Teletubbies in Britain: craze, controversy and consumer frenzy

Teletubbies haven’t officially landed in the U.S. public TV schedule yet, but they’ve already roused controversy in Britain and landed a great big licensing deal over here. Hasbro, makers of Playskool Baby and other major toy brands, will introduce a range of Teletubbies products–soft toys, figures, games, puzzles, bath toys and other items–by next fall. “It was important to find a partner who understands that young children need to be nurtured, not exploited,” said Kenn Viselman, president of the itsy bitsy Entertainment Co., which holds licensing rights to Teletubbies in the U.S. and Canada. Teletubbies, the children’s TV program that sparked both a craze and outrage in Britain with its debut on BBC2 this year, will begin airing on PBS’s Ready to Learn Service in April. If the British response to the show is any indication of what to expect from U.S. audiences, brace yourselves for a consumer grabfest of purple dinosaur proportions.