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What is the history of "The Electric Company" television show?

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Quick Answer

"The Electric Company" was a comedy variety show intended for children and families that aired from 1971 to 1977. It starred actors such as Jim Boyd, Morgan Freeman, Mel Brooks and Zero Mostel, and was created by Sesame Productions, also responsible for "Sesame Street."

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Full Answer

"The Electric Company" premiered in 1971, two years after the premiere of "Sesame Street." While "Sesame Street" was geared toward young children, "The Electric Company" was geared toward older children and their families, with more eccentric and sophisticated humor. Many performers on the show were popular comedians of the era, such as Mel Brooks, Bill Cosby and Zero Mostel. Other actors who appeared on "The Electric Company" would go on to greater fame later in their career, such as Cosby and Morgan Freeman.

"The Electric Company" was canceled in 1977 despite being very popular, due to the fact that the show didn't have any profitable characters for merchandising, whereas "Sesame Street" had the Muppets. PBS, which aired the shows, asked Sesame Production to choose one of the shows to cancel to cut costs. Given the immense popularity of "Sesame Street," "The Electric Company" was canceled, but the last two seasons of the show featured episodes designed to be aired repeatedly. The final reruns of the show concluded in 1985.

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