parents, teachers or caregivers sign up their kids and can monitor their progress through the levels. Continue Reading

Kids’ pipeline

Debut this fall [2007]
Jim Knox’s Wild Zoofari
Producing organizations: Jim Knox’s Wild Zoofari LLC. Producer: Rob Child. Creators: Rob Child, Jim Knox, Bruce Knox. Episodes: 14/30. Status: released on DVD 2006. Continue Reading

PBS Kids Go! channel: plan is no-go for now

After fewer than half of PBS stations made commitments to carry a proposed multicast channel for school-aged children, the network pulled back its plan to launch PBS Kids Go! as a fully packaged DTV multicasting service in October. The network is instead exploring its options to distribute school-age fare via video-on-demand or broadband platforms.

“I don’t want to bring up a service and not have the resources to support it,” said PBS President Paula Kerger, who announced the decision to stations July 6 [2006]. Only one-third of public TV licensees expressed interest in paying for Go! as an a la carte service, while PBS needed buy-in from least half, she said. Continue Reading

A cuddly sloth is set for science series stardom

It’s a Big, Big World, a preschool science series from Mitchell Kriegman, promises to be the next big thing for PBS Kids. The series, which will launch with a major promotional push in January, “was an inspiration to us when we thought about what PBS Kids can be,” said John Wilson, PBS co-chief programmer, during the PBS Showcase meeting in Las Vegas. Kriegman, Emmy-winning creator of Disney’s Bear in the Big Blue House and Nickelodeon’s Clarissa Explains It All, unveiled the series during an April 12 [2005] breakfast at the PBS conference. “From my point of view, I’ve arrived in my career” by bringing to PBS a competitive show that will help children learn and grow, he said. Kriegman began developing the concept after 9/11. Continue Reading