05/06/15: C.H. Greenblatt on the humor & heart behind Harvey Beaks; Comcast launches Kids Zone; Mandy Patinkin sprouts up on Nina’s World


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Good morning. It’s Wednesday 6, 2015, and this is your first early morning briefing.


Harvey Beaks is a big-hearted bird who sets off to explore the forest and break some rules with his two best friends Fee and Foo in the new Nickelodeon animated series of the same name. Animator and storyteller C.H. Greenblatt is the creator of the show. Greenblatt previously created and exec-produced Chowder at Cartoon Network and has worked on Nickelodeon’s SpongeBob SquarePants, Cartoon’s   The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy and Disney Channel’s Fish Hooks. He share his story with CynKids:

Who or what have been your biggest influences?
I really was the kid who would watch everything. I was like a sponge. I watched a lot of Looney Tunes, and probably one of the biggest influences was Jim Henson’s work. I was a huge fan of the Muppets, Fragile Rock, some of the stuff on Sesame Street.

What’s the biggest difference working in animation today vs. your early years?
There’s definitely been a change in the workforce. We’re getting more variety in the types of people who are in animation. We’re seeing more girls come in, which is great, so just the influences have changed. When I came in everyone was coming off Ren & Stimpy and Loony Tunes and Tiny Toons, all those ‘80s and ‘90s cartoons were big influences on us. Now a lot of people are coming in from Pokemon, Dragon Ball and Sailor Moon, and it’s broadened the scope of what we’re working with.

What’s the story behind Harvey Beaks?
It kind of came around the end of Chowder. I was trying to doodle characters for fun and think about what I wanted to do next. I started with what was Foo, the little imp character, and then added some little woodland critters. And this is totally me as a kid. It’s about being this totally little dorky homebody who is not up for breaking the rules, but would love to find out what would it be like if you did.

So Harvey is your spirit animal?
Fee and Foo are what’s in my head, but Harvey is how I actually behave. So it’s the best of both worlds, and it’s fun with the show because you can channel the things you don’t have the guts to do in real life, or don’t want to do because it’s rude, and not hurt anyone’s feelings.

Do you have a favorite episode?
We have an episode coming up where Harvey gets a day planner and he’s all excited to overplan everything. And Fee and Foo take it away and say you’ve just got to go with the flow and take it as it comes and not stress about what you’re going to do. Sometimes you’ve just got to not worry about what your plan is and just be.

How important is it to promote positive messages for your young viewers?
It’s very important, it’s the whole point of the show. I’ve done a lot of comedy shows and what I can do to differentiate is to have a character who is a little more sensitive, is a little more me, dealing with life and figuring it out. Especially as a kid you have all these stresses coming at you and responsibilities put upon you and you’re trying to still just be a kid. There’s a genuine story there to tell, to take those thoughts of how we deal with the world and relationships and family and treat them in a more honest way, even though it’s still ridiculous.


Comcast used the INTX show in Chicago as the vehicle to reveal Kids Zone, a new feature of the X1 operating system that provides a gated destination for kids to browse and watch video programming. Brian Roberts touted the new feature at the trade show’s opening general session, and Jennifer Metz, director of product management at Comcast Cable, walked CynKids through the new system. Features include the integration of the Common Sense Media Program Guide and parental controls that can restrict the viewing of certain programs based on a variety of factors. Two things Kids Zone does not have: Individual user profiles for different family members. “We decided not to pair this to profiles because profiles are difficult and we want to make sure TV is as much of a lean-back experience as possible,” Metz says. She also noted “advertising is not in the cards. We are not planning to integrate any advertising into Kids Zone.” A beta version of Kids Zone is available now to turn on through the Comcast Labs section of X1; the feature will launch wide in a few months.


Honoring the best in Kids Programming & Marketing

There’s still time to enter!
Late submission deadline May 15, 2015

Please click here to visit the awards webpage for information on eligibility, categories & how to enter.


