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New children’s series Sesame Street’s Big Bird Looks at the World to debut on Ha Ha Channel this month

(Shanghai, CHINA, December 15, 2010) — It’s been 27 years since Big Bird first visited China and now he’s back with two new Muppet friends—Elmo and Lily!  The trio of feathered and furry characters joined Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit educational organization behind Sesame Street, Shanghai Toonmax Media Co. Ltd., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Shanghai Media Group, and MSD, a global leader in developing innovative health solutions, to celebrate the launch of Sesame Street’s Big Bird Looks at the World. The new daily TV series will debut on Ha Ha Channel on Dec 22 at 5:30pm.

Sesame Street’s Big Bird Looks at the World, targeting 3-7 years old, introduces viewers to three bestfriends. Viewers will already know Big Bird and Elmo from the interactive educational program “Magic Map Show,” which ran twice daily at the Expo 2010. Big Bird, 6-years-old and over 8 feet tall, often gets excited over new things. He’s sometimes disappointed when things don’t work out or when he makes mistakes, but he always tries again. Elmo is an enthusiastic, friendly, and cheerful monster who always wants to be part of everything that goes on. Sometimes Elmo doesn’t know how to do things, but that never stops him from trying!  Lily is a 4-year-old girl tiger who loves martial arts. She’s just learning to read which she thinks is a lot of fun—almost as fun as singing and dancing.

The series fosters children’s natural curiosity about nature and science and encourages hands-on exploration as a great way to learn. Each episode is triggered by a question that the Muppet characters have when they notice something about the world around them (e.g., “Where does the sun go at night?” “What are seashells?”). Within each episode, two live-action films provide in-depth information and real-world visuals. One of these live action films features a hands-on activity that relates to the question raised. A second live action film presents additional information and insight on the topic at hand. These segments are designed to extend the science knowledge and to bring it to life.
In the hands-on activities, viewers see other children immersed in active involvement, sensory engagement, and self-initiated explorations. These activities allow children to describe, compare, sort, investigate, collaborate with others, and draw conclusions, all the while building their sense of confidence as young scientists and naturalists. In addition, some of the activities viewers’ see trigger a second question that stems from the Muppet characters’ initial question, modeling the ways in which one discovery can, in turn, open up an opportunity for continued learning.
Sesame Street’s Big Bird Looks at the World, 52 eleven-minute episodes in Chinese Mandarin, is made possible through the generous support of MSD.

“Sesame Workshop has had a proud history of serving the needs of children globally since 1969 and in China since 1983 when Big Bird first visited,” said Gary E. Knell, President and CEO of Sesame Workshop. “Toonmax, being committed to building a premier educational preschool brand, and MSD, investing in Chinese children’s growth and well-being, are exceptional partners. Sesame Street’s Big Bird Looks at the World serves as a positive example of what can be accomplished with successful people-to-people exchanges. While our cultures may be diverse, we’ve both gained incredible insight and friendship through sharing ideas and experiences for Sesame Street.”

“Through the continued efforts of those in the industry, the children’s media landscape in China has made big strides in the last few years,” said Ye Chao, Deputy General Manager of Shanghai Toonmax Media Co. Ltd. “With a core focus on children’s programming and animated content, Toonmax is actively engaged in the edutainment field. Ten years later, we are partnering with Sesame Workshop again. This time to bring Sesame Street’s Big Bird Looks at the World to a specially dedicated children’s TV channel. This really speaks to the mission of Toonmax, which is ‘all for children.’ We hope the series will provide a new experience to millions of children.”

Michel Vounatsos, Senior Vice President of Merck and President of MSD China said, “MSD is committed to working with Chinese authorities and partners to improve people’s health and quality of life. Merck Foundation has been working with Sesame Workshop for many years worldwide. I believe with this new series launching on the Ha Ha Channel of Toonmax of Shanghai Media Group, we will continue to bring premier preschool education to Chinese families and help benefit the growth and well-being of Chinese children.”

In 1998, Sesame Workshop and STV partnered to produce 130 episodes of Zhima Jie, the Chinese version ofSesame Street. It debuted to great acclaim.

Contacts

Yolanda Hu
Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide, Shanghai
Direct line: +86 21 24051610
Yolanda.hu@ogilvy.com

Beatrice Chow
Sesame Workshop
212.875.6586
beatrice.chow@sesameworkshop.org

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