The 41st Annual Daytime Entertainment Creative Arts Emmy Awards were held Friday night at the Westin Bonaventure in downtown Los Angeles drawing 1,200 attendees for The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences gala. Among networks, PBS chalked up the most wins at 12, followed by Nickelodeon (10), syndicated shows (10), CBS (8), HUB Network (6), TOLN.com (5), ABC (3), Cooking Channel (3), Cartoon Network (2), MeTV (2), YouTube (2), Disney Channel (1), HGTV (1), MTV (1), mipromise.com (1) and OWN (1). Among TV shows, the wins were as follows: Sesame Street(6), The Ellen DeGeneres Show(5), The Bold and the Beautiful (4), Peg+Cat (3), All My Children (3), Giada in Paradise (3), Peter Rabbit (3), The Young and the Restless (3), Bubble Guppies (2), General Hospital (2), Green Screen Adventures (2), Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness (2), Ocean Mysteries with Jeff Corwin (2), One Life to Live (2), The Scarecrow (2), Star Wars: The Clone Wars (2) and Transformers: Prime Beast Hunters (2).
A half-hour edition of the iconic children’s show will begin airing in the afternoon September 1 on PBS stations, with selected episodes also set to be available for the first time at PBSKids.org and the PBS Kids app. That’s a nod to the increase in mobile viewing, with streaming video on the app up 34% year-over-year; PBS Kids averages more than 12 million unique visitors per month online, and the app draws more than 1.5 million users each month. “These days, families expect to be able to connect with their favorite Sesame Street friends at any time of day,” said Terry Fitzpatrick, Chief Content and Distribution Officer at Sesame Workshop. “The new afternoon show is a great complement to our continuing efforts to reach more kids with engaging lessons that will help them grow smarter, stronger and kinder.”
A trio of sex with minors cases against former Sesame Street puppeteer Kevin Clash were dismissed today based on the statute of limitations. A U.S District judge ruled Monday that Clash’s accusers had six years to file claims against the Elmo voicer and all missed the deadline. Judge John Koeltl wrote that claims by the trio that they were unaware until last year of the psychological and emotional effects of what happened simply didn’t make sense. “They were aware of the facts that while minors, the defendant had engaged in sexual activities with them in violation of one or more federal statutes,” noted the NY-based federal judge in a 28-page opinion and order (read it here) “For the reasons explained above, the defendant’s motion to dismiss is granted. The Clerk is directed to enter judgment and to close these cases,” the judge added. The cases dismissed today were from Cecil Singleton, who said he had contact with Clash in 2003, Kevin Kiadii, who claimed an affair in 2004, and a John Doe who alleged that the puppeteer flew him to Florida for encounters back in the 1990s. The trio could still appeal. Clash left Sesame Streetlast November when allegations of a sexual relation with a … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Once again Sesame Workshop is handing out pink slips. Around 30 employees at the producers of Sesame Streetwere let go today. This comes just more than a year after a dozen employees were shown the door at the non-profit last May. “We at Sesame Workshop are not immune to the challenges of today’s economic environment. After careful review, we have concluded that we must operate, and achieve our strategic priorities with fewer resources. Therefore, we have reluctantly determined that we must reduce our workforce by approximately 10%,” said CEO H. Melvin Ming in a note sent to staff this afternoon. Among those who have been let go are former Newsweek Inc CEO and Nickelodeon executive Tom Ascheim, who joined the company in March 2012 as EVP of the Sesame Learning program. Sesame Learning will be absorbed into other divisions of the company, Ming said today. The CEO also announced that the Corporate Strategy and the Business Systems Programming groups will be dissolved as of July 1st. Sesame Workshop’s Global Education department will also be melded into other units. Read More »
Sesame Street and Young Turks are among 30 YouTube services that, beginning today, will offer content to people who pay a subscription fee following a 14-day free trial period. They’ll cost an average of $2.99 a month, payable via credit card or Google Wallet, and some will go for as little as 99 cents, says YouTube Director of Content Partnerships Malik Ducard. Some will also have ads, but a majority won’t. Google will collect about 45% of the subscription and ad revenue. Most of the content will be available on demand but Ducard says the initiative will accommodate live transmissions. In addition, content providers can choose where among 10 countries they’d like to distribute their material. Others are expected to also launch subscription services on YouTube using what Ducard calls a “self-service” model. Sesame Street will start off providing full episodes of the TV show. YouTube lists participating channels here. The list includes Rap Battle Network, Baby First Plus, BIGSTAR Movies, Big Think, DHX Junior TV, Cars.tv, I Love Docs Channel, Gravitas Movies, HD Net, National Geographic Kids, Nelvana’s Treehouse Direct, (Roger) Corman’s Drive-In, DocuRama, NuestroPix, Gay Direct, PrimeZone Sports, Acorn TV, Laugh Factory VIP, PGA Digital Golf Academy, and UFC Select.
