ELMO AND HIS SESAME FRIENDS HEADED TO JAPAN FOR A LOCAL ADAPTATION OF SESAME STREET (New, York, NY, and Tokyo, JAPAN, March 29, 2004) Proving that Sesame Street is truly the longest street in the world, Elmo has packed a suitcase for Japan! In order to meet the unique educational needs of children ages 4-6 in Japan, Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit educational organization behind Sesame Street, has formed a partnership of Japanese companies called Sesame Street Partners Japan (SSPJ) to feature the beloved furry red Sesame Street Muppet along with Big Bird, Cookie Monster, and new, never-before-seen Muppet characters in a local adaptation of the award-winning series Sesame Street. Kevin Clash, the actor behind Elmo, has been in Tokyo for two weeks to select and train the first ever Japanese Muppeteers for the new series. SSPJ will finance the new co-production, secure broadcast, and manage the Sesame Street brand in Japan. SSPJ includes ADK (an advertising agency), WE’VE (a licensing company), Nikkeisha (an advertising agency), TX-BB (the broadband arm of broadcaster TV Tokyo) and Odyssey Communications Inc. (an education company providing IT certification programs and English language training). Sesame Workshop and SSPJ will launch two seasons of 52 half-hour episodes on TV Tokyo in October 2004. Based on the recommendations of Japanese educators and child development specialists, the series will use nature as a thematic springboard for showcasing Japan’s unique cultural heritage and for conveying educational goals appropriate for Japanese preschoolers. These goals include using one’s imagination, thinking independently; learning simple English phrases, and appreciating differences. Sesame Street Muppet characters Elmo, Big Bird and Cookie Monster, as well as new Muppet characters that are being created, will be shown living, playing, and having adventures in a Japanese neighborhood. The new series will incorporate an innovative curriculum created by highly regarded local Japanese educators, child development experts, and producers. Content advisors include: Mr. Yuzuru Imasato, Manager of K-12 Education, Ministry of Education; Mr. Takashi Shimizu, Former Vice Chancellor, Tsukuba University Elementary School; and Mr. Tatsuya Matsubara, Professor, Rissyo University. Outreach, a key component to the project, will help extend the series’ content through print materials to be distributed at schools, events, and online. “With a TV series, theme park, attractions, licensed products, and retail promotions, Sesame Street has enjoyed much success in Japan for over 25 years,” said Gary. E. Knell, Sesame Workshop’s President and CEO, at a press conference held today in Tokyo. “Whether you’re an adult, teen, or child, you’ve grown up with the beloved faces of Elmo and Big Bird. We’re now creating a series for a new generation of children incorporating a curriculum created specifically for them. We’re collaborating and utilizing the expertise of the top media organizations in Japan to reach out to the families and making a measurable difference in their lives, encouraging a life-long love of learning with their children.” SSPJ will have exclusive rights to Sesame Street for all media and ancillary businesses as well as oversee marketing and promotional activities in Japan. Sesame Workshop is a nonprofit educational organization making a meaningful difference in children’s lives around the world. Founded in 1968, the Workshop changed television forever with the legendary Sesame Street. Today, the Workshop continues to innovate on behalf of children in 120 countries, using its proprietary research methodology to ensure its programs and products are engaging and enriching. Sesame Workshop is behind award-winning programs like Dragon Tales and Sagwa, The Chinese Siamese Cat and ground breaking multi-media productions in South Africa, Egypt and Russia. These are among many Workshop endeavors recognized for their deep understanding of children’s developmental needs and the most effective ways to address them. As a nonprofit, Sesame Workshop puts the proceeds it receives from sales of Sesame Street, Dragon Tales and Sagwa products right back into its educational projects for children around the world. Find the Workshop online at www.sesameworkshop.org.