Nov 4, 2009

Holiday furloughs hit WNET

Employees at WNET in New York will have three unpaid days off between Christmas and New Year's Day, according to Crain's New York Business. Senior managers at the pubTV station will have five days of unpaid leave. Production staffers involved in daily shows will be exempt.

Kids' writing contest revived after Rainbow's end

PBS is picking up where Reading Rainbow left off, launching a new annual writing and drawing contest for children in cahoots with public TV stations around the country. More at

Viewers get grouchy over "Pox News"

Now here's an unexpected question: Did Sesame Street take a poke at Fox News? That's what PBS Ombudsman Michael Getler is looking at in this week's Mailbag. In the Oct. 29 episode, Oscar the Grouch hosted the Grouch News Network, covering "all grouchy, all disgustin', all yucky" news. But another character thinks it's not grouchy enough and threatens to switch to "Pox News, now there's a trashy news show." Viewers wrote Getler to complain that the character actually said "Fox" News. "I can't really blame them," Getler writes. "When I went and watched the tape for the first time, I thought I heard 'Fox' as well, perhaps because of the association one assumes when you hear 'news' right after the word." But closed captioning revealed it was indeed Pox News.

New York, New York, that Sesame town

New York magazine is celebrating 40 years of Sesame Street with a pageful of fascinating factoids in its current issue. A few: The show was almost called 123 Avenue B. Designer Charles Rosen based the set "on an amalgam of streets in Harlem, the Bronx, the Upper West Side," according to the mag. The very first episode on Nov. 10, 1969, was sponsored by the letters W, S and E, and the numbers 2 and 3. And Big Bird is still played by Caroll Spinney, now 75 years old. In other Sesame news, don't miss the new show opening.

ITVS announces fictional exploration of a future America

Eleven fictional mini-features, each 15 minutes, created by indie filmmakers will ponder what America may look like in the future. The ITVS project, FutureStates, will run exclusively on its new website in March 2010. ITVS said in a statement that the industry will get a peek at the series at AFI's Digifest on Thursday in Los Angeles.