Boo! It’s Monday, October 31, 2011, and this is your first early morning Kids briefing.
Cynopsis: Kids! presents a new A Few Questions For…
Answering a few of our questions this week is Nancy Kanter the SVP/Original programming and GM, Disney Junior Worldwide. Disney Junior ( www.disney.go.com/disneyjunior ) is a multiplatform service for K2-7 and their grown ups, which focuses on emotional and social development, early math and language skills, and encouraging healthy lifestyle and eating choices. Kanter, who joined Disney Channel in 2001 as VP/Original Programming, is credited for the development and production of Disney Junior series such as Jake and the Never Land Pirates, A Poem Is…, Mickey Mousekersize and Special Agent Oso: Three Healthy Steps, Handy Manny, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Imagination Movers, among many others, and upcoming new series projects such as Doc McStuffins, Minnie’s Bow-Toons, and Oki’s Oasis, as well as numerous acquisitions. She also oversaw the creation of a global development and production operation for the preschool brand, based in London. Kanter was previously President, Bluecow.com, and was an executive producer for Sesame Workshop (f/k/a Children’s Television Workshop), where she worked on 30+ Sesame Street specials and direct-to-video releases. She also produced ABC afterschool Specials and worked as a film editor. Disney Junior channels around the world in 21 languages. In the US Disney Junior is currently a programming block on Disney Channel, but that will chance in 2012 when Disney Junior will launch as a stand-alone 24-hour basic cable and satellite channel here.
There are some 28 Disney Junior channels already airing around world. What have you learned from launching the international Disney Junior channels that will help how you launch it in the US?
Many of our global Disney Junior channels are in markets with myriad competitive kids channels. Often far more than we have here in U.S. And what we’ve seen is that you have to be laser focused on how to get across what differentiates you from the other channels. It needs to be clear to kids — and in preschool television, clear to parents — who you are and why to make the choice to tune in. We have taken that to heart both in crafting what we want Disney Junior to represent and how to get that message across.
While there are likely many shared experiences for preschoolers and parents around the world, there are also numerous cultural differences from region-to-region. How do you go about creating a Disney Junior series that might work for all of the Disney Junior channels worldwide? How do you mesh research from one country with that of another – or are the scripts completely re-worked country by country, which is something that can be more easily accomplished with animated series.
It’s true there are differences, but we’re always surprised by how similar reactions are among the kids and moms we speak with around the world when it comes to the shows kids like and moms approve. We are sensitive to cultural differences so as to make sure there’s nothing offensive in one country or another, but in the world of preschool it’s usually pretty easy to avoid those trouble spots. We did once find out that it would be better to replace a scene built around making a peanut butter & jelly sandwich with ham & cheese on a croissant for France. And we did.
When creating a preschool property, which obviously also includes keeping their parents/caretakers in mind, do you think TV first and then online, mobile and so forth? (In what order do develop an original property?).
For us it always starts with “why would we want to make this show?” We need to be moved by something, hopefully many somethings – the story, the character, the look, the chance to build a strong learning component around it. And we need to feel enthusiastic about working with the creators for what we know will be at least 2 years before it will see the light of day on television. Do we love this property enough to live with it every day for the next 24 months and beyond? From there we consider how best to bring the property into a kid’s world. Would it make sense to seed it digitally? We certainly know that any key TV series will need to find a way to live in the online, mobile, app world. But what we look for is how to make those digital extensions feel a part of the core story without duplicating exactly what we are doing on TV. With the access kids have to digital media, it’s a chance to build upon the storytelling and use the technology we have at hand to make it deeper and richer in ways that you can’t necessarily do on television.
You announced last week that Disney Junior is working on a new preschool series that is set in the old west, Oki’s Oasis, which features Mandy Moore as the voice of Oki the mayor of Nice and Friendly Corners. Question? So now you have covered the world of pirates with Jake and the Never Land Pirates, the old west, the world of secret agents with Special Agent Oso – in 2011 why do you think kids, preschoolers, still relate to cowboys and pirates?
