This article from from Brockenbrough makes a lot of sense: maybe Big Bird and the Sesame Street Gang have gone past their time. They came out of an era of great social change that was the 50's, 60's, and 70's when we had no ipod, no X-box, no cell phones, no MP3's, and some pretty crappy computers based on today's retro look back. Why would kids need to catch Big Board on TV when they can play a Big Bird educational computer game, listen to Big Bad run his big fat beak through streaming video or audio, or even "chat" with Big Bird himself over webconferencing...when not watching Sesame Street caught a la Tivo. Yes, maybe we do need to pop a cap in Big Bird's as....
...sss I was saying...maybe! On the other side of the table are folks like myself who grew up on Sesame Street and still find it compelling to be taught by big walking, talking, smiling, singing stuffed animals (minus the annoying lint). It was fun, it was engaging, and...that's what early childhood education in particular is all about: engagment in learning.
John Dewey has advocated throughout all of his books the need to keep the curriculum ensconced within the interests of the kids. If da kids wanna loin wit Elmo, den let 'em. Sesame Street integrates math, emerging literacy, science, and pro social behavior (yes even the Grouch and Cookie Monster).
I think it's better than the other electronic Sesame Street medium because it can engage adults better. I can talk to my children much easier by reminiscing about the good ol' days when Elmo was just Elmo, Kermit was just Kermit, and they just taught you about letters and numbers without being plush multi-billion dollar salesmen for a bunch of useless, clap-trap toys.
Engagement is the key. As long as Da Boyd can keep adults positively engaged with children toward a more nuturiing relationship...yeah...we'll let him live a bit longer...even if it's powerful enticing the thought of a 5 lb drumstick. LOL.