Bill Cosby could teach his fellow television stars a thing
or two about public service.
Cable in the Classroom announced last week that the popular
actor and respected educator has agreed to serve as the group's 10th anniversary
Cosby is set to start taping public-service announcements
for the program within the next week or two, CIC managing director Megan Hookey said.
The high-profile promotion should be good for teachers and
the cable industry, said Hookey. When teachers have been asked about their use of CIC
programs, she added, "the number one reason for their not using this resource is
because they didn't know it was available."
Hookey credited Turner Classic Movies general manger Tom
Karsch with championing the 10th anniversary campaign to Cosby and his team.
Karsch, a member of the CIC executive board, said Cosby
gave a "very quick yes" to the request to help out with the new campaign.
As the CIC executive board was planning the 10th
anniversary, "I threw out the suggestion of putting a face on the campaign, someone
who could speak to both kids and their parents," said Karsch.
The CIC wanted to go with someone who is very visible but
not strongly associated with any one cable network, he added.
The PSAs have been created to help encourage parents and
teachers to take advantage of all the commercial-free programming that the networks and
operators make available through their involvement with CIC.
"We wanted to have this come from Cosby's voice,"
Hookey said. She added that one of the best ways to work with Cosby was to create a basic
framework for the spot, "then keep the cameras rolling."
Cosby is scheduled to finish taping an episode of his TV
show Kids Say the Darnedest Things right before the PSA is taped. Hookey said that
while it's possible Cosby may choose to draw some of those kids into the spots, "he
could stand just fine on his own. We're open to all of his creative ideas."
After the PSAs are shot, they will go into post-production
so operators and cable networks can air customized spots, Hookey said.
AT&T Broadband and Internet Services has already
started talking up the spots to its systems, according to TCI Education Project executive
director Kathy Consigli.
"It's an opportunity to celebrate 10 years of great
work on the part of both operators and networks," Consigli said.
CIC will ask operators to use their local avail time to run
the PSAs from mid-August through September.