03/09/16: Lesli Rotenberg on PBS Kids’ 24/7 plans; Pete Wentz on Nick’s School of Rock; Disney tees up new ‘toons


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Good morning. It’s Wednesday, March 9, 2016, and this is your weekly issue of Cynopsis: Kids!


PBS Kids announced plans to launch a free 24/7 children’s programming service in the fall that will include a new linear TV channel and live streaming on digital platforms. CynKids got the details from Lesli Rotenberg, GM of children’s media at PBS:
The genesis of the expansion is two-fold  to provide free kids content in the face of increased premium tiers for the demo and to maximize digital growth, Rotenberg says. PBS Kids has seen a 20 percent year-over-year increase in digital streaming across all platforms. “We’re seeing huge growth in OTT and on-demand, so we looked at how could we augment that service and provide a service that continues to be on-demand but also provides an opportunity to have a programmed packaged service coming from PBS that has all the content in it.”

The new channel also capitalizes on new research about children’s learning. “Children’s learning accelerates when they experience content on multiple platforms, so if we combine television viewership with games we could see big increases in learning,” Rotenberg tells CynKids. “That’s a phenomenon we wanted to make available to all children.”

Initially the new channel will be fueled by existing PBS Kids content; to come are
complementary interactive games and activities. “There will be more episodes, counter programming,” Rotenberg says. “It will never be the same series on the primary service as on the second channel, but the second channel allows us to program to specific age groups, and different curriculum areas throughout the day.”


Nickelodeon is getting its rock’n’roll on with the debut of School of Rock on Saturday, March 12 following the Kids’ Choice Awards. The series is based on the 2003 Richard Linklater-directed film about a group of rule-abiding students who learn to take risks and reach new heights thanks to substitute teacher Dewey Finn, a down-on-his-luck musician who inspires his class to form a secret band. Series features some musical guest stars, including Fall Out Boy’s Pete Wentz and Big Time Rush’s Kendall Schmidt. Wentz, who plays a buddy of Dewey’s from his days in the band, tells CynKids, “I’ve always been a fan of that movie and it’s fun to stuff you can turn on in your house and your kids can watch.” Linklater and Scott Rudin serve as exec producers.

Actress Sandra Oh is headed to PBS Kids for the premiere the first Peg + Cat movie, Peg and Cat Save the World! The one-hour special airs Monday, March 28, and will follow the spirited Peg and Cat to Washington, DC, where they help the President of the United States, voiced by actress Oh, avert a crisis of national importance. The two-part movie highlights math and problem-solving skills, and will usher in a week of new eps beginning April 4.

The Powerpuff Girls are headed back to Cartoon, and the net released a clip this week called “Bubbles Loves Animals” to tease the new incarnation of the show, which arrives in early April. The reboot includes a new TV series produced by Cartoon Network Studios and a licensing program. Check out what Blossom, Buttercup and Bubbles are up to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pg-E2iCgDow

Boomerang will air TV special Super Hero High on Saturday, March 19 at 10a, featuring the lineup of female heroes from DC Super Hero Girls, the new comic universe from Warner Bros. Consumer Products, DC Entertainment, Warner Bros. Animation and Mattel. In addition to the special, exclusive shorts inspired by the brand are now available on the Cartoon Network video app. The DC Super Hero Girls world centers on the female Super Heroes of the DC Comics universe during their formative high school years. DC Super Hero Girls merch is on shelves nationwide, exclusively at Target.

A new season of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic debuts on Discovery Family on Saturday, March 26 at 11a, and a fun Game of Thrones-themed trailer for the Hasbro Studios-created show hit the Internet this week. Season 6 kicks off with a one-hour premiere that finds Princess Sparkle and the rest of the Mane 6 heading to Crystal Empire for the “crystalling” of Princess Cadence. Here’s the trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B-U8Lnc7G2I

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles meet their ‘80s alternate-reality counterparts in a new episode of the Nickelodeon series debuting Sunday, March 27 at 11a. Worlds collide as the ‘80s voice cast of Cam Clarke, Rob Paulsen, Barry Gordon and Townsend Coleman joins forces as Leonardo, Raphael, Donatello, and Michelangelo, respectively, in “Trans-Dimensional Turtles.” Actor Pat Fraley also reunites with the ‘80s cast for the first time since the original series premiered to reprise his role as Krang. In the ep, after meeting their ‘80s counterparts in a 2D animated world, the entire clan moves back into a CG-animation dimension and all eight Turtles must battle to eliminate both the ‘80s Krang and Kraang Sub-Prime.

Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber, DNCE, Shawn Mendes and One Direction are among the top nominees for the 2016 Radio Disney Music Awards. Voting is open now through April 10 for the event, scheduled for Saturday, April 30 at the Microsoft Theater in LA. A two-hour telecast, Disney Channel Presents the 2016 Radio Disney Music Awards will air Sunday, May 1 at 7p; highlights will e available on Radio Disney, the Radio Disney app, the Disney Channel app and RadioDisney.com.


Thursday, March 24
// 8:15-10:30a.m. // New York City
Join us as we celebrate honorees from the following companies and more!

AT&T, Comcast Cable, Crown Media Family Networks, Deutsch, DigitasLBi, Dunkin’ Brands, Fox Sports, Hasbro, Horizon Media, Hulu, Maker Studios, Mindshare, MTV, NBCUniversal, Octagon, PBS Kids, Scripps Networks Interactive, Showtime Networks, Starcom MediaVest, TiVO, Xaxis.

Book your company’s table today: http://www.cynopsis.com/event/2016-twd-event/.


New voice cast members are joining Mandy Moore and Zachary Levi in Tangled: Before Ever After, Disney Channel’s upcoming animated series based on Walt Disney Animation Studios’ feature film Tangled. Ashley Judd (Divergent) is on board as Rapunzel’s mother Queen Arianna; Broadway star Eden Espinosa (Wicked) as Rapunzel’s handmaiden and confidant, Cassandra; comedian Jeff Ross (The Wedding Ringer) as Hook Hand’s brother Hook Foot; and Richard Kind (Inside Out) as Uncle Monty. Reprising their roles from the feature film are Jeffrey Tambor and Paul F. Tompkins; additional new cast members include Sean Hayes (Will & Grace), Peter MacNicol (Ally McBeal), Clancy Brown (The Shawshank Redemption) and Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (Lost). Series is slated to premiere in 2017.

New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski is suiting up to host Crashletes, Nickelodeon’s 20-ep viral sports clip series featuring guest personalities from the worlds of sports and entertainment plus user-generated content. The series is exec-produced by Rob Dyrdek and Shane Nickerson of Superjacket Productions.

Disney XD ordered two original animated series – Billy Dilley’s Super-Duper Subterranean Summer, from Emmy-winning director Aaron Springer (Disney’s Mickey Mouse cartoon shorts, SpongeBob SquarePants), and Country Club, from comic book creators, brothers Chris and Shane Houghton (Harvey Beaks). Billy Dilley, slated to launch in 2017, follows an eccentric science-obsessed seventh-grader and his lab partners as they find themselves stuck in a bizarre world beneath the earth’s surface. Springer serves as exec producer. Voice cast includes Jessica McKenna (Comedy Bang! Bang!), Tom Kenny (SpongeBob SquarePants) and YouTuber Catie Wayne (Animalist). Set to premiere in 2018, Country Club is about a mischievous and optimistic country boy who moves to the big city with his family. Emmy-winning director Rob Renzetti (Gravity Falls) serves as executive producer and the Houghton brothers serve as co-exec producers.

Disney XD is also adapting 2014 animated theatrical hit Big Hero 6 for the small screen, with a series premiere set for 2017. The Mouse House has begun production, with Emmy winners Marc McCorkle and Bob Schooley (both of Kim Possible) at the helm. KP alum Nick Filippi will serve as an exec producer and supervisor. Series picks up where the movie, based on the Marvel hero, left off.

Disney XD also ordered a season three pickup for Disney Television Animation’s Star vs. The Forces of Evil, from creator Daron Nefcy, and a second season of the short-form comedy series Two More Eggs, from animators The Brothers Chaps (Mike and Matt Chapman). 

