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Amazon.com to Underwrite New PBS Show

In a bid to bask in the intelligent, credible aura exuded by the non-profit Public Broadcasting Service, Amazon.com on Thursday agreed to sponsor a new television series set to debut in the fall, Standard Deviants TV.

The e-tailer of everything from books to gardening supplies will be one of the show's principal underwriters. This means its name, and perhaps a message, will be broadcast before and after every episode of the program.

Standard Deviants TV, produced by the Cerebellum Corp., takes complicated subjects like Shakespeare and geology, and teaches them with a humorous fast-paced approach. Amazon.com obviously hopes that people interested in learning will also be the bookworms that are its principal customers. The series was inspired by the award-winning Standard Deviants series of videos, which have sold more than 1.6 million copies

"Standard Deviants TV is a hidden gem about to be discovered for the first time by many consumers," said Jason Kilar, general manager of Amazon.com's DVD and video store.

"As long-time fans of the series, we are delighted to help further that sense of discovery -- both on PBS television stations and online within Amazon.com."

The show, which is hosted by a cast of young actors that call themselves "the Standard Deviants," takes an approach that the company says resembles a combination of Saturday Night Live and Sesame Street.