New Show 2009: The Electric Company

PBS, Fridays Beginning Jan. 23 (Premiere Event Jan. 19)

Hey You Guuuuuuuyyyyyysss welcome back the Electric Company
If you remember The Electric Company, then you’re pretty far outside the age group for which it originally was intended. Created by the Children’s Television Workshop, the folks who created Sesame Street, The Electric Company was a similar program with a like agenda — to help kids learn to read. With short sketches, both live-action and animated, the show sought to use measured, deliberate repetition of letters and words to teach fundamental reading skills to its audience. It was as effective as it was entertaining, featuring an incredible variety of talents including Rita Moreno, Mel Brooks, Bill Cosby, Gene Wilder, an as-yet-unknown Morgan Freeman and many others.

Now, more than 30 years after it left the air, The Electric Company is getting a rebirth on PBS. For nostalgists looking forward to their beloved show’s return, you might want to scoop up the DVDs of the original series. Remember: This isn’t about you, but about today’s kids. True to form, 2009’s The Electric Company is serious in its mission to entertain and teach kids. Using updated technology and a fresh cast of essentially unknowns, the recharged version centers on four young “do-gooders” who use their super reading powers to keep their neighborhood safe and solve problems caused by a rival group, the Pranksters.

With a decidedly up-to-date street vibe consistent with the Sesame Workshop’s other projects, The Electric Company looks to be a hip, fresh renewal of the group’s commitment to helping advance childhood development, getting kids’ attention and keeping them absorbed in the fun of learning and reading.

© 2008 Sesame Workshop. All Rights Reserved. Credit: Anthony Causi