Can Sesame Street ‘s new website compete with other kidvid networks?

“Sesame Street’s new website is no ‘Gabba Gabba’,” writes Maria Russo in an Los Angeles Times review. “It pains me to says this as someone who grew up loving PBS–overall, on Noggin and Playhouse Disney, the creativity factor is in another league,” and those networks have “more fun computer games,” she writes, referencing Nick Jr.’s “funkadelic variety show” Yo Gabba Gabba. Sesame’s game-driven site, which officially launches August 11 (sneak peak here), is hosted by Sesame Workshop instead of PBS, the show’s primary broadcaster, and cost $14 million to develop, according to an earlier New York Times story. Navigation is preschool-friendly–the cursor is a star instead of an arrow, sparkles indicate which images are clickable, and a boisterous Muppet leads children through the site. “We view this as really the future of the workshop, as becoming the primary channel of distribution down the line,” Gary E. Knell, president and chief executive of Sesame Workshop, told the Times. 

Lehrer and Ifill to moderate debates

The Commission on Presidential Debates has announced the moderators, schedule and locations for the three presidential debates and one v.p. debate. The Newshour’s Jim Lehrer will moderate the first presidential debate on Sept. 26 at the University of Mississippi in Oxford, Miss., and Gwen Ifill, Newshour correspondent and Washington Week anchor, will moderate the v.p. debate on Oct. 2 at Washington University in St. Louis, Mo.

Online flames over Feulner’s legacy

Blair Feulner’s exit from KPCW in Park City, Utah, is the “end of a sleazy era,” writes Salt Lake Tribune columnist Rebecca Walsh. Some online commenters point to “sleaze” elsewhere. The Tribune also reports that KPCW withdrew its late-filed FCC applications to build six new noncommercial stations. “Part of what you’re seeing is the effect that a stronger and more independent board of trustees is having on the direction of Community Wireless,” says Joe Wrona, spokesperson and executive committee member for KCPW’s licensee.

All FCC indecency policing is bogus, networks claim

In a brief filed today with the Supreme Court, ABC, CBS and NBC claimed that the legal underpinnings of the landmark Pacifica decision and other content regulation precedents are no longer valid, Broadcasting & Cable reports. The filing is in support of Fox in an indecency case that the Court will hear later this year — the FCC asked the justices to reconsider a lower court’s finding that the commission was wrong to fine Fox for airing curse words uttered during a live awards show broadcast. The FCC wants the justices to consider only narrow legal questions specific to the case, but the networks in their filing urged the Court to broadly examine the legality of broadcast indecency enforcement as a whole. “The antiquated notion of spectrum scarcity can no longer serve as a basis for according only ‘relaxed scrutiny’ to content restrictions in the broadcast media,” they argued, according to B&C. “Nor can the outmoded premises of Pacifica — that over-the-air broadcasting is ‘uniquely pervasive’ or ‘uniquely accessible to children.’” (See timeline of notable indecency regulation developments here.)

Fan fights for weekly broadcasts of Rogers

A devoted Mister Rogers fan has started a campaign to restore daily broadcasts of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood to PBS stations. Brian Linder is protesting the network’s decision to feed episodes of the show on a weekly basis starting next month. “As long as children need to be nurtured, then there is a place for this program because there’s nothing else like it,” Linder tells the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

NPR acquires Public Interactive

NPR and Public Radio International announced yesterday that NPR will acquire Public Interactive, PRI’s web services company. PRI will continue to manage sales and marketing for PI until the end of the year. A memo to NPR stations excerpted on PRPD’s blog said, “Public media’s web capabilities are dramatically under-resourced and clearly, we need to pool resources to develop our collective potential.”