Sprockets fest to address toxic kids TV

Nickelodeon exec headlining April 19 panel at Toronto event

TORONTO -- Nickelodeon exec Amy Friedman is to headline a panel at the upcoming Sprockets Toronto International Film Festival for Children on cleaning up the airwaves for kids.

Friedman, senior vp of original programming and creative director at The N, will join Canadian kids TV producers and consultants for an April 19 panel in Toronto entitled "Kids Should See This: Tackling Challenging Content in Children's Media."

Elizabeth Muskala, co-director of learning for the Toronto International Film Festival, said that choosing to address toxic kids TV and online content came about as "producers, distributors and broadcasters consistently face the challenge of defining what constitutes appropriate content when producing and showing programming for young audiences."

Canada, which pioneered the early V-chip to screen out excessive TV depictions of sex and violence, in 1994 forced the U.S.-produced "Mighty Morphin Power Rangers" show off of Canadian network schedules for violating an industry code on violence.

At the same time, the "Mighty Morphins" ouster underlined a continuing weakness of Canadian TV, as too little public subsidies to produce quality homegrown kids TV feeds a reliance on popular Hollywood programming to fill up domestic schedules in an expanding multi-channel universe.

The Sprocket panelists include author Deborah Ellis; indie producer Linda Schuyler ("Degrassi: The Next Generation"); Charles Falzon, co-chairman of CCI Entertainment; and Kim Gibson, program consultant, interactive digital media at the Ontario Media Development Corporation.

Sprockets is set to run from April 17 to April 23 in Toronto.
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