TheElectricCompany

 

Production

Karen Fowler
Executive Producer and Vice President of The Electric Company, Sesame Workshop

The Electric Company has been a passion for Fowler since she began envisioning its reinvention five years ago. Hatching this multi-media literacy intervention that plays across a variety of platforms to make literacy for 6-9-year-olds playful and fun has generated support of celebrities, comedians, musicians and educators alike.

The musical comedy adventure series shot on the streets of New York City came to life with the help of amazing talent including Tony, Grammy and Oscar winners, and by drawing on pop culture of today, dazzling special effects and comedic stories and characters.

To date Fowler has delivered 52 episodes of The Electric Company to PBS, two nationally broadcasted PSA's and a variety of additional materials for schools across the country. The first 28 episodes (season 1) were honored with several awards including 5 Emmy Awards, notably Outstanding Children's Series and Best Website, and a Parent's Choice Gold Award for TV.

Fowler has worked on a variety of properties for Sesame Workshop including: leading the launch of the Japanese co-production of Sesame Street; co-developing and overseeing production on twenty-six 30-minute episodes of Sponk! (aired on Noggin); and co-developing Pinky Dinky Doo airing on Noggin.

Before joining the Workshop, Fowler worked as Senior Producer/Development Executive at Nickelodeon's Creative Lab, where she developed and produced over 30 character-driven live action and animated films, all of which premiered on Saturday Night Nickelodeon. At Nick, Fowler co-created and produced the network's first web/TV series called Natalie's Backseat Traveling Webshow.

Raised in a mining town in northern Canada with two TV stations and a whole lot of hockey, Fowler has been happily working in New York City for over 15 years.

Carol Klein
Supervising Producer

Klein began her career as a stage manager working on several Off-Broadway shows as well as at the Circle in the Square Theater. She moved to television for the 80's staple, The Cosby Show, followed by MTV's first non-musical program, Remote Control. She started Line Producing for the Comedy Central specials the Denis Leary Roast and Bar Mitzvah Bash. Klein has since produced series for The Food Network, Bravo, The Style Network and others. Most recently, Klein was the Supervising Producer for nine seasons of the award-winning Between the Lions, a children's puppet and live-action show designed to promote reading. She is delighted to continue and expand that mission with The Electric Company.

Ryan Cunningham
Producer

Ryan Cunningham is ecstatic to be returning to the new season of The Electric Company as Producer, and is proud to be part of an Emmy Award-winning series which reaches the heart of so many children. Prior to working with Sesame Workshop, she produced comedy series for TBS, MTV and Comedy Central, and many reality series for MTV, Discovery, Travel Channel and National Geographic.

Cunningham grew up in Pennsylvania where she was first influenced by the earlier episodes of The Electric Company and other Sesame Workshop productions. A graduate from Rhode Island School of Design, she and her husband, Troy Thompson, are co-owners of the post-production company, Running Man.

Adam Peltzman
Head Writer

After writing numerous episodes for the revival of The Electric Company, Adam Peltzman stepped into the head writer role in 2010 and currently oversees the writing of both the live action and animated portions of the show. Prior head-writing credits include three seasons of Nickelodeon's Emmy-winning series The Backyardigans, as well as three seasons of Nick's groundbreaking educational series, Blue's Clues. Peltzman wrote a primetime movie special for The Backyardigans which he also adapted into a stage show that toured nationally in 2008. Other children's television writing credits include: Lazy Town, The Wonder Pets, Maya & Miguel, Bubble Guppies and Nate the Great. Peltzman has earned seven Emmy nominations for his writing work. He currently has a pilot in production at Nickelodeon and is developing a number of independent comedy projects for stage, television and the web. Peltzman has taught at the NYU School of Continuing and Professional Studies and has given numerous lectures on writing for children's television. He is a graduate of Wesleyan University and lives in Brooklyn, NY with his wife, Sarah.

Jodi Nussbaum
Project Director

With 25 years of producing and series launch experience behind her, The Electric Company marked a return to Sesame Workshop for Nussbaum where she continues in her current role as Project Director. While on staff at the Workshop, she spent 15 years developing, producing and launching all of the company's video properties. She was the Executive Producer of the PBS KIDS hit Dragon Tales and Executive in Charge of Production for Noggin's popular Pinky Dinky Doo and The Upside Down Show. She most recently was at the Workshop as Group VP for Global Production, where she oversaw worldwide media production including all of the international Sesame Street co-productions. Prior to Sesame Workshop, Nussbaum worked in varying production and management capacities on films, sitcoms, documentaries and commercials.


Education & Research

Rosemarie Truglio, PhD
Vice President, Education and Research, Sesame Workshop

Rosemarie Truglio is in her 13th year at Sesame Workshop and oversees the content development of The Electric Company across media platforms, as well as the formative research conducted to inform production for how to enhance both the entertaining and educational components of the program.

Before joining Sesame Workshop, she was an Assistant Professor of Communication and Education at Teachers College, Columbia University. Through her research, she has investigated the effects of television on the cognitive and social development of children and adolescents. She has written numerous articles appearing in child and developmental psychology journals; presented her work at national and international conferences; conducted media literacy workshops; and has appeared on both broadcast and cable network programs. Dr. Truglio is co-editor of G is for Growing: Thirty Years of Research on Children and Sesame Street (2001) published by Lawrence Earlbaum Associates.

Dr. Truglio currently serves on several advisory boards including: The Children's Digital Media Center, National Advisory for Child Health and Human Development Council, PBS KIDS Next Generation Media Advisory Board, and the Mind, Body and Child Advisory Board.

Dr. Truglio received her Ph.D. in Developmental and Child Psychology from the University of Kansas, and her B.A in Psychology from Douglass College, Rutgers University.

