"Don't Look Now!"
In the fall of 1983, while Nickelodeon was deciding whether or not to
renew "You Can't Do That on Television," Roger Price and Geoffrey
Darby went to Boston to produce a clone series called "Don't Tell Your
Mother!" for PBS at WGBH. At the last minute, the PBS executives
decided that the title "...encouraged children to keep secrets from
their parents..." and thus, "Don't Look Now!" was born. For five
consecutive Sunday mornings, an hour-long "pilot series" was
broadcast live across the U.S. on PBS stations. It became the second
highest rated program for kids ages 8-14 that PBS had ever broadcast,
even beating out "Sesame Street" in viewership.
"Don't Look Now!' had a unique balance of entertainment and education,
fulfilling the needs of both children and the PBS stations. With a
diverse cast of two regular adults and five different children in each
show (including a young Max Casella), the program featured sketches,
roving camera segments, and "yellow yuck" instead of green slime.
Kids across the country were asked to participate as well. 1-800
numbers allowed viewers to call in and speak directly with the cast,
and encouraged kids to keep up with current events by reading
newspapers, as rock videos would play. The cast would also venture
outside the studio to learn about things firsthand, like dairy farms,
banks, music, boats, science, babysitting, and manufacturing.
As with "YCDTOTV," the message for children was simple -- life isn't
always easy, but you're not alone with your problems, and we like you
just the way you are.