Recommending Kids' TV: Cash First, Family Later

Praise for TiVo Kidzone by the Parents Television Council? That would only make sense if the PTC recommends some kids' shows.

Yet unlike other organizations working with TiVo, the PTC does not recommend kids' shows.

That's right. For TiVo's Kidzone initiative--which offers parents a program guide filter for appropriate shows--organizations such as Common Sense Media and Parents' Choice Foundation, as well as TiVo's own internal group, provide program recommendations for kids: Nickelodeon, Kids WB!, PBS, Toon Disney and Discovery Channel shows, for example. Stuff like "The Backyardigans," "Blue's Clues," "Tom & Jerry Tales," "Discovery Atlas," "Sesame Street," and "Dora The Explorer."

But the PTC only suggests adult shows for kids. Here is the list of shows recommended by the PTC for TiVo owners: "7th Heaven," "Wife Swap," "Deal or No Deal," "Dancing with the Stars," "Everyone Hates Chris," and "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition."



The PTC time and again challenges broadcasters for what it believes are bad prime-time or obscene content choices for young, impressionable minds. But they can't seem to find one kids-targeted show to recommend.

That said, the PTC's list mostly looks harmless--no procedural crime dramas with gritty language to scare the youngsters. Still, look closer and you'll find some real lessons for kids.

"Deal or No Deal" and "Dancing with the Stars" both offer up ladies in skimpy outfits from time to time. In "Stars," with a flip of the skirt here and there, sexy dancing women can reveal something close to what Janet Jackson gave up in the Super Bowl.

For those couples that survive elimination each week, it sends this ultimate message: Even with no talent, if you're really popular people will vote for you anyway, and you'll do well in life. With "Deal or No Deal," the lesson for kids can only be that in Las Vegas hotels Keno cards give you better odds.

"Wife Swap" 's title, of course, is the most suggestive. But the ABC reality show always has a good family message at the end. Family members cry a lot, as the wives/mothers are returned to their real homes. Hugs are a big part of the action. The lesson must be: Cry and the world cries with you--and you may even get rid of evil pseudo-stepmothers.

Crying and hugs among family members are also a major part of "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition"--especially when securing free upgraded houses. Too bad those crying jags won't help to pay skyrocketing real estate taxes on now-palatial homes. The message for kids? Go to business school, get your MBA and learn about tax-free deal-making a la John Malone.

So I guess the PTC is offering up good lessons after all--especially with those reality shows offering up big cash and asset gains. Who needs Nickelodeon's "Oobi" when you can get a lot of booty?

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