The Electric Company Coming Back to TV!?
by Danielle Wood
"Hey, you guyyyys!" If you're a junkie like me, you won't have to read this phrase twice to know I'm talking about Rita Moreno's opening chant at the beginning of the now-defunct Sesame Street follow-up, The Electric Company. And you'll know, of course, that I mean the TV show The Electric Company, and not the guys who shut your power off when you don't pay your bills.
I admit it, I am one of those kids who grew up on PBS. My family had the whole hippy thing going-- Peter, Paul, and Mary cranked up in the car, books galore in the living room, and education-only programming during the small window we were allowed to watch TV, if at all. The Electric Company was that rare breed of TV birds that mom and kid could agree on-- mom liked the literacy bent, and I was partial to the cool music and the whacky actors running around in gorilla suits.
Now, rumor has it that the show is in for a reboot. PBS is updating the 70's phenomenon for a new generation, and replacing the old Motown with more modern beats. What won't change is the show's commitment to helping America's kids learn to read. And in an age when American Idol and High School Musical reign supreme, they plan to make the show's update a singing and dancing sensation.
The Electric Company update will focus on kids ages 6-9 and be heavy on phonics and vocabulary. But it will do it all underneath a rich overlay of quirky characters, scratching DJs, and superheroes. And just as always... expect some pratfalls. As for the gorillas? Only time will tell...
Danielle Wood is the Director of Editorial for Education.com. You can reach her at email@example.com