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Saturday, March 14, 1998
By Paul Ford
Brought to you by the letter...
The Children's Television Workshop announced today that "The Artist [Formerly Known as Prince]" has agreed to fund several episodes of its popular childrens' show "Sesame Street."
At the end of each of three shows, instead of the boilerplate "This episode was brought to you by the letter...." closing credit, The Artist's symbol, a stylized combination of the male-female astrological signs, will be displayed, accompanied by a massive sonic bassline.
In addition, fundamental spelling changes will take place within the programming. The pronoun "I" will be replaced by an Egyptian eye symbol, and words like "tomorrow" and "forget" will be spelled "2morrow" and "4get."
"(eye) want to teach GOD's children 2 FUNK," wrote The Artist in a recent press release. "Nothing compares 2 L-Mo." On the show, The Artist will appear in a fairy-tale-based sketch as a puppet named "The Frog Formerly Known as Prince." He also plans to include a song in the program called "1, 2, 3, 4nicate."
"We felt that the Roman alphabet controls too much children's programming," said Mark Tollano, creative director for the Children's Television Workshop. "We've considered using kanji or maybe even some umlauts to encourage multicultural interest in the show, but have difficulty finding other alphabetic backers. The Artist's symbol provides us with an exciting, musical alternative to the standard 26 western characters." Assisting in musical direction is the cryptically named "Elmorris Day."
The Artist's support comes at a precarious time for CTW; three months ago, the letters "E," "X," and "L" pulled their support for the show after Snuffaluffagus came out of the closet as a homosexual.