Thursday roundup: Netflix brings back Magic School Bus, John Moe’s new humor book

By Current Staff

Magic School Bus

Concept art for The Magic School Bus 360°. (Image: Netflix)

• Netflix is reviving the ’90s PBS Kids cartoon The Magic School Bus, commissioning 26 episodes of an revamped series that will join its streaming lineup  in 2016. The Magic School Bus 360° will use computer-generated animation instead of following the original’s hand-drawn aesthetic, the New York Times reports. The on-demand TV service acquired rights to the program from Scholastic Media.

Ted Sarandos, Netflix’s chief content officer, told NYT that the original PBS show is the top educational offering on the streaming platform. He also hinted that Netflix may embark on future partnerships with Scholastic, the producer behind other popular PBS Kids shows such as Clifford the Big Red Dog and WordGirl.

• John Moe, host of American Public Media’s Wits, released a humor book this week that imagines communications between famous pop-culture figures. Dear Luke, We Need to Talk, Darth and Other Pop Culture Correspondences, published through Random House, follows the lead of Moe’s “Pop Song Correspondences” column for the online humor site McSweeney’s Internet Tendencies.

• Florida Public Broadcasting Service, the nonprofit association of 26 public television and radio stations, is customizing more than 85,000 digital learning materials from the PBS LearningMedia library to meet mandatory state standards. FPBS received $1 million in state funding to adapt the content, which will be organized by subject, grade and standard. It’s partnering with the Florida Department of Education on the project. The state has mandated that half of classroom instruction be delivered using digital materials by the fall of 2015.

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