PBS to introduce expanded `Teletubbies' that will include simple games, music, counting

Wednesday, August 14th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

NEW YORK (AP) _ ``Teletubbies,'' the popular PBS children's show, will add an educational component next year and feature American children for the first time.

Tinky Winky, Dipsy, Laa-Laa and Po _ the four bouncing, cooing characters _ will appear in the 10-minute ``Teletubbies Everywhere'' to kick off every episode of the program starting in January.

The new segment will include counting exercises, simple games and music designed to help develop children's cognitive skills, Ragdoll Productions, the British company that makes the show, said Wednesday.

Critics of the show, popular with toddlers, have said it did little to teach the children who sit enthralled by its repetition and singsongy voices.

Ragdoll will also venture out of Britain to the United States and elsewhere to film children for its live-action segments.

Ragdoll has stopped producing regular ``Teletubbies'' episodes, but has banked enough shows that new ones will appear for years to come.