LOS ANGELES–Remember The Electric Company? PBS, as we learned this morning at press tour, is bringing back the educational kiddie franchise; the new series premieres in January. It will feature “literacy super heroes.” Wycliff Jean contributes some new songs.
I also learned, because I was sitting next to Alan Sepinwall (from The New Jersey Star-Ledger, who knows everything about TV), that Morgan Freeman was involved in the original version of this series. (The proof is the photo, above).
A clip was shown; it featured–just like the original–a bunch of white kids trying to act like black kids and black kids trying to act like white kids.
I wondered if kids raised on Family Guy and The Simpsons and video games would buy this kind of show today. The producer suggested over 50% of kids in America don’t have access to educational tools and would still rely on a show like this for literacy cues.
Unlike the original series, there will be no Spiderman cartoons in this version of The Electric Company. “Spiderman is a little bigger than he was in the ’70s,” explained the producer.
The session ended with a beat box performance by three of the young cast members; once I get a few technical wrinkled ironed out you can listen to it here.

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