Pirates, cowboys, wizards, princesses – these are archetypes for storytelling that have been with us for generations. We think they are as resonant today as they ever were. They represent the action, drama, and aspiration that can be woven into the kinds of stories that kids want to hear over and over. And when at their best they can move a kid to think, “what if that were me?” which is one of the best ways to use storytelling as a pathway to learning.
Mickey Mouse and his longtime partner, Minnie Mouse, debuted in 1928. Over the last group of years Disney Channel has been re-introducing both characters to kid audiences. In your view how important is it to keep them fundamentally the same as they have always been — or to reflect kids of today?
In developing our shows around Mickey and Minnie what we’ve found is that these characters are truly timeless. These are optimistic, active, funny characters who fit perfectly with today’s kids. Kids seem entirely engaged by their personalities which reflect how they have always been portrayed.
So, would you please explain how you almost prevented the world from seeing Dog Day Afternoon?
Did Sidney Lumet ever hear this story?
Oh, God! This story will haunt me forever. Here’s the way it happened. I was an apprentice editor working on my second film in the business. The most important thing you did as an apprentice editor (aside from soaking up everything you possible could from the people working around you) was to clean the work print of the film and get it to screenings as needed. Unlike today when films are edited digitally, these were the days when you actually edited 35 mm film; there was only one copy made of the dailies from the original negative. Film, a splicer and tape — those were your tools. Seems awfully quaint now. So, I hauled the reels of the film in two big film cans out onto the street to get them to a screening for the studio execs, Sidney Lumet and Al Pacino at a screening room on 59th St. I put the film cans down on the corner of 50th St. and stepped off the curb to hail a cab down Broadway. No sooner had I put my hand up to flag a taxi when I heard a loud crunch behind me. The crosstown bus had just jumped the curb and run over my two film cans!! My first thought was to flee. Leave the mangled film right where it was and hop the next fight to Mexico never to be heard from again. Thankfully, I collected myself, opened the cans and saw that mercifully while the reels were ruined they protected the film, which was still intact. So, off I went to the screening, transferred the film to new reels and the screening went off without anyone being the wiser. To this day, I can’t ride the M50 without a touch of anxiety.
What would you say is the best way for an intern to deal with a disaster?
My best advice to interns in dealing with disaster is to avoid it at all costs. And have your passport up to date.
Spain-based Biplano is appointed to manage the licensing rights for the 3D animated TV series Bolts & Blip in France, Spain and Portugal. The first ever stereoscopic 3D animated series, Bolts & Blip is a co-production between Canadian animation studio ToonBox Entertainment and Korean 3D company Redrover. The 3D version of Bolts & Blip recently began broadcasting across the US on the 3D channel 3Net as well as in Korea on SkyLife. The 2D animated version of Bolts & Blip continues to air around the world, including on Teletoon+ (France), Nickelodeon (Israel), and Club Super 3 (Spain).
VTech releases its new K4-9 aimed interactive educational tablet InnoTab ( www.vtechkids.com/brands/brand_view/innotab ). The multi-function InnoTab ($79.99) provides kids with interactive and animated reading, education-centric games, creative activities, and a collection of apps. InnoTab comes loaded out of the box with a full suite of apps including an interactive, animated e-book, motion games, creative activities, MP3 music player, photo viewer, video player, alarm clock, calculator, calendar and an address book. The new tablet is also supported by cartridges ($24.99/each) that feature popular kid characters, including Dora the Explorer, the Disney Princesses, and those from Cars 2 and Toy Story, and Penguins of Madagascar, and Scooby Doo, among others. Additional e-books, games and other content can also be downloaded from VTech’s Learning Lodge Navigator, with 100+ downloads expected to be available by the end of 2011. InnoTab features a 5-inch color touch screen LCD, a tilt-sensor for motion game control, USB interface, SD card slot for memory expansion, along with a stylus and a headphone jack.