Two new series are slated to premiere on Disney Junior in 2017. Vampirina, exec-produced by Doc McStuffins creator Chris Nee, is inspired by Disney Publishing’s book series Vampirina Ballerina and tells the story of a young vampire girl who faces the joys and trials of being the new kid in town when her family moves from Transylvania to Pennsylvania. Animation studio Brown Bag Films is producing in association with Disney Junior. Puppy Dog Tails, created by comedian Harland Williams, centers on two fun-loving pug puppies whose thrill-seeking appetites take them on daily adventures around their neighborhood and beyond. Williams also serves as consulting producer with Sean Coyle (The Awesomes, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse) as executive producer and Dean Batali (That ’70s Show) as story editor. The series is a production of Wild Canary in association with Disney Junior.


In a play for the teen and young adult demos, MTV revealed the nominees for the 2016 MTV Movie Awards via its Snapchat Discover channel. Avengers: Age of Ultron, Creed, Deadpool, Jurassic World, Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Straight Outta Compton scored nominations for Movie of the Year, with Star Wars garnering the most nominations for a franchise, with 11. The awards, hosted by Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart airs Sunday, April 10 at 8p.

Pretty Little Liars fans can connect even more rabidly with the show via the new PLLTV.com fan site. The site serves as a hub for behind-the-scenes content from the Freeform series, interactive features and exclusive materials including episode sneak peeks, quizzes, Twitter chats and links to social media accounts for cast and crew.

That was fast. Family comedy reboot Fuller House will get a second season on Netflix.


American Express and nonprofit organization Games for Change developed a mobile game designed to galvanize volunteerism in national parks. Save the Park, available free on iOS, features four characters who accomplish volunteer tasks in different parks, experiencing in a virtual environment the impact they can have on park conservation. Embedded calls-to-action encourage players to explore real-world volunteer opportunities. To drive additional resources to the cause, the American Express Foundation will donate $1 to the National Park Foundation for each download of Save the Park by December 31, 2016, up to $50,000. Games for Change developed the game with Schell Games, a developer that has produced games for PBS Kids, the Fred Rogers Co. and Disney among others.

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment and Sony Pictures Animation joined up with the Ad Council, US Forest Service, National Association of State Foresters, National Forest Foundation and Boys & Girls Clubs of America to raise awareness for Smokey Bear’s national wildfire prevention campaign. Using the hashtag #SmokeyBearHug, characters in Sony’s Open Season: Scared Silly are helping kick off a nationwide program teaching BGCA youth how to safely build, manage and extinguish a campfire. For every BGCA member who participates, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment will donate a tree to be planted by the National Forest Foundation to replace those lost during fire and disease outbreaks.


Zendaya will step into a key role in Sony and Marvel Studios’ Spider-Man reboot. The star of Disney Channel’s K.C. Undercover joins Tom Holland, who’ll play Peter Parker/Spider-Man in the film to be directed by Jon Watts (Cop Car). The untitled picture, which is produced by Amy Pascal and Kevin Feige, is scheduled for release in July 2017.

Nonprofit organization Common Sense Media today (Wednesday) will announce a new rating tool at SXSW to help parents discover, use and choose TV shows and films that portray positive character strengths experts have determined can support kids’ development.  The initiative will be announced in Austin, TX, during the panel “Can Media Teach Character Strengths and Life Skills?” featuring character education experts, academics and entertainment producers.

Keith Chapman, creator of Paw Patrol and Bob the Builder, will keynote the inaugural idea exchange gathering Mind Mix, hosted by the International Licensing Industry Merchandisers’ Assn. May 11-12 in Berlin. Paw Patrol, produced with Spin Master, currently airs on Nickelodeon. Earlier in his career Chapman worked for The Jim Henson Co. on The Muppets, Muppet Babies and Fraggle Rock. He formed Chapman Entertainment in 2001 with partners Greg Lynn and Andrew Haydon, and operated the company until 2013.

But will there be lasagna? Cartoonist Jim Davis, creator of Garfield, will receive a Governor’s Arts Awards from the Indiana Arts Commission at its program on Saturday, April 9. A native of the state, Davis operates his Paws Inc., which supports Garfield global business ventures, out of Albany, IN.

The new book Knox Chase on the Case of the Valentine’s Day Mystery, by Adam Lipsius, is being adapted into a motion picture in association with Sean Covel (producer, Napoleon Dynamite) and casting director Mary Jo Slater (The Contender, Dumb and Dumber) who are holding an online casting contest.


