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Since this entry is all about a program that’s all about “learning,” let’s start with the facts.
Starting this next season, and for at least the next five years, new episodes of Sesame Street will appear first on HBO and its online streaming service, along with selected old episodes.
Street reruns will still appear on PBS, in hour and half-hour formats. After a nine-month HBO exclusive “window,” the new episodes will appear on PBS also.
Up to this point, Sesame Workshop (née Children’s Television Workshop), the indie nonprofit that’s made the show these 46 years, has relied on two main streams of funding:
With the industrywide collapse of CD/DVD sales, the latter has been a less reliable source of money.
And with more PBS Kids shows on the daily schedule vying for the same corporate/government bucks, the former has also been less lucrative.
As production money got harder to get, the Street got fewer and fewer episodes every season. But with HBO’s money, the show will produce 35 episodes next season, up from 18 the year before. (In its early days, the show produced 130 hours a year.)
At the network’s 1970 launch, Sesame Street was essentially PBS’s first hit. It was one of three series (the others were Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood and The French Chef) that continued on from PBS’s even more-underfunded predecessor, NET (National Educational Television).
It’s not hard to say there would have been no Nova, no Frontline, no Masterpiece Theatre without the Street’s initial popularity, drawing audiences to the previously little-watched local “educational” channels.
While its ratings, its episode orders, and its merch sales have shrank in recent years, it remains the third longest running “scripted” show on American TV. (Only General Hospital and Days of Our Lives, among currently in-production shows, have lasted longer.)
You can now make up your own “Sesame Street on HBO” joke here. Many already have. About Carrie Bradshaw and the gang turning Bert and Ernie’s tenement into a ritzy condo; or about Elmo facing a Game of Thrones surprise slaying; or about Big Bird and Oscar as Tony Soprano’s newest henchmen.
Just remember that, along with the “naughty” sitcoms and the “artistic violence” dramas, HBO’s also the channel that gave you Fairie Tale Theatre, Little Lulu, and Fraggle Rock (another Jim Henson co-creation).
But without the Street having its exclusive home on the nonprofit network, what will PBS’s defenders invoke when the Republicans next threaten to cut off its (relatively paltry and very incomplete) federal funding?
Time says HBO pursued the Street because it really wanted to get more young viewers hooked on its on-demand and streaming platforms.
Jessica Winter at Slate says the move symbolizes “the ultra-efficient sorting process of socioeconomic privilege,” and compares it to the drastic cuts faced by Head Start and other pre-K programs for non-rich kids.
mark mulligan, ap via seattlepi.com
I had to break my three-month unplanned blogging hiatus to write about this.
But it’s been more than three days since the event, and I still haven’t figured out what to say.
As a few of you know, I went to the old Marysville High School. After I left, it merged with the newer Pilchuck campus. The combined Marysville-Pilchuck school took Marysville High’s red-and-white colors and “Tomahawks” team name.
My younger brother attended MPHS. (The campus is just up the road a bit from the family’s old house.) He knew many of the families involved in last Friday’s horrible shooting, including the extended family that included the shooter and the shooter’s cousins (two of the victims).
Marysville was never much of a town. The half-mile square old town (grid streets, sidewalks) was just a centrifugal point for miles of suburban and exurban sprawl, and for the Tulalip Indian Reservation.
“The Rez” was where dozens of tribes (some of whom hated each other) had been forcibly relocated in the second half of the 19th century. While the Tulalips as a whole were not as impoverished as some other tribes, they still had to deal with issues of cultural identity, drug/alcohol abuse, and the rest.
I left Marysville long before the shooter, Jaylen Fryberg, was born. But Everett Herald writer Andrew Gobin did know Fryberg. Gobin can’t figure out what happened either.
But if he or I don’t have a clue, at least we’re more knowledgable than the wingnuts who are already spreading so-called “false flag” conspiracy theories and blaming, of all people, New York ex-mayor Michael Bloomberg. (The premise being that gun-control advocates would hypnotize boys into shooting people, in order to promote taking guns away from other people.)
It’s patently false and ridiculous, but it’s more of a “rational” explanation than anything you can find in the reality of the tragedy.
elaine thompson/ap via kiro-tv
When I was in high school, I once saw a recruiting brochure for Seattle Pacific University. The cover photo depicted a real street sign, apparently somewhere near North 46th and Aurora, with two arrows. The left-pointing arrow was labeled “ZOO.” The right-pointing arrow was labeled “Seattle Pacific University.”
The brochure’s copy explained that SPU was neither a party school nor a gargantuan state enterprise. It was a small, quiet place, where nice Christian youth could get nice Christian educations. I would later learn that students entering SPU signed contracts promising not to smoke, drink, or have non-marital sex.
If there was a place where psycho gunmen wouldn’t likely appear, this would be it.
Or so one might think.
But, alas, not.
It happened two years after the Cafe Racer/Town Hall shootings; days after the Santa Barbara, CA shootings; not too many years after the rave after-party and Jewish Federation office shootings; and in the collective wakes of so many other shootings in so many other parts of this nation.
And as long as certain political interests consider gun nuts to be useful idiots, this will not end.
pelican bay foundation via capitolhillseattle.com
First, another “sorry folks” for not getting something up to the site lately. I know some of you enjoy these li’l linx, even when I don’t have a major essay about something.
For now, back to Randomosity:
satoshi kon's 'paprika' (2006); via film.com
art_es_anna at flickr via kplu
imagined audio-book listeners on a train, 1894
Back in the early days of telephones and phonograph records (1894 to be precise), essayist Octave Uzanne claimed “The End of Books” would soon be at hand. Uzanne predicted people would much rather listen to storytellers (with what are now called audio books) than read:
Our eyes are made to see and reflect the beauties of nature, and not to wear themselves out in the reading of texts; they have been too long abused, and I like to fancy that some one will soon discover the need there is that they should be relieved by laying a greater burden upon our ears. This will be to establish an equitable compensation in our general physical economy.
Elsewhere in randomosity:
…(T)he madness of the GOP is the central issue of our time.
…The success of the avant-garde marks its failure. This is not news. We’ve been domesticated, no matter how fantastic and provocative we might be, into just one niche culture among many. We’re fun, and good, and even progressive, but all the rest of it is fantasy.
…fraudulently collecting $11 billion in government aid by recruiting low-income students for the purpose of collecting student aid money. Whistleblowers claim that students graduate loaded with debt and without the means to pay off the loans, which are then paid for with taxpayer dollars.
the reason stick at blogspot
When you tell someone with depression that they should maybe try harder to be happy, it’s essentially like telling a diabetic that they could totally make an adequate amount of insulin if they just concentrated a little harder.
chris luckhardt via seriouslyforreal.com
wu ming, via daily kos