Fox declined to comment. At press time Thursday, “Idol” producers had not responded to an e-mail request seeking comment.
Defending Big Bird
“Thank goodness someone is finally getting tough on Big Bird,” Obama told a Denver crowd the morning after his televised debate Wednesday with Romney.
One of the show-stopping moments of the first presidential debate — for serious students of television, anyway — happened when Romney, addressing Lehrer, said: “I’m sorry, Jim, I’m gonna stop the subsidy to PBS.
“I like PBS. I love Big Bird. I actually like you, too, but I’m going to stop borrowing money from China to pay for things we don’t need.”
The next morning, Big Bird’s parent, Sesame Workshop, and others, leaped to BB’s defense, suggesting that Romney needs to do his homework.
You can debate whether there should be funding of public broadcasting, “but when they always try to trot out Big Bird, and say we’re going to kill Big Bird — that is actually misleading,” Sherrie Westin, exec vice president at Sesame Workshop, scolded Thursday morning on CNN.
“Sesame Workshop receives very, very little funding from PBS,” she explained.
“We are able to raise our funding through philanthropic [means], through our licensed product, which goes back into the educational programming, through corporate underwriting and sponsorship,” Westin added.
Sesame Workshop, meanwhile, issued a statement Thursday: “We are a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization. We do not comment on campaigns, but we’re happy we can all agree that everyone likes Big Bird!”
In its own statement, issued after the debate, PBS said: “The federal investment in public broadcasting equals about one one-hundredth of 1 percent of the federal budget. Elimination of funding would have virtually no impact on the nation’s debt.”
To read previous columns by Lisa de Moraes, go to washingtonpost.com/