EMMY AWARD-WINNING ICONIC CHILDREN'S SERIES, THE ELECTRIC COMPANY, SHEDS A LIGHT ON LITERACY WITH ITS THIRD SEASON PREMIERING FEBRUARY 7, 2011 ON PBS KIDS GO!(R)
New Episodes Targeting Kids Six-to-Nine-Years-Old Introduce New Cast Members and a Curriculum That Focuses on the Vocabulary of Mathematics
New York, December 20th, 2010 - While many children's shows have come and gone, The Electric Company is a franchise that has staying power. In a class by itself, this Emmy Award-winning series is set to launch season three February 7 with 12 new episodes airing every Monday on PBS KIDS GO! (check your local listings) just 40 short years after the show's critically-acclaimed debut. Produced by Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit educational organization behind Sesame Street, the new season of the innovative program stays relevant by continuing its focus on literacy and highlighting the vocabulary of mathematics. The modern adaptation of the daily half-hour show comes back with new original animations, toe-tapping music videos and exciting narrative storylines. Plus, two new characters and an all new celebrity line-up are sure to get kids hollering, "Hey You GUUUUUYYS!"
Extending the primary goal of literacy skills development, the theme for this season of The Electric Company is math vocabulary. Children in the United States are falling behind students in other countries in the areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Additionally, a study released this month shows that American students' math scores, in particular, continue to fall below the global average. By introducing words that are related to topics like probability, coin value and measurement, The Electric Company is providing children language to discuss, explore and further their understanding of these concepts. Mastering foundational literacy skills and numeracy concepts are essential for success in and beyond elementary school.
"By building a foundation of math vocabulary and concepts at an early age, The Electric Company aims to help children bolster their understanding, knowledge and motivation with these curricular concepts - something that is crucial to their future success," said Karen Fowler, Executive Producer. "As always, we work to seamlessly weave these core concepts into funny, engaging stories, memorable music and goofy animations. The addition of two young cast members to our existing talented cast as well as new animated characters has brought a freshness and playfulness to the third season that will excite our core audience and invite new kids into the experience."
Two new regular characters join the talented group of young performers: Coy Stewart (Are We There Yet?) who plays the newest member of The Electric Company, Marcus Barnes, inherits a math superpower once he joins the crew; and Carly Sonenclar (Broadway's Les Miserables), portrays Gilda Flip, a prankster-in-training. In the introductory episode of the season, Marcus has just found out he has the wordball power�kind of. The Electric Company tries to help Marcus improve his wordball throwing skills so he can join them. Meanwhile, Francine and Gilda ask Manny to build a machine that can help them prevent Marcus from becoming the newest member of The Electric Company.
"Literacy and math are among the core curricular areas that we focus on at PBS," added Linda Simensky, Vice President Children's Programming, PBS. "The Electric Company continues to give kids the opportunity to build these critical skills by engaging with fun and comical characters on television, as well as across multiple platforms."
Everything about the third season of The Electric Company is fresh! Brand new beatboxing segments with Shock, music videos and storylines feature bold-faced names such as Tony Award-winning actor Alan Cumming, rockers Benji and Joel Madden of Good Charlotte, music producer and rapper Swizz Beats, comedian and SNL alumni Jenny Slate, comedian Sherrod Small, The Daily Show's Wyatt Cenac and the original beatboxer Doug E. Fresh.
Kids are plugged into The Electric Company making it one of the top PBS KIDS shows on weekdays among children ages six-eight - and the current doesn't stop there. The show's hit website, PBSKIDSGO.org/electriccompany, has had nearly sixteen million site visits and nearly 45 million Electric Company video clips played since its launch in January 2009. The Electric Company website will relaunch on Feb 7th with a new look integrating and introducing all of the new characters and a new community feed where kids can see what other kids are doing on the website. The website will also have three new interactive games to support and expand the curriculum and narrative content of the new season and will feature characters from the live action and animated cast of The Electric Company. Players can create their own stories, build words in "Manny's Word Mangler" or judge the next "Electric Company Star" in 24 unique gameplay experiences. Additionally, kids will also be able to see new and exclusive behind-the-scenes videos, interviews and bloopers that will be rolled out each week. The Electric Company will also launch its first mobile app in early 2011, to help kids continue to build key literacy skills on the go.
The Electric Company is part of PBS KIDS Raising Readers, a national literacy initiative focused on using public media to improve the reading skills for children ages two-to-eight, with an emphasis on children from low-income families. The effort is funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) and a Ready To Learn grant from the U.S. Department of Education, part of a cooperative agreement with CPB and PBS.
About Sesame Workshop
Sesame Workshop is the nonprofit educational organization that revolutionized children's television programming with the landmark Sesame Street. The Workshop produces local Sesame Street programs, seen in over 140 countries, and other acclaimed shows to help bridge the literacy gap including The Electric Company. Beyond television, the Workshop produces content for multiple media platforms on a wide range of issues including literacy, health and military deployment. Initiatives meet specific needs to help young children and families develop critical skills, acquire healthy habits and build emotional strength to prepare them for lifelong learning. Learn more at www.sesameworkshop.org.
About PBS KIDS
PBS KIDS, the number one educational media brand for kids, offers all children the opportunity to explore new ideas and new worlds through television, online and community-based programs. More than 21 million children watch PBS KIDS on TV, and more than 21 million engage with PBS KIDS online each quarter. For more information on specific PBS KIDS programs supporting literacy, science, math and more, visit PBS.org/pressroom.
About the Corporation for Public Broadcasting
CPB, a private, nonprofit corporation created by Congress in 1967, is the steward of the federal government's investment in public broadcasting. It helps support the operations of more than 1000 locally owned and operated public television and radio stations nationwide, and is the largest single source of funding for research, technology, and program development for public radio, television, and related on-line services.