April 3, 2000 |
There is a notion out there that television--with its bag of fast-paced tricks making today's children virtual junkies for overstimulation--will be the death of reading, if it hasn't already done the deed. But it's also been clear--for the last three decades, at least--that television's formidable powers can serve the cause of literacy as well. So PBS stations nationwide today will launch a series that may be the medium's most ambitious effort ever to help children learn to read.
March 20, 2000 |
Here's a problem for "Arthur" to ponder in an upcoming episode: What impact will the unfolding financial woes of the series' co-producer, Montreal-based Cinar Corp., have on the future of the PBS children's series? The answer could mean a lot to the Public Broadcasting Service. The animated "Arthur," based on the best-selling books, is PBS' top-rated children's show, and by PBS calculations, the most-watched children's show on television.
March 11, 2000 |
Seeking to build on its "Pokemon"-powered success among kids and especially boys, the WB network has made a deal for a new animated series based on the comic book "X-Men," which could benefit from catching the coattails of a big-budget feature film due this summer. If "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" brought ABC a complete reversal of its prime-time fortune, "Pokemon" has done much the same for the WB in the kids ratings race.
October 17, 1999 |
Inside the Federal Trade Commission's monolith of cement and steel, some of the agency's finest lawyers are reading not only Legal Times but Billboard, Daily Variety and the Hollywood Reporter. They are poring over lists of more than 15,000 films rated since 1968, watching MTV videos and perusing gory computer games. Next month, they plan to take a field trip to San Luis Obispo to hear actor Ernest Borgnine at a forum on violence in the movies.
August 26, 1999 |
Fiona Phillips just wants to be a normal teenager, living aboard her mother's rock 'n' roll tour bus, surfing the Net and squabbling with her older brother like any other kid. So why does she keep bumping into spirits, astral beings and other creepy things? We'll begin to understand why life's so strange for Fiona when Disney Channel's family adventure series "So Weird" returns Friday night for its new season.
June 22, 1999 |
Some critics--including our very own Howard Rosenberg--contend the 1990s represent the real "Golden Age" of prime-time series, citing shows ranging from "Frasier" to "Ally McBeal" to "NYPD Blue." Others--including members of my very own family--cling more fondly to the past, arguing that nothing today rivals "The Honeymooners," "The Dick Van Dyke Show" or "The Twilight Zone." Hey, reasonable minds can differ.
April 30, 1999 |
The idea of Mickey Mouse, who starred in some of the most beautifully animated cartoons in the history of the medium, appearing in limited television animation sounds almost blasphemous. But "Disney's Mickey MouseWorks," the new series from Walt Disney Television Animation premiering Saturday at 11 a.m. on ABC, has a bright, fresh look, and while no one would mistake these cartoons for "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" in "Fantasia," they look downright lavish by TV standards.
April 17, 1999 |
Is it sheer coincidence or revenge of the "Teletubbies"? Has "Tinky Winky Comes Out of the Closet," televangelist Jerry Falwell's National Liberty Journal's attack in February on the big purple fellow, drawn more viewers to the PBS show? Or has the toddler-preschooler set for whom the program originally was intended, and their older siblings and parents, merely heard so much about this gang of four sugary-sweet techno-babies with TV screen-like bellies that they must tune in too?
March 19, 1999 |
Six months ago, Hugo Stevenson was a food delivery guy in the San Fernando Valley with a good idea, but no clue how to run a business. Two months ago, life wasn't improving. Stevenson was broke and $90,000 in debt. But last month he was standing in a showroom at Toy Fair here with the rights to turn Sid and Marty Krofft's creatures--from Krofft-created TV shows like "H.R. Pufnstuf," "Sigmund and the Sea Monsters" and "The Bugaloos"--into toys.