The Electric Company is an educational American children's television series that was produced by the Children's Television Workshop (now called Sesame Workshop) for PBS in the United States. PBS broadcast 780 episodes over the course of its six seasons from October 25, 1971 to April 15, 1977. After it ceased production that year, the program continued in reruns from 1977-1985. CTW produced the show at Teletape Studios Second Stage in Manhattan.
The Electric Company employed sketch comedy and other devices to provide an entertaining program to help elementary school children develop their reading skills. It was intended for children who had graduated from CTW's flagship program, Sesame Street. Appropriately enough, the humor was more mature than what was seen there.
The original cast included Morgan Freeman, Rita Moreno, Bill Cosby, Judy Graubart, Lee Chamberlin, and Skip Hinnant. Most of the cast had done stage, repertory, and improv work with Cosby and Moreno already well-established performers on film and television. Ken Roberts, best known as a soap-opera announcer, was the narrator of some segments during Season One.
Jim Boyd, who was strictly an off-camera voice actor and puppeteer during Season One, began appearing on-camera in Season Two, mostly in the role of J. Arthur Crank. Luis Avalos also joined the cast at that time.
Bill Cosby was a regular in Season One, and occasionally appeared in new segments during Season Two, but left afterward. Nevertheless, segments that Cosby had taped in the first two years were repeatedly used for the rest of the run, and Cosby was billed as a cast member throughout. Similarly, Lee Chamberlin also left after Season Two, but many of her segments were also repeatedly reused; consequently, she was also billed as a cast member for the rest of the run.
Added to the cast at the beginning of Season Three was Hattie Winston, an actress and singer who later appeared on the show Becker. Beginning in Season Four, Danny Seagren appeared in the role of Spider-Man.