• Netflix is reviving the ’90s PBS Kids cartoon The Magic School Bus, commissioning 26 episodes of an revamped series that will join its streaming lineup in 2016. The Magic School Bus 360° will use computer-generated animation instead of following the original’s hand-drawn aesthetic, the New York Times reports. The on-demand TV service acquired rights to the program from Scholastic Media. Ted Sarandos, Netflix’s chief content officer, told NYT that the original PBS show is the top educational offering on the streaming platform. He also hinted that Netflix may embark on future partnerships with Scholastic, the producer behind other popular PBS Kids shows such as Clifford the Big Red Dog and WordGirl. • John Moe, host of American Public Media’s Wits, released a humor book this week that imagines communications between famous pop-culture figures. Dear Luke, We Need to Talk, Darth and Other Pop Culture Correspondences, published through Random House, follows the lead of Moe’s “Pop Song Correspondences” column for the online humor site McSweeney’s Internet Tendencies. • Florida Public Broadcasting Service, the nonprofit association of 26 public television and radio stations, is customizing more than 85,000 digital learning materials from the PBS LearningMedia library to meet mandatory state standards.
Ted Krichels, CPB’s senior v.p. for system development and media strategy, recently talked to Current about the 50-page “Public Media Models of the Future” report he co-authored this fall with PBS Director of Strategy Stephen Holmes. Edited, rearranged and condensed excerpts from that conversation follow. Current: How did you start the process? Did you survey the entire system, or was it more word of mouth? Ted Krichels: Stephen and I initially were collecting stations, ones you would have heard about.
PBS LearningMedia, a digital classroom resource for K–12 educators, topped more than 1 million registered users this month. Operated through a partnership of PBS and the WGBH Educational Foundation, the website offers more than 30,000 pieces of content to its users. The site is also rolling out a new premium tier with enhanced features; that service is now distributed statewide in Kentucky, New York and South Carolina. As part of its ongoing effort to promote classroom use of digital technology and build its user base, PBS LearningMedia launched “Get Your Tech On,” offering free access to its webinars and how-to guides through Nov. 1.