TIME OUT WITH… MARTY KROFFT
Nickelodeon is renewing canine-centric, live action/puppetry series Mutt & Stuff for a second season. The show, created by the legendary kids content team of Sid and Marty Krofft, and Bradley Zweig, and starring Cesar Millan and his son Calvin Millan, is the top-rated preschool show in its timeslot (10a). CynKids spoke with Marty Krofft about the magic of Krofft shows like H.R. PufnStuf through the years, why Mutt & Stuff is a success, and future plans – including possible reboots of Krofft classics Sigmund and the Seamonster and The Bugaloos:
What’s the magic ingredient of your shows?
All of our experience came from doing live shows around the country. We were the creative heads of Six Flags, we had thousand-seat theaters in four cities as producers. Most of the producers see Montana from an airplane but we were in the trenches, we always did live shows and that really is part of our success. We tried and tested everything. Pufnstuf started in San Antonio, Texas at the Hemisphere World’s Fair in 1968. We did it for the Coca-Cola Co.
Does kids’ consumption of content across different platforms influence your creative process today?
Not at all. We don’t look at any other shows, we try to do original shows that haven’t been done before and this is another one. Twenty-three dogs in one show. The great thing about having dogs is they don’t talk back, they show up on time, cooperate. No egos.
You’ve been at this a long time. Do you look at ratings?
It’s impossible not to look at ratings and it’s good to know how you’re doing. Every week I send sizzles of each episode to all the executives to make sure they’re watching at least that. They told me they are now going to do it with other shows. I should’ve copyrighted that idea.
How has your development process changed?
We do no developing without a pilot guarantee. We don’t want to go to a series directly, we want to do a pilot and make sure we have it together. We did it with this show [Mutt and Stuff], we did two pilots. We learned something with the first one and something with the second one. And then the show has grown and expanded. We leased a 727 jet for the cockpit and put it in the stage for the dogs to go to Hawaii for vacation. That was never in the original plan.