A fourth man has filed a lawsuit against Sesame Street puppeteer Kevin Clash alleging sexual abuse. The latest suit was filed today in Miami, NBC News reports. The unidentified accuser claims Clash befriended him in late 1995 or early 1996 and flew him from Miami to New York where the abuse allegedly occurred. Clash resigned after 28 years on Sesame Street last month after a second accuser filed suit alleging he had underage sex with the puppeteer. The first accuser in the scandal came forward in early November after filing a lawsuit; Clash was put on leave by series producer Sesame Workshop; that accuser later recanted his story.
A third man has filed a lawsuit against Sesame Street puppeteer Kevin Clash, the longtime actor behind the PBS series’ leading character Elmo who resigned last week amid allegations of having underage sex with boys. The latest suit, filed today in Manhattan, is from an unidentified Florida man who claims that he and Clash connected on a gay telephone chat line when the man was 16 in 2000, and the two had sexual encounters at Clash’s New York apartment. A spokeswoman says Clash “believes this lawsuit has no merit.” Clash stepped down a week ago after a second accuser filed suit alleging he had underage sex with Clash, who had been on Sesame Street for 28 years. The first accuser in the scandal came forward earlier this month after filing a lawsuit; Clash was put on leave by series producer Sesame Workshop; that accuser later recanted his story.
UPDATED:Sesame Street producer Sesame Workshop made it official on its blog this morning as a lawsuit was being filed in New York federal court charging Elmo puppeteer Kevin Clash with sexual abuse of a minor, according to the Associated Press. The suit — which alleges that Cecil Singleton, then 15 and now an adult, was persuaded by Clash to meet for sexual encounters — marks the second accuser to come forward and allege an underage relationship with the multiple Emmy winner, who has been on the PBS series since 1982. Earlier this month, an unidentified man said he had a sexual relationship with Clash beginning when the man was 16. Clash took a leave of absence after those allegations were made public, but his accuser the next day took back his story, claiming the relationship was adult and consensual, and Clash said he was “relieved that this painful allegation has been put to rest”. Here’s Sesame Workshop’s statement today announcing Clash’s departure: Read More »
The unidentified man who said longtime Sesame Street puppeteer Kevin Clash had a sexual relationship with him while he was underage has taken back his story. Through a release from his Pennsylvania law firm, the man said today that his relationship with Clash, was both adult and consensual. The revelation comes a day after Clash, who has voiced and operated Sesame Street‘s signature monster Elmo for 27 years, was granted a leave of absence by the show’s producer Sesame Workshop when the allegations came to light. Sesame Workshop said it was approached by a 23-year-old man in June who alleged that he had a relationship with Clash beginning when he was 16. The company met with the accuser twice and also met with Clash, who denied the accusation. “We also conducted a thorough investigation and found the allegation of underage conduct to be unsubstantiated,” the company said yesterday. Sesame Workshop said it granted the leave so Clash could “protect his reputation” against what he described as “false and defamatory” accusations. Today, Clash issued a statement saying he is “relieved that this painful allegation has been put to rest.” There was no indication of when Clash would return to the show, his home since 1984.
