WINNER: THE SPROUT SHARING SHOW, PBS KIDS SPROUT
Sometimes simplicity wins. Set inside a homemade cardboard puppet theater, The Sprout Sharing Show deftly combines the irresistible kid appeal of a puppet show with a twist: Viewer submitted videos that become part of the act. The concept is no frills. And yet, we know of few shows for preschoolers that dare to integrate user-generated content so eloquently and with such great effect. Even better is the Sprout House Band, including Patty the pig emcee, Ricky the rabbit showman and Curtis E. Owl, who… well, he’s just the cool stand-up bass dude. It’s great fun that teaches sharing and family interaction by making pint-sized viewers part of the festivities. Hats off to Andrew Beecham, Meredith Halpern-Ranzer, Betsy Oliphant and the crew who put this wonderful show together.
Camp Rock, Disney Channel: After the runaway success of the High School Musical franchise, few thought Disney could strike gold again. Fewer are skeptical now. While Camp Rock hasn’t quite reached HSM status, it’s close — with help from the Jonas Brothers.
Handy Manny, Disney Channel: In today’s increasingly diverse country, it’s important for kids to learn about aspects of Latin culture, including a sprinkling of Spanish words and phrases. Handy Manny offers an innovative way for kids to do that, wrapped in a fun package.
Hannah Montana, Disney Channel: Who doesn’t love the world of Hannah Montana, one of Disney’s most successful and influential shows (launching Miley Cyrus’ career if not her off-screen judgment)? Still a force after many seasons, the series proves that comedic dual-identity thing is the writing gift that keeps on giving.
SpongeBob Squarepants, Nickelodeon: It’s rare for a kids show to also appeal to adults, but SpongeBob’s crazy antics and skewed view of the world somehow resonate across generations. That’s no small feat and is directly related to SpongeBob’s writers, animators and producers.