'Sesame India' to hit Cartoon Network & Pogo next year; Miditech roped in as production house

MUMBAI: Supporting India’s Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (universal access to education) initiative, the nonprofit educational organisation -- Sesame Workshop and Turner -- have announced the local version of the same titled Sesame India.

Sesame India is the local adaptation of kid’s series Sesame Street, which will debut on Cartoon Network and Pogo in February next year.


Miditech will be producing the series. The team spent two weeks in New York to begin developing the series’ characters and set, which will be ultimately created and built in Delhi.

Miditech’s writers and puppeteers were trained by US-based counterparts from Sesame to suitably hone their skills. In-studio production for the 65 half-hour episode series will begin in February 2006. India’s rich cultural diversity will also be reflected in the music and regionally produced live action and animation films.

To address the local needs of children and to ensure relevance and resonance, Sesame India will incorporate an innovative curriculum developed by Dr. Asha Singh, research head of Sesame India, and other Indian educators.

In addition to teaching basic cognitive skills such as literacy, Sesame India will represent the vibrancy of India’s multi-culturalism. The series will celebrate the similarities and differences that are part of children’s every day lives.

"We are proud to have been selected as the producers for an innovative new series for India’s children. We will intimately work with two of the top media companies in the world to ensure a truly local and culturally-relevant program that is authentic and distinct," said Miditech president Niret Alva.

Turner Entertainment Networks Asia senior vice president and general manager Ian Diamond said, "Having successfully shaped the kids’ television genre in India, and drawing on our decade long experience, we will push the boundaries and redefine, yet again, meaningful television for young kids in India.. The collaboration will combine the rich understanding and unique expertise of each partner to create ground breaking, premium quality content that is guaranteed to stimulate and engage young kids."

"Sesame India will provide daily access to millions of children with quality educational content based on a curriculum determined by Indian educators with intentions of achieving measurable impact. Our goal is to work with the most innovative partners, which we have, to educate and entertain India’s children in a culturally sensitive manner, and encourage them to laugh, learn and grow," said Sesame Workshop president and CEO Gary E Knell.

In addition to the television series, educational outreach materials and activities will be developed to enhance the impact of the educational messages and to provide parents and caregivers tools to help their young children.

The Sesame India project consists of two phases namely - development and implementation. The development phase was funded by USAID and ICICI Bank. Turner will provide support for the second phase, which involves the television series and some of the educational outreach.

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