Sesame Street will be celebrating Canadian culture like never before with the fall launch of a Canadian co-production called Sesame Park.
The half-hour program, whose content will come mostly from the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, the country’s public broadcaster, is ‘a logical and necessary growth and extension of the work that we’ve been doing with the Children’s Television Workshop,’ says Peter Moss, CBC’s creative head of TV children’s programs.
Since 1973, three years after Sesame Street started airing in Canada, CBC has created segments for the show. It currently supplies just 22 percent of content.
‘I do think it’s important that children in Canada know that they don’t live in the Bronx or Brooklyn, that they live in a Canadian environment that has a different set of morals, a different set of values, different kinds of people behaving in different ways,’ says Moss.
‘We’re very enthusiastic about the content of the program,’ says Matthew Eddy, a production associate with New York-based Children’s Television Workshop. While the series will be typical of a Sesame Street co-production, it will benefit from CBC’s long experience in developing Canadian segments.
CBC will produce about 60 percent of Sesame Park, and will incorporate letter and number sequences, as well as scenes with popular characters such as Bert and Ernie, from the American series.
The show will feature the four Canadian muppets who have come on board since 1984: Dodi, a grandmother, pilot and general store owner; Basil, a polar bear; Louis, a French-speaking otter; and Katie, a girl in a wheelchair. A kitten named Chaos will join the crew.
As the name implies, the show will be set mainly in a park. Moss says a park was chosen because parks are common to most Canadian cities.
Sesame Park will run during CBC Playground, the broadcaster’s Monday to Saturday morning time slot.