Indianised Sesame to start airing by Dec'05

MUMBAI: Sesame Workshop, whose India operations launched last week, plans to start airing its Indian content by December 2005.

A research team comprising educators, media programmers and child development experts led by experts from New York is to identify the edutainment needs of the region.

Sesame Workshop project director for India Isheeta Ganguly gave an idea of the programming format which was being considered. Speaking exclusively to, Isheeta said, "The format has three key components, all of which we plan to produce locally. First is the studio segment which comprises the Muppets and the localised street set. The second segment is live action which will be reality based and shall focus on themes such as health and hygiene, team skills and building community empowerment, the third will be creative animation."

Further commenting on the India operations she added, "We see this as a sustainable project that will not only be a TV programme but will support and contribute towards launching a pre-school education movement in India. Currently the New York research and production team is engaged in active discussions with various educationists and content providers."

On being quizzed about which broadcasters were in the fray for collaborating with the workshop, Isheeta replied," We aim to have a reach on both C&S and terrestrial TV and Radio. Talks are under way and we are looking at finalising deals in the near term."

The Workshop has received a grant of $500,000 (Rs. 23.21 million) from the US Agency for International Development (USAID) to design and develop part of the preliminary research content for the show.

USAID deputy director in the Office of Economic Growth, Madhumita Gupta told that, "USAID's interest is to demonstrate and test how cutting edge tools like information and communication technology can be used to strengthen and enhance India's development agenda, especially to get outreach to the underserved on a sustainable base that is culturally sensitive and acceptable. Our support to Sesame Workshop is on account of their focus on pre-school education which is critical in giving a heads up to students who are entering into the formal system. The idea is to get the pre-schoolers to associate learning with fun."

Going by the immense goodwill and charm that Sesame carries (It has been airing for the last 35 years in the US and still going strong), it wont be a surprise to see Indian kids take to the Muppets in a big way!

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