Houghton Mifflin Harcourt’s Curious World, a digital learning app for kids 3-7, launched 58 new original videos, bringing its total number of licensed and original titles to more than 600 since launching last October. Curious World’s partners include NatGeo, NASA, Caspar Babypants, PBS Kids and Young Rembrandts. New content includes six original shortform, three live-action and three animated series. The first to launch are Moonlight Storytime, which celebrates the magic and adventure that lives within classic fables, and Get Crafty, how-to videos featuring real kids demonstrating their personal take on arts and crafts activities. The remaining four series will release on the app during the next six weeks.

Parents struggling to motivate their children to study were top of mind for the developers of the new Gradstar app. A digital version of an old-fashioned star chart and a reward-based tool designed to help students succeed, Gradestar lets parents challenge their kids to complete various tasks like doing their homework, studying, and volunteering in exchange for Gradestars, virtual currency they can use to purchase goods from local and national businesses. Check out www.gradestar.com for more info.


Imagination-infused preschool series Little People debuts on Canada’s Family Jr. network on Monday, March 14 at 12p. The series is based on the toy franchise from Mattel.

9 Story Media Group signed licenses with the Australian Broadcasting Corp. for second seasons of Camp Lakebottom, Numb Chucks and Peg + Cat. The combined deal brings more than 75 half-hours of new programming to the public broadcaster. ABC currently airs the first seasons of Camp Lakebottom and Numb Chucks on ABC3, while Peg + Cat airs on ABC Kids.

Cake, French CGI studio TeamTo and Belgian creative house Thuristar launched new medieval animated series My Knight and Me at MIPTV. A comedy for kids 6-11, the show is the fifth production in Cake and TeamTo’s partnership.

Splash Entertainment inked a new deal with Latin American distributor TV Film International for three Splash animated series – Sabrina: Secrets Of A Teenage Witch, Dive Olly Dive and Pet Alien.

Hoho Rights scored new TV and SVOD sales for its preschool properties Cloudbabies and Everybody Loves a Moose. Cloudbabies was acquired by ETV in South Africa and Stellar Entertainment in Australia for its in-flight services on Jetstar Airways, as well as in Poland by AMC for its channel Jim Jam. Dubai-based MBC acquired Everybody Loves A Moose for its channels broadcasting across the Middle East and North Africa.

ZooMoo Animal Friends, a 60-part children’s series, premiered on CCTV14 in China to 252 million viewers during its first month. Co-produced by ZooMoo Networks and CCTV, ZooMoo Animal Friends airs in primetime daily and wa the No. 1 show in the country in its time slot in the 4-14-year-old dem.


Endemol Shine North America, producer of Masterchef Junior, partnered with Wicked Cool Toys to develop a cooking products line inspired by the Fox franchise. The deal was brokered by licensing agency Brand Central.

The collection of toys and other items inspired by PBS Kids’ Wild Kratts! has added Isaac Morris Limited as a new licensee, while master toy licensee Wicked Cool Toys along with Pressman Toy, Random House Children’s Books, PBS Distribution, PBS Kids and InCharacter will introduce new Wild Kratts offerings this year.


The finalists have been announced for the
Cynopsis Social Good Awards!

Our finalists are a vibrant group of engaged professionals who work hard and are committed to evolving the media industry, while giving back to the public through their profession. Join us on April 7th in NYC to celebrate their achievements.

Click to see the full list of finalists, and save your place at this year’s breakfast event: http://www.cynopsis.com/event/2016-sga-event/.


ABC’s The Muppets brought home a stronger-than-average finish to its season on Tuesday, March 1. Kermit and friends delivered 2.7 million viewers and 0.9/3 in A18-49, building for the second week in Total Viewers and A18-49, earning four-week highs in both demos.

Top 10 Basic Cable Ratings for the week of February 29-March 6, 2016

K2-11 Total Programming Day

K2-11 Prime (Monday  Sunday 8-11p.m.)

K2-11  (Monday-Sunday 6 a.m.-11 p.m.)

K6-11 Total Programming Day

K6-11 Prime (Monday  Sunday 8-11p.m.)

K6-11  (Monday-Sunday 6 a.m.-11 p.m.)