Sesame Street‘s signature character Elmo will probably soon sound a little different. Kevin Clash, the puppeteer who has performed as the beloved red monster for the past 27 years, has been put on leave by Sesame Street producer Sesame Workshop over allegations he had a sexual relationship with a teen boy. The move comes on the heels of Sesame Street becoming a symbol of the campaign to defund PBS following Mitt Romney’s Big Bird comments during the first Presidential debate. Read More »
UPDATE, 10:22 AM: The production company behind Sesame Streetis not happy with the new Obama campaign ad slamming Mitt Romney and featuring footage of Big Bird (see it below). “Sesame Workshop is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization and we do not endorse candidates or participate in political campaigns. We have approved no campaign ads, and as is our general practice, have requested that the ad be taken down,” the company said today on its website. The Obama camp is reviewing Sesame Workshop’s concerns, a campaign aide told Deadline. Big Bird has become part of this year’s presidential contest since Romney reaffirmed in the first debate his plan to cut federal funding to PBS. The GOP candidate said he would make the cut despite his love of Big Bird.
The fallout over Mitt Romney’s presidential debate promise to cut federal funds to PBS continues with Jon Stewart turning the argument against Sesame Street on its fuzzy head. Then it’s a visit to This Week With George Snuffleupagus. Watch the video:
Jerry Nelson, a puppeteer with Sesame Street for more than four decades, has died. He was 78. Nelson was best known for voicing the numbers-obsessed Count von Count, but was behind dozens of beloved characters including Snuffleupagus, Sherlock Hemlock, Camilla the Chicken and Kermit’s nephew Robin. Nelson also played Gobo Fraggle on the Jim Henson series Fraggle Rock, and worked on several Muppet movies.
A statement on the Sesame Workshop website expressed the impact Nelson had on the long-running children’s series: “He will forever be in our hearts and remembered for the artistry in his puppetry, his music, and the laughter he brought to children worldwide. We will miss his extraordinary spirit and the joy he brought to our Street.”
The U.S. has halted funding for a Pakistani version of Sesame Street amid allegations of financial mismanagement by a local organization that co-developed the project. U.S. Embassy spokesman Robert Raines said the U.S. Agency for International Development terminated funding for the program but declined to provide further details, the Associated Press reports. The show was jointly developed by the Rafi Peer Theater Workshop in Pakistan and Sesame Workshop, creator of the American series. The show, which included Elmo and several new Pakistani characters, was aimed at improving education in the country and increasing tolerance. The Pakistan Today newspaper reported there were “severe” financial irregularities at Rafi Peer, citing unnamed sources close to the project, according to the AP. The show’s stars include 6-year-old Rani, who loves cricket and Pakistani music, and her 5-year-old sidekick Munna. Other characters include a singing donkey named Baily and Haseen O Jameel, a crocodile who lives at the bottom of a well. Rafi Peer is seeking alternative funding to continue the project.
EXCLUSIVE: About a dozen people were laid off today at Sesame Workshop, producers of Sesame Street. The job cuts were at the company’s main New York offices as it “shifted some resources to better align with our strategic priorities and new opportunities,” a company spokesperson told Deadline. So far the big cuts have been in the Digital Media department. In 2009, Sesame Workshop laid off more than 60 of its then 355 employees as the company was hit hard by a fall-off in donations and licensing revenue from the bad economy. H. Melvin Ming took over as Sesame Workshop president and CEO when Gary Knell moved on to become CEO of NPR. Ming had been COO. Sesame Street first debuted in 1969. The nonprofit Sesame Workshop produces programming for more than 150 countries worldwide.
The nominations for the 39th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards were announced this morning. ABC received 56 nominations, ahead of PBS (51), syndication (46), Nickelodeon (40), CBS (33), and NBC (24). General Hospital‘s 23 nominations topped Sesame Street (16), The Young And The Restless (16), Days Of Our Lives (15), and The Ellen DeGeneres Show(12). National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Chairman Malachy Wienges says that negotiations are still taking place to have the June 23 awards telecast. The awards are presented by NATAS in cooperation with the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. Here are the nominees in the main categories:
In the grand tradition of the Tinky Winky Teletubby, who was constantly dogged by speculation that he is gay, fellow pre-school characters Bert and Ernie from Sesame Street too have been battling rumors that they’re a closeted gay couple. The chatter picked up tremendously in the past few weeks with online petitions asking for the two roommates to get married, prompting the producers of the PBS children’s series to issue the following very awkward statement:
“Bert and Ernie are best friends. They were created to teach preschoolers that people can be good friends with those who are very different from themselves. Even though they are identified as male characters and possess many human traits and characteristics (as most Sesame Street Muppets do), they remain puppets, and do not have a sexual orientation.”