National Geographic Kids and Funrise Toy team to create a new line of educational adventure-themed toys, The Wild Rides, aimed at K3+. Designed to encourage kids to learn and care about the planet, The Wild Rides sets are set to be available at Costco stores from November 2011. The new toy line sets feature animal fun facts and stickers and include, The Wild Rides All Adventure Vehicle ($14.99) an open-air jeep and trailer that also has a telescoping arm, retractable wrench, removable play compass and three wild animals, and The Wild Rides Elephant set ($14.99) featuring a canopy that becomes a slide, removable binoculars, an elephant with a spring-loaded trunk that launches a monkey, a child figure and three wild animals. Further National Geographic Kids Wild Friends, Wild Animals and Pint-sized Pals figures will be available at retail beginning spring 2012. National Geographic’s net proceeds from sales of these products will go to support exploration, conservation, research and education programs.
Hess Corporation will release its 47th annual holiday toy, The 2011 Hess Toy Truck and Race Car, on November 11, at participating Hess and Hess Express stores. Both the truck and race car set, which are sold together ($26.99) the race car can sit on top of the flatbed trailer truck, feature sounds and lights. And as usual the toys come with Energizer batteries. You can take a look at this year’s holiday Hess toy and find more information at www.hesstoytruck.com and www.facebook.com/hesstoytruck .
Heads up! Coming to you on December 1st the first every Cynopsis Media Holiday Programming Guide, listing all the great network holiday programming coming up during the month of December 2011. We’ll include one-time-only specials as well as special holiday episodes of regular series. We don’t want to leave anyone out, so help us help you and send us your network holiday listings, to me at email@example.com. And thanks!
National Public Radio (NPR) has launched the first installment of its new NPR’s Back-Seat Book Club, which encourages kid/tween listeners to take part in conversations with authors of for kids and young adults targeted books (new and more classic titles). Kids (and parents) are asked to read the book that is up for discussion and then send in their questions for the discussion. The club takes its name from the fact that NPR has a truly captive audience, and a potential future audience, sitting in the back seat of the car on a daily basis. While I’m sure this was not the key reason the segment was created … in providing kids with something specifically for them, and a way for them to participate, kids are more likely to become loyal listeners by choice as they grow up (as if Car Talk and Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me! aren’t enough). Airing as part of NPR’s long running late afternoon/early evening news show All Things Considered, when many kids are in the car being shuttled from place to place, Back-Seat Book Club may also just get kids and parents reading and talking together more too. The first book featured in the club is The Graveyard Book, from author Neil Gaiman, the interview, which includes questions from kids for Gaiman, further questions that didn’t make it into the interview, and other links can be found at www.npr.org/series/141728003/nprs-back-seat-book-club and as a podcast. Next up … NPR’s Back-Seat Book Club is asking kids/parents to read another classic book The Phantom Tollbooth, by author Norton Juster and illustrated by Jules Feiffer, and submit questions for discussion in November. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the publication of The Phantom Tollbooth.
PBS Kids launches Little Pim French app for the iPad, based on the animated Little Pim foreign languages series. Like the popular Little Pim Spanish app, the French language version helps kids acquire vocabulary in a new language, in this case French, while playing games with Little Pim. The new app helps preschoolers develop basic French vocabulary (60 words and phrases) through three interactive games, Eating and Drinking, Playtime and Wake up Smiling. More information PBS Kids apps can be found at www.pbskids.org/mobile .
Nova Scotia-based Huminah Huminah Animation is partnering with kid-aimed online world ZiggityZoom ( www.ziggityzoom.com ) to develop a new game app Feed the Monster ( www.feedthemonstergame.com), based on ZiggityZoom’s property of the same name. The Feed the Monster game app will release for iPhone and iPad for holiday 2011, which will be followed by an Android version in February 2012.
