Behind the scenes of latest kids show on PBS


With its 13-member ensemble cast, extended plot lines, and contemporary urban setting, Ghostwriter sounds more like a prime-time drama series than the latest venture of Children’s Television Workshop, the company respon-sible for such celebrated shows as Sesame Street and The Electric Company. The 48-episode mystery series, now in production in Brooklyn and scheduled to premiere on PBS in fall 1992, is designed to promote literacy among kids ages 7 to 10.

Executive producer Liz Nealon (who has worked for both MTV and Nickelodeon) is already comparing Ghostwriter with a younger 21 Jump Street or L.A. Law — a ”quality prime-time drama for kids” that will encourage them to write things down as they find clues in stories about neighborhood crimes.

”I don’t want it to feel like medicine,” Nealon says of the show. ”The whole fun of watching a mystery is trying to solve it. So we’re creating a format where you’re working with clues and text and trying to interpret things. Kids are very sophisticated viewers — you really have to grab them with a great show if you want them to stay because they’ve got other options and they’ll just zap away.”

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