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The talk over Teletubbies

The preschool-targeted television series may be the most controversial program for young children to hit the airwaves. Here's what producers and programmers think about the show...
July 1, 1998

The preschool-targeted television series may be the most controversial program for young children to hit the airwaves. Here’s what producers and programmers think about the show

‘I’m not so sure Teletubbies is a phenomenon. It’s a brilliant [marketing] campaign and launch, and we’re all waiting to see if it has legs. So far, the numbers it’s pulling in on PBS are a mixed bag.’

Toper Taylor,

president, Nelvana Communications Inc.

‘[Teletubbies] hit a visceral button for me. It visually struck me as something very young kids would love and I thought this is going to be a hit.

If there is an older audience watching, I would have to suspect a substance is involved.’

Robby London,

executive vice president of creative affairs, DIC Entertainment

‘[The producers] specially targeted the six-month-old child, looking at life through the eyes of a one-year-old. Over here, we’ve seen nothing like it.’

Lucinda Whiteley,

senior vice president of production, PolyGram Visual Programming

‘[A fellow high-level programming executive] made the statement that she found Teletubbies slightly frightening. I replied, `I think you’re taking this too seriously.’ I think kids love this because it’s unique and imaginative and it speaks to them. They think it’s fun-it’s as simple as that.’

Margaret Loesch,

president, Jim Henson Television Group Worldwide

‘A lot of the Teletubbies audience is six months old, up to two years-the lower end of the preschool-age target. The show has put preschool in the spotlight, and it definitely has the eye candy these very young kids respond to.’

Carol Weitzman,

senior vice president of production, Sunbow Entertainment

‘[Producers] don’t want to be dictated to too much in terms of educational content. Sesame Street, Barney, Blue’s Clues, Maisy and Teletubbies-all are creatively well done as they [attempt to fulfill] the education process.’

Mark Lieber,

senior vice president of children’s programming, PolyGram Television

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