Emily Helfgot
Education Director

Emily Helfgot oversees the development of the curriculum for The Electric Company and its integration across all platforms including the TV show, the website, outreach events and resources and classroom-based materials.

Helfgot has worked in the field of education for more than 15 years as a classroom teacher, curriculum writer, teaching artist and workshop facilitator. Much of her work has been specifically in the field of literacy and the arts, and in classrooms and arts education organizations in New York and San Francisco.

In her work with Streetside Stories and American Place Theater's Literature to Life program – education organizations that utilize storytelling and theater to teach reading, writing and self-expression – Helfgot created curricula and facilitated classes and workshops for hundreds of students and classroom teachers. During her time working with the Peace Corps Fellows Program at Teachers College, Helfgot conceived and led an intensive summer training program for the incoming Fellows as they prepared for their first year of teaching. She has also led professional development workshops for teachers in the San Francisco Unified School District and the New York City Department of Education.

Helfgot holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Education, Sociology, Theater and Spanish (interdisciplinary core) from Macalester College and a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential from San Francisco State University.

Randell Marie Bynum, M.S.W.
Director of Outreach

As Director of Outreach, Randell Bynum manages all community activities for Sesame Workshop's The Electric Company. This includes community events, partnerships and the development of literacy materials for both children and educators. The program's outreach initiative supports and enhances The Electric Company's broadcast and broadband components.

Prior to joining Sesame Workshop, Bynum was an independent consultant at her own firm marieimage inc. serving non-profits and other organizations in support of positive youth image. Her clients included Unilever's Dove brand Campaign for Real Beauty; Illinois' Robert Crown Center for Health Education; and NYC Office of the Mayor's Commission on Women's Issues and Department Of Youth and Community Development – NYC GirlsREACH Program.

Bynum is a former social worker with nearly 20 years of experience working with youth in various settings, providing both direct service and program development. She also worked at the Girl Scouts of the USA, both locally and nationally, where she was responsible for the implementation of The Dove Self-Esteem Fund partnership in the United States and the development of uniquely ME!, The Girl Scout/Dove self-esteem program. She is the co-author of Dove's true you!, Sometimes I Feel Ugly and Other Truths about Growing Up workbook for mothers and daughters.

Bynum received a Master of Social Work with a planning, administration and research concentration from Stony Brook University. She also holds a B.A. from Binghamton University in Psychology and African & Afro-American studies.


Website

Erica Branch-Ridley
Broadband Supervising Producer

Erica Branch-Ridley is the Broadband Supervising Producer for Sesame Workshop where she oversees all creative and production for interactive and digital initiatives for The Electric Company. Most recently, she and her team won the 2010 Daytime Emmy Award for The Electric Company website in the New Approaches Children's Entertainment category.

Before joining Sesame Workshop, Branch-Ridley served as the Executive Producer and Senior Director of TV Land Digital where she oversaw the creative direction, content development, design and production for both the TV Land and Nick-at-Nite websites. Branch-Ridley has won numerous awards for her work at TV Land including a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Achievement in Interactive Television and was twice nominated for a Technology Emmy Award in 2004 and 2005.

Prior to her position with TV Land, Branch-Ridley was the Senior Producer for Nickelodeon Online. Erica has nurtured many notable online properties for Nick Jr. from Blue's Clues to Bob The Builder. She was also the lead producer for the first ever-successful TV/Web convergent effort for preschoolers with Dora the Explorer! The Dora online launch went on to be voted "best use of online" by Kidscreen Magazine in 2000.

Previous to working in the internet industry, Branch-Ridley spent 10 years in television. She worked at NBC on multiple local and network specials, CBS News on the show 48 Hours with Dan Rather and at BET, where she created and produced the children's television show Storyporch. Storyporch featured notable celebrities including Maya Angelou and Bill Cosby, to name a few. The show was honored with a National Education Association Award and two nominations from the NAACP for an Image Award.

In 2007, Branch-Ridley was one of 30 people from across the country chosen by the National Association of Multi-Ethnicity in Communications to participate in their prestigious Executive Leadership Development Program at the Anderson School of Management at UCLA where she graduated prior to joining Sesame Workshop. She holds a B.S. from Syracuse University from their S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications in Speech Communications and Television Production.

Branch-Ridley resides in New Jersey with her husband and three children.


Music

Bill Sherman
Music Director

Bill Sherman won the 2008 Tony Award for Best Orchestrations for the musical In the Heights, and a 2008 Grammy Award as the co-producer of the In The Heights Original Broadway Cast Album. He also earned a Drama Desk nomination for Outstanding Orchestrations for In the Heights Off-Broadway and contributed songs to Chasing Broadway Dreams, a documentary about In The Heights on its road to Broadway. He was recently nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Original Main Title Theme Music for AMC's Storymakers. Additionally, Sherman is the head composer of the second season of MTV's Gamekillers, as well as Nike's Kobe Mentu. Sherman is the composer for Barrio Grrrl!, a children's musical commissioned by The Kennedy Center with book and lyrics by Quiara Alegria Hudes. In August 2009, Sherman partnered with Michael Croiter, to launch Yellow Sound Label, a new record label that produces an eclectic array of albums from some of today's biggest talents from Broadway and beyond. Most recently, Sherman became the Music Director and Composer for Sesame Street. He is a proud member of NYC's premier hip-hop, improv and comedy group, Freestyle Love Supreme, that has traveled to the Aspen, Edinburgh, Melbourne and Montreal comedy festivals. He is a graduate of Wesleyan University.

The contents of this media kit were developed under grant #U295A100025 from the Department of Education. However, those contents do not necessarily represent the policy of the Department of Education and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government.