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News Archive

For immediate release
November 19, 2003

CBS Airs Holiday Classics with Description

BOSTON, MA - Viewers of all ages who are blind or visually impaired now will be able to more fully enjoy several classic holiday TV specials along with their sighted family members and friends. For the first time, CBS will air the animated programs with video description, provided by the Media Access Group at WGBH. The described holiday line-up includes:

  • Frosty the Snowman, November 28, 8 pm ET/PT
  • Frosty Returns, November 28, 8:30 pm ET/PT
  • Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, December 9, 8 to 9pm ET/PT
  • Robbie the Reindeer: Hooves of Fire, December 20, 8 pm ET/PT
  • Robbie the Reindeer: Legend of the Lost Tribe, December 20, 8:30 pm ET/PT

Two of the programs, Robbie the Reindeer: Hooves of Fire and Robbie the Reindeer: Legend of the Lost Tribe, are award-winning specials produced in 3D-model animation. They also feature the famous voices of Ben Stiller, Hugh Grant, Leah Remini and Jerry Stiller.

Descriptive Video Service® (DVS®) supplies descriptive narration of key visual elements--making television programs, feature films, home videos and other visual media accessible to people who are blind or visually impaired. Key visual elements are those that viewers who are visually impaired would ordinarily miss, such as actions, gestures, facial expressions and scene changes. Inserted within the natural pauses in dialogue, audio descriptions of important visual details help to engage these viewers with the story.

Programs that air regularly on CBS with descriptive narration include CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, JAG, Blue's Clues and select movies.

Viewers can access the descriptions through the Second Audio Program or SAP channel. Stand-alone SAP receivers also are available (these can be used with or without a television; a list of vendors can be found at Most TVs and VCRs purchased since 1992 are equipped with the SAP feature. To hear the narrated visual descriptions through a stereo TV or VCR, simply activate its SAP feature.

The Media Access Group at WGBH is a nonprofit service with offices in Boston, Los Angeles and New York. The Group includes DVS, which has made television, film and video more enjoyable to audiences who are blind or visually impaired since 1990, and The Caption Center--the world's first captioning agency--which has made audiovisual media accessible to audiences who are deaf or hard-of-hearing since 1972. The third branch of the Media Access Group, the CPB/WGBH National Center for Accessible Media, is a research, development and advocacy entity that works to make existing and emerging technologies accessible to all audiences. Members of the Group's collective staff represent the leading resources and experts in their fields. For more information about access services, visit the Media Access Group Web site ( or call 617-300-3600 (voice and TTY).

Press contact:
Mary Watkins
Media Access Group at WGBH
(617) 300-3700
(617) 300-2489 TTY

Caption Services Description Services NCAM