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 Post subject: "Thomas & Friends" is no longer on PBS
PostPosted: Sun Feb 11, 2018 10:06 pm 

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I thought I should mention that "Thomas and Friends is no longer at pbskids.org".

According to the wikipedia entry about the tv program:
Quote:
The rights to broadcast the series through PBS expired in December 2017,[60] thus ending a period of almost 30 years of programming related to The Railway Series on American public television. Now it airs on Nick Jr. and Nickelodeon.
I assume that Nick Jr. and Nickelodeon have smaller audiences that PBS, but I do not have any actual statistics to back that up.


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 Post subject: Re: "Thomas & Friends" is no longer on PBS
PostPosted: Sun Feb 11, 2018 10:32 pm 

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I have never really watched it but I was surprised George Carlin originally hosted it. Nickelodeon is a kids channel not sure the idea to switch to them is about. I have no cable so that keeps me out, but again I never watch it.
Just added trivia, Iron Horse is running on the H&I broadcast network on Sundays at noon Eastern, and Young Sheldon on CBS Thurday 9:30pm has a Lionel Trainset.


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 Post subject: Re: "Thomas & Friends" is no longer on PBS
PostPosted: Mon Feb 12, 2018 12:09 am 

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Sesame Street moved to HBO a few years back. Just a fact that government spending in the US as a percentage of the total economy is the lowest of all developed (OECD) nations (depending on how you classify Japan and Korea, which have a lot of control but not as much ownership), and shrinks every year, which doesn't leave much for things like public television (or museums, etc.).


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 Post subject: Re: "Thomas & Friends" is no longer on PBS
PostPosted: Mon Feb 12, 2018 12:25 am 
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PBS isn't the only game in town for kid's programming that it used to be for many years.
Still, it's sad that they not only lost this, but also lost Tracks Ahead with no fanfare more than 2 years ago...

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 Post subject: Re: "Thomas & Friends" is no longer on PBS
PostPosted: Mon Feb 12, 2018 1:59 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 11:54 pm
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PMC wrote:
Sesame Street moved to HBO a few years back. Just a fact that government spending in the US as a percentage of the total economy is the lowest of all developed (OECD) nations (depending on how you classify Japan and Korea, which have a lot of control but not as much ownership), and shrinks every year, which doesn't leave much for things like public television (or museums, etc.).



That percentage, which peaked @41% in the post WW2 era did so because of depressed GDP and so called "stimulus" spending, but still is 34%.

To the extent that aggregate spending is a factor in these decision, it is the fact that a greater and greater percentage of spending is entitlement spending.

That will be an ongoing problem for anything that relies on discretionary government expenditures.


The recent bill is another adventure in the sausage machine looking to reward friends (i.e., campaign contributors-whenever something is called "bipartisan" it means both sides of the ruling class reaching into our wallets) and this analysis shows what friends are being rewarded.

https://www.thetaxadviser.com/news/2018 ... 18370.html

There's no shortage of lucre for panem et circenses, there's votes or campaign contributions to be received in return.


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Last edited by superheater on Mon Feb 12, 2018 2:11 am, edited 1 time in total.
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 Post subject: Re: "Thomas & Friends" is no longer on PBS
PostPosted: Mon Feb 12, 2018 2:04 am 

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https://data.oecd.org/gga/general-gover ... evenue.htm

Mexico and Costa Rica are considered Third World countries, Ireland was devastated by the 2009 depression/recession and hasn't recovered. Plus keep in mind that a lot of the US budget is for military spending, and the US spends more than the next ten nations combined on the military.

My point is a general one, and I had in mind a question that comes up here a lot , re: "why can country X do Y with railway preservation and we can't?" My response is, in part: don't expect it to happen through government the way e.g. England does, because our government just doesn't have the resources. In the US increasingly the only way something will be made available is if a for-profit firm thinks it can make money on it.


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 Post subject: Re: "Thomas & Friends" is no longer on PBS
PostPosted: Mon Feb 12, 2018 2:22 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 11:54 pm
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PMC wrote:
https://data.oecd.org/gga/general-government-revenue.htm

Mexico and Costa Rica are considered Third World countries, Ireland was devastated by the 2009 depression/recession and hasn't recovered. Plus keep in mind that a lot of the US budget is for military spending, and the US spends more than the next ten nations combined on the military.



