04.12.17 Good morning. It’s Wednesday April 12, 2017 and this is your first early morning Kids briefing.
Two programming heavyweights – YouTube and Netflix – are making moves into the kids original content space. YouTube Red is launching its first original family series – DanTDM Creates a Big Scene and Kings of Atlantis – both available on YouTube and the YouTube Kids app for YouTube Red subscribers. The former show features the British YT personality DanTDM and his lively group of animated friends as they battle mayhem and misadventure to keep their brand new live show on the road. Atlantis features voice talent from YouTubers Cody and Joe of TheAtlanticCraft MineCraft channel, which boasts more than 4 million subscribers. Two additional family shows, Fruit Ninja, inspired by the eponymously named gaming app, and Hyperlinked, a scripted series starring tween musician L2M, are coming in May.
Netflix is targeting teens and tweens with its original comedy series Alexa & Katie, a sitcom about two besties as they start their freshman year of high school starring Disney XD star Paris Berelc (Mighty Med, Lab Rats: Elite Force) and newcomer Isabel May. The series just received a 13-episode order and marks the first multi-camera comedy produced inhouse by Netflix. Series is created by Heather Wordham (Hannah Montana, Reba); Matthew Carlson (Malcolm In The Middle) serves as showrunner.
Nickelodeon’s PAW Patrol hit a series ratings high with its special “Mission PAW: Quest for the Crown,” which aired Friday, March 24, at noon. The episode delivered 18.9/2.0 million K2-5 and drew 4.2 million total viewers P2+ in Live+7. Additionally, PAW Patrol ranked as the number-one preschool show with Kids 2-5 on all TV for Q1 2017.
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A pair of children’s programs are among the 60 finalists for this year’s Peabody Awards: Ask the Storybots, from JibJab Bros. Studios and airing on Netflix, and Tumble Leaf, from Amazon Studios and Bix Pix Entertainment and airing on Amazon. Peabodys will be handed out May 20; the Rashida Jones-hosted event will air on PBS and Fusion.
Grammy-winning pop singer Britney Spears will receive the Radio Disney Music Awards "Icon" Award, which recognizes a distinguished artist whose career transcends popular culture and whose music is loved by generations of Radio Disney fans. Spears will receive the inaugural award at the RDMAs on Saturday, April 29, and airing on Disney Channel Sunday, April 30 at 8p.
PBS Kids’ annual “Explore the Outdoors” initiative kicks off this week with new episodes of STEM-focused shows Wild Kratts and Nature Cat! More than 30 local PBS member stations will be hosting “Earth Month”-related events such as lessons on local ecology to urban hiking and biking trails. New digital content includes Wild Kratts’ Aviva’s Eel-ectric Challenge, a game that teaches kids about electromagnetic fields with electric eels, available on pbskids.org and the free PBS Kids Games app.
Disney Channel will premiere Tangled: Short Cuts on Friday, May 5 at 8p. Up next, Bizaardvark Shorts Premiere Week begins on Disney Channel on Monday, 8 through Friday, May 12 featuring a new short each night at 7:30p.
Nat Geo Wild is cranking up the cute for its third annual BarkFest weekend, beginning Friday, April 14. Among new fodder are premieres of the specials Puppies vs. The World and Boss Dog, plus four episodes of Cesar Millan’s Dog Nation, Pet Talk and The Incredible Dr. Pol.
Speaking of puppies, Animal Planet’s thirteenth Puppy Bowl, which aired February 5 to coincide with the Super Bowl, was a lucky one. Among other ratings scores, the canine fest was up 45 percent in viewership over last year in the 12-17 demo, according to Nielsen.
“Puppy Bowl was really up from years past and brought in a strong younger viewership,” Patrice Andrews, Animal Planet’s GM, tells Cynopsis. “It crosses every age group, we get middle-aged parents bringing their kids with them.”
While Andrews notes the network is “not actively after the family audience – we target adults because we air programming in primetime – they just naturally come. It’s in our DNA.” She says younger viewers likely are also finding content on via the Animal Planet GO app.
Families also appear to be DVRing some AP primetime content children can watch during earlier hours of the day. New series The Zoo, which goes behind the scenes of the Bronx Zoo, is getting a DVR lift, according to the network. Similarly the net’s The Vet Life, which also has an aspirational element, is drawing a strong co-viewing audience.
Andrews cites the network’s return to its core mission as one strong reason for the co-viewing draw. “The big change we’ve seen over the last year is that Animal Planet a place where it’s safe to say every time you tune in, you’re going to see animals. We’ve basically gone back to brand. Anyone who has a love for animals can come to us and know that’s what they’re going to get.”
DEVELOPMENT & PRODUCTION
For the older kids, E! Entertainment is at work on an eight-episode, half-hour docuseries starring Kylie Jenner, 19-year-old cosmetics mogul and social media maven. The Kardashian spinoff, Life of Kylie, is slated to premiere later this summer. Series is produced by Bunim/Murray Productions and Ryan Seacrest Productions. Seacrest serves as the exec producer; Gil Goldschein, Jeff Jenkins, Farnaz Farjam and Andrea Metz serve as exec producers at Bunim/Murray. Kris Jenner and Kylie Jenner are also exec producers.
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Rovio Entertainment announced new Angry Birds licensee partnerships covering industries ranging from personal banking to children’s clothing. Among them are ES Originals (children’s footwear), Fabric Traditions (crafting fabric), Toy Factory (amusement plush toys including novelty hats, plush pillows, balls and capes) and Gamer Shoes (interchangeable zip on shoe covers).
Sesame Street and SC Johnson are working together to raise awareness and share critical information about mosquito bite prevention. A education program called 1, 2, 3 Stay Away Mosquitoes, features Grover, Ernie, The Count and Rosita, and provides free content to children and caregivers with tips to avoid mosquitoes that may carry disease and remove breeding grounds. It also offers age-appropriate information about the benefits of wearing protective clothing and repellent. Materials are available in English and Spanish, and include two online videos, activity sheets and tips for parents on a digital toolkit at: www.sesamestreet.org/mosquito.
YouTube Kids partnered with NBA players Marc and Pau Gasol on a release to coincide with World Day of Physical Activity on April 6. The video playlist Make It Healthy, Make It Fun is available on the YouTube Kids app; it contains 20 videos where viewers can enjoy their favorite animated cartoons, while learning about fun exercises, nutritional and easy recipes that they can cook with their families, and more. Throughout the playlist, the Gasols share their favorite videos and their personal thoughts pertaining to health and wellness.
Common Sense Media and Disney Channel collaborated on an online tool for the Common Sense website to accompany the debut of new Disney Channel live-action coming-of-age series Andi Mack. Conversations About Andi Mack is a video-based viewer’s guide to series, which delves into some of the themes that arise and includes insights on how to use the storytelling in the series as a tool to initiate and navigate meaningful conversations with family.
Joe Harris, the illustrator who drew the cartoon figures Underdog and the Trix “silly rabbit,” died March 26 at his home in Stamford, CT. He was 89. A longtime advertising illustrator, Harris drew the iconic Trix rabbit for the General Mills breakfast cereal and went on with his partners in Total TeleVision to create a series of low-budget Saturday morning cartoons including Tennessee Tuxedo, King Leonardo and Mr. Wizard. Their biggest success came in 1964 with The Underdog Show, an NBC series that featured a weakling pup, Shoeshine Boy (voiced by Wally Cox), who transformed into the powerful, flying Underdog. Disney resurrected the character in 2007 for its live-action Underdog movie, with Jason Lee voicing the title character and Amy Adams doing Polly.
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