Reviews

"EGG" Expands

Even though no new episodes will be produced past the current season, the production unit behind PBS’s "EGG": The Arts Show is going strong. Not only has the show recently picked up a 2002 Peabody Award (the third for the production unit, which also received Peabodies in 1997 for "City Arts" and in 2000 for "City Life"), but the cable network Trio recently bought the series, which it will air on a regular basis. "This is just the beginning for "EGG," says executive producer Jeff Folmsbee.

"PBS has some really, really incredible shows, and, frankly, they underexpose them," says Trio’s vice president of acquisitions and program planning, Kris Slava. "PBS is set up in such a way that it’s very difficult to give "EGG the showcase it really needs. We can put it in a place where people can always find it."

Trio will only be airing past shows and not producing any new episodes of the series. "It’s a shame that we don’t have the money to continue "EGG in production," Slava says. "The issue [is] money, number one. Number two—and this is going to be a dumb TV programmer thing to say, because I’m going to use some buzzwords—but it’s also about branding. "EGG is very, very associated with PBS, and I couldn’t love it more, but at the same time our work here, especially in the early years of [a] network, is to create a unique identity, or a unique brand."

"EGG is trying to expand its presence outside of PBS. The group has received a grant from the Marilyn M. Simpson Trust to develop the "EGG Educational Toolkit, which will repackage the show’s individual segments for use in the classroom. "It’s a way to trick arts education into the schools that don’t even have art classes," Folmsbee says.

In addition the "EGG production unit is "incubating" a variety of new programs, according to Folmsbee, including a feature-length project called "Traps (which was reworked as a recent episode of "EGG) and what he hopes will be a new series called "Second-Hand Stories. The show, which recently had its pilot greenlighted by PBS, is the creation of "The Target Shoots First director Chris Wilcha and will feature Wilcha traveling around the country in a used ambulance and "exploring American through the second-hand markets. " [It’s] ""This American Life meets "Antiques Roadshow," Folmsbee says. "It relates to the "EGG" sensibility, but it’s got a wider mass appeal.

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