When PBS was receiving federal funding, they decided to expand their original programming. WonderWorks was PBS' attempt for quality family programing.
This show was styled after their very successful American Playhouse. Most episodes were one or two parts with an occasional multipart miniseries.
While the target market was for children 7-12 years old, the shows were of such high quality it had a large adult audience.
To accomplish this, WonderWorks cast up and coming actors with seasoned veterans. (Such as newcomers LeVar Burton, Alfre Woodard and Danny Glover with vetrans Shelly Duvall, Robert Hooks, Clarence Williams III and Beah Richards.)
Unfortunately, in the late 80's the federal government drastically cut PBS funding and WonderWorks felt the cuts first. By 1990, the series all but disappeared but the popularity never truly diminished.