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PRODUCTION & DEVELOPMENT
Alexa & Katie, Netflix’s first tween sitcom, will be returning for a second season. Season 1 of the series, about about two best friends eagerly anticipating the start of their freshman year of high school, launched March 23 and stars Paris Berelc (Mighty Med, Lab Rats: Elite Force), newcomer Isabel May and Tiffani Thiessen (White Collar, Saved By The Bell). It was created and exec produced by Heather Wordham (Hannah Montana, Reba). Season 1 launched on Netflix March 23.
NYT bestselling children’s author Julian Lennon inked a deal with Gaumont to produce an animated series based on his children’s book series Touch the Earth and its sequel, Heal The Earth, out this month. Series will have themes of environmentalism and social issues running through the episodes in a fun, organic, and compelling way. Lennon and his children’s book collaborator Bart Davis are onboard as exec producers, working with Gaumont president of animation Nicolas Atlan and Terry Kalagian, SVP, creative development for animation & family. Kimberly Dennison will be the executive in charge of development.
Silvergate Media is at work on its most extensive lineup yet. New content in the pipeline includes Fashion Ally (working title), created by Silvergate EVP of creative content Paula Rosenthal (Sunny Day, Peter Rabbit) and about a young NYer with a passion for fashion. Series will premiere on Nickelodeon. Also upcoming is Chico Bon Bon: Monkey with a Tool Belt, a construction comedy for preschool boys, exec produced by Silvergate EVP of creative content Kurt Mueller (Octonauts, Hilda), and in production for a 2020 debut on Netflix. Also, the sixth season of Octonauts is in production with a global rollout is planned for 2020; Hilda is slated to premiere on Netflix this fall, and Sunny Day, a preschool girls animation that premiered on Nick Jr. in 2017, is in production on season 2.
PBS Kids is going gangbusters for Earth Day. Thirteen’s Emmy-winning math series Cyberchase continues its 11th season with five new Earth Day-focused episodes premiering daily Monday, April 16-Friday, April 20. Among eps are “Housewarming Party,” exploring green roofs, temperature measurement and estimation; “Invasion of the Funky Flower,” covering invasive species and linear measurement with non-standard units; and “The Migration Situation,” probing citizen science, data representation and interpretation… Also, new eps of nature-themed programming including Splash and Bubbles, Wild Kratts and Nature Cat will air Monday, April 23-Friday, April 27. Families also will be able to dive into nature themes with PBS Kids “Explore the Outdoors” activities and materials.
Boomerang will shower viewers with a binge opportunity of all 26 eps of season 1 of Captain Planet and the Planeeters on Thursday, April 19-Sunday, April 22. Voice appearances this season include Whoopi Goldberg, Meg Ryan, Martin Sheen and Sting.
Because… science: Bill Nye Saves the World will return globally for third season on Netflix on Friday, May 11. In the six-ep third season, Nye brings leading experts and stars to his lab to explore scientific issues including how climate change will impact foods of the future, and what our pets can teach us about being human. Guests include Arnold Schwarzenegger, Karlie Kloss, and Paul F. Tomkins. Michael Ian Black also returns with his comically angry “Mad Scientist” segment.
AROUND THE INDUSTRY
Just like magic. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child set a Broadway record as the top-grossing play, in previews with a $2.12 million gross for the week ended April 8. The figure is even more notable given 300 seats at every performance sell for $40 or less.
Boxcar Children – Surprise Island, a new feature film based on the second book from the series by Gertrude Chandler, will premiere in more than 650 US theaters for a one-day-only event on Tuesday, May 8 at 4p local time. Voice cast includes Martin Sheen, J.K. Simmons, Griffin Gluck, Joey King and Dane DeHaan. In addition to the feature content, audiences will be treated to an exclusive introduction from actor Gluck, and following the feature, producer/director Dan Chuba will explain the process of adapting the book to film and the animation methods.
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Federation Kids & Family and sister production company Cottonwood Media signed another raft of broadcast and licensing deals across Europe for their animated preschool series The Ollie & Moon Show. Among new channels are K2 (Italy), RTP (Portugal), Discovery Latin America), France Televisions, Uyoung (China), Discovery (Middle East) and VRT (Belgium). On the licensing front, Planeta Junior will represent rights to the show in France, where it launched on France Televisions in 2017.
Toei Animation continues to add more broadcast partners for its flagship global series Dragon Ball Super, with new deals arranged across EMEA. Confirmed broadcasters for 2018 include Cartoon Network (Italy); Toonami (Africa); LNK and TV1 (Lithuania); Viasat 6 (Hungary); AXN (Moldavia); and AXN Black (Romania). ). The company also announced an animated feature film serving as a sequel to the series after its finale; the film is in production with its Japanese release planned for December 14.
Silvergate Media is producing two new 60-minute kids films for theatrical release in China.
Super RTL in Germany will launch Rainbow’s 44 Cats beginning in 2019.
LICENSING & MERCH
Entertainment One appointed Alpha Group as the master toy partner for animated TV property Peppa Pig. The deal extends the partnership with Alpha One, which is also master toy partner for PJ Masks in China.
Answer to Last Week’s Trivia Question: What is the real name of “The Brain” on PBS Kids series Arthur (1996-)? Alan Powers. Kudos to: Andy Pittman-TAMU/College Station, TX; David Westberg-SAG-AFTRA Federal Credit Union/Burbank
Today’s Trivia Question: Who voiced the Great Gazoo on The Flintstones? (Email email@example.com with your answer and be sure to include your name, company, city and time zone. Unofficial rules: A limit of four correct answers from each time zone will be selected.).
Kids Series Anagram: Her Creek Coat Gif (Email firstname.lastname@example.org; first three respondents with the correct answer who aren’t in trivia will be posted in tomorrow’s newsletter.)
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