Well then, I have some expatriation suggestions for you: Russia, Greece, Sweden and France. I'm not sure if their government spending causes public financing of the little blue engine, but you'll certainly be happier with the level of government spending.


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 Post subject: Re: "Thomas & Friends" is no longer on PBS
PostPosted: Mon Feb 12, 2018 2:39 am 

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superheater wrote:

Well then, I have some expatriation suggestions for you: Russia, Greece, Sweden and France. I'm not sure if their government spending causes public financing of the little blue engine, but you'll certainly be happier with the level of government spending.


I have an "expatriation suggestion" for you, too, but it would violate the guidelines for RyPN.

When I took an advanced Public Policy course in the late eighties the instructor put up a pie chart of how the federal government spends its revenues, divided into four equal parts: military, social security and medicare, interest on the debt, everything else. Now, the "everything else" (which includes money for infrastructure, highways, education, and yes public television, Thomas, etc.) is less than one-eighth of the total of an already relatively-smaller US public sector. One can argue about whether that is good or bad, but it is a fact.


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 Post subject: Re: "Thomas & Friends" is no longer on PBS
PostPosted: Mon Feb 12, 2018 6:48 am 

Joined: Sun Jan 14, 2018 6:08 am
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Got to remember that HIT entertainment is now owned by Mattel (has been since 2012) and is largely going to be where to find targeted audiences of kids willing to buy the soon to be aggressively relaunched Thomas and Friends Wood range, being made by their subsidiary Fischer-Price.

Makes more sense to move to a Viacom owned channel willing to punt money their way for the boasting and advertising they probably offered as a deal as opposed to sticking to PBS.


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 Post subject: Re: "Thomas & Friends" is no longer on PBS
PostPosted: Mon Feb 12, 2018 10:05 am 

Joined: Sat Aug 25, 2007 12:45 am
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PMC wrote:
Sesame Street moved to HBO a few years back.
Sesame Street is still on PBS; what changed is that new episodes of that program are first shown on HBO.

As a parent who actually watches PBS Kids, I believe PBS dumped Thomas because it is just not that good of a show compared to the rest of their children programming. JDParkes summed it up well:
JDParkes wrote:
Got to remember that HIT entertainment is now owned by Mattel (has been since 2012) and is largely going to be where to find targeted audiences of kids willing to buy the soon to be aggressively relaunched Thomas and Friends Wood range, being made by their subsidiary Fischer-Price.


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 Post subject: Re: "Thomas & Friends" is no longer on PBS
PostPosted: Mon Feb 12, 2018 10:17 am 

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It's sort of a "Hail Mary" move on Mattel's and Nickelodean's part.

The Thomas toys aren't selling like they used to and Mattel is in a bit of a dire slump as many of their other flagship brands aren't selling anymore either. Whens the last time you saw a kid asking for a G.I. Joe or a Barbie for Christmas. In fact their chief competitor HASBRO has surpassed them in sales quite substantially and even offered to buy them out not too long ago.

This mainly being due to the fact that HASBRO made the bold move of creating their own television network and rebooting a lot of their older I.P's into new shows which they let the showrunners have major creative control over and then proceeded to aggressively market new toys based on them. They've had quite good success especially with Transformer's and My Little Pony which have both had strong return on investment for sometime now. The latter particularly due to a cult following among adult fans (with disposable income) it managed to garner.

The Nick networks in a slump as well as they rode way too long on the popularity of "SpongeBob" and drove the show into the ground. They've also recently been hit with their only other currently popular show "The Loud House" getting mired up in the creators sexual harassment scandal. Plus many of the networks other creative minds have abandoned ship for private internet projects, NETFLIX, etc where the grass appears greener right now.

Nick needs I.P. that kids will watch that they don't have to spend too much money on (since they don't have it right now) and Mattel needs a place where they're allowed to cram ads for their crappy retooled Trackmaster train sets and wooden railway down kids throats.


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 Post subject: Re: "Thomas & Friends" is no longer on PBS
PostPosted: Mon Feb 12, 2018 10:29 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
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Allow me to respond to a couple things at once:

PMC wrote:
When I took an advanced Public Policy course in the late eighties the instructor put up a pie chart of how the federal government spends its revenues, divided into four equal parts: military, social security and medicare, interest on the debt, everything else. Now, the "everything else" (which includes money for infrastructure, highways, education, and yes public television, Thomas, etc.) is less than one-eighth of the total of an already relatively-smaller US public sector. One can argue about whether that is good or bad, but it is a fact.