K9-14 Total Programming Day

K9-14 Prime (Monday  Sunday 8-11p.m.)

K9-14  (Monday-Sunday 6 a.m.-11 p.m.)
Source: Disney from Nielsen Media Research National MIT, ranked on coverage ratings
Viewing Type: Live + Same Day

K2-11  Top 10 Programs for the week of February 15-21, 2106

2/15/16 SpongeBob Squarepants/NICK/7-7:30p/1860
2/15/16 Sofia the First/DSNY/11:30-11:55a/1801
2/15/16 Frozen/DSNY/9:45-11:30a/1749
2/15/16 The Amazing World of Gumball/TOON/7-7:30p/1557
2/15/16 Gravity Falls/DXD/7-8p/1364
2/15/16 Teen Titans Go!/TOON/6-6:30p/1348
2/15/16 Alvinnn!! And the Chipmunks/NICK/7:30-8p/1341
2/15/16 Stuck In the Middle/DSNY/11:55a-12:25/1259
2/20/16 Game Shakers/NICK/8-8:30p/1152
2/15/16 SpongeBob Squarepants/NICK/6:30-7p/1140

K6-11  Top 10 Programs for the week of February 15-21 2016

2/15/16 SpongeBob Squarepants/NICK/7-7:30p/1305
2/15/16 The Amazing World of Gumball/TOON/7-7:30p/1300
2/15/16 Gravity Falls/DXD/7-8p/1075
2/15/16 Teen Titans Go!/TOON/6-6:30p/1028
2/20/16 Game Shakers/NICK/8-8:30p/936
2/21/16 Liv and Maddie/DSNY/8-8:30p/933
2/15/16 Alvinnn!!! And the Chipmunks/NICK/7:30-8p/932
2/20/16 Nicky, Ricky, Dicky & Dawn/NICK/8:30-9p/885
2/19/16 Bunk’d/DSNY/8-8:30p/828
2/19/16 Girl Meets World/DSNY/8:30-9p/795
Source: Turner Research based on Total US Television Universe of 116,400,000 homes, Final Live+7.

Top Weekend Domestic Box Office Estimates for the top-grossing movies rated G, PG or PG-13: March 4-6, 2016
scored a record for a non-Pixar Disney movie opener this weekend, raking in more than $75 million with all tallies in. By contrast, Frozen opened at $67.4 million in 2013.

Zootopia (Buena Vista) PG #73.7 million (opening weekend)
Gods of Egypt (Lionsgate) PG-13 $5 million (week 2) cume revenue $22.85 million
Risen (Sony) PG-13 $3.89 million (week 3), cume revenue $28.65 million
Kung Fu Panda (Fox) PG $3.53 million (week 6), cume revenue $133.83 million
Eddie the Eagle (Fox) PG-13 $3.1 million (week 2), cume revenue $10.86 million
The Witch (A24) $2.51 million (week 3), cume revenue $20.92 million
Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Buena Vista) PG-13 $1.87 million (week 12) cume revenue $928.84 million
Race 2016 (Focus) PG-13 $1.51 million (week 3) cume revenue $16.51 million
Ride Along 2 PG-13 $706,660 (week 8) cume revenue $89.5 million
Hail, Caesar! (Universal) PG-13 $433,205 (week 5), cume revenue $29.23 million
Source: Rentrak Corporation


Toys ‘R Us hired Amy von Walter as EVP of global communications and public relations. Von Walter, who will report directly to chairman Dave Brandon, most recently was VP of communications and public affairs at Best Buy. She also serves on the board for Athletes Committed to Educating Students, and Techbridge.

Janet Oak joined Ipsos as SVP of the Millennials, Kids & Family Center of Excellence, reporting to Joe Cesaria. Prior to joining Ipsos, Oak spent three years as head of global advisory & custom shopper insights at Galileo Global Branding Group. Before that, she served as Managing Partner of The Family Room for seven years.


Last Week’s Trivia: What ‘70s pop outfit was the namesake of a short-lived live-action show produced by Sid and Marty Krofft? The Bay City Rollers. No correct guesses, better luck this week!

Today’s Trivia Question: What child actress is featured on the cover of the Beatles album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band? Email [email protected] with your answer and be sure to include your name, company, city and time zone.)

Cathy Applefeld Olson

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