Disney‘s virtual world Club Penguin ( www.clubpenguin.com ) gets some new social communications and safety features. Club Penguin unveils a new Chat system that lets kids communicate faster with the help of a new function that auto completes words and phrases as they type, which includes new safety technology as well. The augmented chat feature has been translated across four languages, available in English, French, Portuguese, and Spanish, for players around the world. The site also has an enhanced Friends functionality that lets players better organize, find (searching specific names) and visit their penguin friends, and each player will now have their own personalized penguin avatar in the friends list, rather than just their penguin name. Additionally, in a few weeks the site will also introduce a “jump” feature that lets kids move easily to where their friends on the site are located. Disney says that kids exchange 56+ million chat messages every day via Club Penguin.
Weekend Box Office Estimates for kids/tweens/teens rated G, PG or PG-13; October 28-30, 2011:
Puss In Boots (DreamWorks Animation/Paramount) PG Opening Weekend $34.0m
In Time (Fox) PG-13 Opening Weekend $12.0m
Footloose (Paramount) PG-13 $5.4m-3 wk total $38.4m
Real Steel (Disney) PG-13 $4.7m-4 wk total $73.9m
The Three Musketeers (Summit) PG-13 $3.5m-2 wk total $14.8m
Moneyball (Sony) PG-13 $2.4m-6 wk total $67.4m
Courageous (Sony/TriStar) PG-13 $1.8m-5 wk total $27.6m
Johnny English Reborn (Universal) PG $1.7m-2 wk total $6.4m
Dolphin tale (Warner Bros.) PG $1.6m-6 wk total $67.0m
Anonymous (Sony) PG-13 Opening Weekend $1.0m
Source: Rentrak ( www.rentrak.com )
Anne Globe re-ups her deal as Chief Marketing Officer, DreamWorks Animation SKG. Globe, who has been with the company for 15 years, will continue to oversee all global marketing, including corporate brand-building as well as theatrical, TV, and ancillary marketing efforts for all of DreamWorks Animation’s properties. Prior to DreamWorks Animation, Globe served as VP/Promotions, MCA/Universal, and began her marketing career at The Walt Disney Studios.
Live + Same Day Ratings Kids Cable Network Averages (000) for Thursday, October 27, 2011, 6am-11pm, ranked by K2-11:
DISNEY CHANNEL: K2-11 866; K6-11 492; TWEENS 9-14 348
NICKELODEON: K2-11 847; K6-11 384; TWEENS 9-14 278
CARTOON NETWORK: K2-11 403; K6-11 238; TWEENS 9-14 219
DISNEY XD: K2-11 144; K6-11 105; TWEENS 9-14 86
NICKTOONS: K2-11 86; K6-11 55; TWEENS 9-14 55
Source: MTVN Research from Nielsen Media Research Data
CORRECTION: The chart for Wednesday, October 26, 2011 that ran here on Friday, October 28, 2011 inadvertently did not reflect the correct network ranking by K2-11. Below is the corrected chart.
Live + Same Day Ratings Kids Cable Network Averages (000) for Wednesday, October 26, 2011, 6am-11pm, ranked by K2-11:
DISNEY CHANNEL: K2-11 883; K6-11 482; TWEENS 9-14 340
NICKELODEON: K2-11 800; K6-11 363; TWEENS 9-14 258
CARTOON NETWORK: K2-11 372; K6-11 223; TWEENS 9-14 195
DISNEY XD: K2-11 140; K6-11 98; TWEENS 9-14 89
NICKTOONS: K2-11 74; K6-11 51; TWEENS 9-14 48
Source: MTVN Research from Nielsen Media Research Data
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Answer to Yesterday’s Trivia Question: Prior to Barney, what large purple animal starred in an animated kids’ show, who had a best friend named So-So. Peter Potamus. Kudos to: Rich Boland-DISH Network/NYC; Hank Bordowitz-The Bordowitz Media Werx/Ridgewood NJ; Casandra Kate Escobar-Women In Children Media/NYC
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