Saturday, August 15, 2015

The Selling of Big Bird And How It Could Have Been Prevented (Or, At Least Improved)

After 45 years as a free-to-air public television program initially designed to educate pre-school children in impoverished areas, SESAME STREET, through its producers Sesame Workshop, and HBO have signed a landmark agreement wherin all new episodes of the Street will be initially broadcast on the mostly adult-oriented pay-television channel before appearing on PBS nine months later.

HELLOOOOO, Sesame Workshop, anybody at home in those brains which were supposed to be enhanced by the trail-blazing program from whence comes your name? You guys are on cable right now. In case you've forgotten, off-network SS repeats are currently aired on Comcast NBC Universal's Sprout, which recently beat Disney, Nick and Cartoon Network to be voted THE NUMBER ONE KIDS' BRAND, and they did it thanks to programming dedicated to basically the same concepts as the Street. (BTW, check out "Nina's World," featuring a character from Sprout's "Good Night Show" depicted as a girl growing up in El Barrio. The voice cast includes my CWPF Rita Moreno as Nina's abuela (grandma), and Michele Lepe, the actress-singer who plays Nina on the Good Night Show, is the creator and executive producer.  Sounds like must see TV for kids (or as the network calls 'em, Sproutlets) of all ages! Stay tuned for more details as they become available!) Sprout would be a better fit for SESAME STREET on so many levels: Not only would it continue to run on Sprout, but there would also be a reunion with Sprout's corporate sibling, NBC, where "This Way to Sesame Street," a preview special, aired in the weeks leading up to the Street's November 1969 debut. On weekends, Sprout airs many of its popular shows in the NBC Kids block, and SESAME STREET would be a natural choice for an anchor show. Talentwise, many SNLers have dropped by the Street, but it would be fun if a lot more NBC prime time stars stopped by to poke a little good clean fun at themselves while teaching the important things. (How about Matt Lauer and Savannah Guthrie interviewing the Cookie Monster, for example?) Also, such great comedy writers for the grown-up comedy shows on NBC, including Colin Jost, Fred Arminsen, and, OF COURSE, Seth Meyers, could contribute bits.

And it doesn't end there. Universal Pictures could produce more family-friendly movies in the tradition of "Follow That Bird," "Cinderelmo," and "Elmo in Grouchland," and Universal Theme Parks could run Sesame Place (in Langhorne, PA) and produce Sesame Street-related entertainment for its parks in Hollywood and Orlando and add a special attraction to the NBC Studio Tour at Rockefeller Center. (Since Disney is now the owner of Marvel, a complete move for Spidey, Cap and the other characters who currently "live" on Marvel Super Hero Island at Uni in Florida away from the Uni parks isn't out of the question. New Sesame Places in those parks would be a no-brainer!)

So, Sesame Workshop, the bottom line is, YOUR bottom line could have been improved without complaints about how you joined the one percent, and everybody, including your loyal PBS viewers, (who would probably receive your original episodes in weeks, not months) would be the richer for it.

This blog has been brought to you by the letters S,L, and E (as in Steven Long Eisenpreis, your humble servant) and the number 30. (as in, That's it! I'm out!)

P.S.: I am a proud shareholder of Comcast, the parent company of NBCUniversal, including Sprout and related entities.

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