Aug 6, 2008

Pre-broadcast backlash against Nova Bible program

Nova's "The Bible's Buried Secrets," scheduled to air Nov. 18 and still in production, is already raising the ire of the conservative Christian American Family Association, whose members have written scores of letters to PBS Ombudsman Michael Getler (scroll down). Apparently prompted by an Orlando Sentinel story that referred to a clip of the program and panel discussion from the summer Television Critics Association press tour, AFA founder Donald E. Wildmon sent out an "action alert" asking his flock to sign "a petition urging Congress to stop using tax dollars to fund PBS." Wildmon wrote: "The Public Broadcasting System, probably the most liberal network in America, will present a program this fall that says the Old Testament is a bunch of made-up stories that never happened." In a response in Getler's column, series Executive Producer Paula Apsell said program "represents mainstream archeological and biblical scholarly thinking about the Hebrew Bible." She told the Boston Globe she didn't think the attack would get much traction. "I think when people watch the program they'll find it much less fearsome than they expected." (See the program website here).

Can Sesame Street 's new website compete with other kidvid networks?

"Sesame Street's new website is no 'Gabba Gabba'," writes Maria Russo in an Los Angeles Times review. "It pains me to says this as someone who grew up loving PBS--overall, on Noggin and Playhouse Disney, the creativity factor is in another league," and those networks have "more fun computer games," she writes, referencing Nick Jr.'s "funkadelic variety show" Yo Gabba Gabba. Sesame's game-driven site, which officially launches August 11 (sneak peak here), is hosted by Sesame Workshop instead of PBS, the show's primary broadcaster, and cost $14 million to develop, according to an earlier New York Times story. Navigation is preschool-friendly--the cursor is a star instead of an arrow, sparkles indicate which images are clickable, and a boisterous Muppet leads children through the site. "We view this as really the future of the workshop, as becoming the primary channel of distribution down the line," Gary E. Knell, president and chief executive of Sesame Workshop, told the Times