The problem with this comparison is comparing so-called discretionary spending (covering everything from road repairs to PBS to science research grants to national parks) with non-discretionary spending--and there's a real issue about what is truly "discretionary"; my favorite definition is that "non-discretionary" involves things that would literally cause armed insurrection or systemic national collapse akin to the current status quo in Venezuela if the checks stopped. The reality is not that we have reduced discretionary spending--we haven't, not by a long shot--but that we have allowed non-discretionary spending to balloon to larger shares of our Federal red-ink swamp and GDP.

Arguing over what proportion of our national and global economy needs to be managed by governmental entities is a preoccupational topic for other places online.

PMC wrote:
My point is a general one, and I had in mind a question that comes up here a lot , re: "why can country X do Y with railway preservation and we can't?" My response is, in part: don't expect it to happen through government the way e.g. England does, because our government just doesn't have the resources. In the US increasingly the only way something will be made available is if a for-profit firm thinks it can make money on it.

I have rebuked this falsehood over and over again. Apparently this canard that "government underwrites rail preservation overseas but not here" is a conspiracy theory in as great a need of debunking as the old "the only reason we don't have trolleys everywhere still is NCL conspired to kill them all off!" blather (that, sadly, is still repeated verbatim by many trolley museum docents and the like that need to learn better).

The supposed "rail preservation by government support" that supposedly happens overseas but not here just isn't there. Not Britain, not Germany, not Japan, not Poland, not Brazil, not Australia, not Russia, not South Africa, not anywhere save maybe Cuba, and I certainly wouldn't call what Cuba has done a model to emulate. And it's a seriously profound insult and slap in the face to all the hard-working volunteers, entrepreneurs, and philanthropists that make rail preservation happen anywhere to even imply that.

True, there are programs where rail preservation projects overseas can find direct or indirect government support. BUT IT HAPPENS HERE, TOO. We have state railroad museums in California, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina. We have states directly owning heritage railroads in Colorado, New Mexico, and West Virginia, and we have other governmental entities that own outright other excursion railroads--the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad, for one. State and local entities make grants to local rail infrastructure to maintain service ROUTINELY these days--just off the top of my head, without even paying attention, I can come up with grants to everything from the Strasburg RR (freight improvement grants) to the Reading & Northern (operations in Reading and Jim Thorpe), Cape May Seashore Lines, Durbin & Greenbrier, etc. Need I mention ISTEA, TEA-21, and TIGER grant programs that somehow managed to underwrite a host of preservation projects in the name of "transportation efficiency improvements" (at times tenuously at best)???

If you want the rail preservation situation in the United States to look as good as the glossy positive side we get shown here and there, then for the love of all that is holy, stop making the lame excuses that the other countries have a financial advantage over you thanks to government help--THEY DO NOT--and get off your duff and make both your own project and the entire field improve, and bring others into the mission.

Believe me, they have rusty back sidings full of junk and failed projects as well.

We have a National Air and Space Museum. I guess we don't need private parties running aviation museums and saving planes, do we? </SARCASM>

Lastly, back to the real subject at hand:
We are going through an era where the television as the "great portal through which the outside world comes to the household" is increasingly irrelevant. We've gone from a generation where TV was an "electronic babysitter" to a generation where kids were parked in front of the TV to supposedly learn, to two successive generations where parents were routinely condemned or castigated for letting their kids be parked there even for the (supposedly) educational fare of "Sesame Street" and other PBS kids' programming. With the internet, younger generations are managing to cut out even cable TV services.
The last time I happened to glance at the right shelves, my local library systems (and I carry cards for several simultaneously) still had a full range of Thomas DVDs available for circulation, and probably will do so until the discs are scratched beyond use and/or people wear out their DVD players and don't replace them because they can now stream everything through Netflix/Redbox/Amazon Prime/Hulu/whatever gets invented THIS week......

I bounced this issue off a friend who's a railfan and pro in video/media. He replied "Thomas has always been about profits over quality. Nick is the perfect home for it."


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 Post subject: Re: "Thomas & Friends" is no longer on PBS
PostPosted: Mon Feb 12, 2018 12:14 pm 
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I fail to see more than a tenuous connection to railway preservation in this thread. Off to the railfanning section with it.

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