Better call Saul? Mandy Patinkin is trading in the stress of Homeland in his role as Saul Berenson for a walk in the animated world of a 6-year-old Latina girl. The venerable actor is joining the cast of Sprout’s newest original series, Nina’s World, lending his voice to the character of friendly community librarian Mr. Lambert. The show, which will premiere in September, already has another big-name talent on its roster. Rita Moreno voices the title character’s grandmother, Abuelita.

Nickelodeon’s live-action, music-soaked daily show Make It Pop is headed back for a second season with 20 episodes. Since launch, the series has been the network’s No. 1 show with K6-11 and G6-11, and also ranks as the most-watched longform content on Nick.com and on the Nick App. Co-creators are Thomas W. Lynch and Nick Cannon, DHX Media is the producer, and Lynch, Cannon and DHX’s Steven DeNure and Anne Loi will serve as executive producers.

Laura Linney, best known for her dramatic work, is hitting the sewers as she joins the cast of upcoming feature film Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2. Megan Fox and Will Arnett are returning for the movie, produced by Michael Bay, Brad Fuller and Andrew Form.


Snoop is in the house. Music sensation Snoop Dogg guests on an episode of Nickelodeon series Sanjay & Craig airing on May 17 at 7:30p. He plays rap icon  “Street Dogg,” who comes to town to chill out, make some new music and live a quiet suburban life. During the special, Sanjay and Craig discover that Street Dogg was once part of a rap duo with none other than Remington Tufflips, the boys’ action-movie idol. They set out to reunite the former pair, but their failed efforts lead to a town divided and the mother of all rap battles.
Tick tock. Late deadline to enter this year’s
Cynopsis Kids !magination Awards is May 15. Don’t miss your chance to be recognized for your work creating a groundbreaking kids series, addictive app or infectious children’s entertainment campaign. !magination Awards honor the best in youth and family programming and marketing. Enter here: http://cynopsis.com/event/kids-awards-2015

Five new episodes of PBS Kids math series Odd Squad are set to premiere the week of May 25-29. Additionally, a new Odd Squad online game, Pienado, will debut May 25, and the first soundtrack release from the series will be available May 26 on iTunes, Amazon, Google Play and Spotify.


AOL trotted out one for families at its recent Newfront. New show Talk To Me features kids interviewing their famous parents in “revealing, intimate and probing” Q&A sessions.

Netflix is cooking up a new animated series based on the Dr. Seuss classic Green Eggs and Ham, and the series counts Ellen DeGeneres as an exec-producer. Production is slated to begin this month on the 13-episode series, which is buzzed at being the most expensive animated television project ever, is scheduled to debut in 2018. Additional executive producers include Warner Bros. Animation and Wreck-It Ralph scribe Jared Stern. The streaming company whet appetites for the show with an impressive Seuss-inspired rhyme.


Top 10 Basic Cable Ratings for the week of April 27-May 3, 2015

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

Weekend box office estimates for the top-grossing kids/tween/teen movies rated G, PG or PG-13, provided by Rentrak for May 1-3, 2015:

Avengers: Age of Ultron (Disney) PG-13 $187.66 million (weekend) $187.66 million (one-week cume)
The Age of Adeline (Lionsgate) PG-13 $6.25 million (weekend) $23.42 million (2-week cume)
Paul Blart Mall Cop 2 (Sony) PG $5.55 million (weekend) $51.19 million (3-week cume)
Home (20th Century Fox) PG $3.3 million (weekend) $158.13 million (6-week cume)
Cinderella (Disney) PG $2.36 million (weekend) $193.65 million (7-week cume)
The Longest Ride (20th Century Fox) PG-13 $1.7 million (weekend) $33.24 million (4-week cume)
Woman in Gold (The Weinstein Co.) PG-13 $1.68 million (weekend) $24.59 million (5-week cume)
Monkey Kingdom (Disney) G $1.19 million (weekend) $12.48 million (3-week cume)


Answer to last week’s Trivia: What was the name of Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen’s production company? Dualstar. Congrats to: Ellery Locklear, Scollon Productions, White Rock, S.C.; Deedra L. Roberts, Turner Broadcasting, Atlanta

Today’s Trivia Question: What were most of the characters in Chowder named after? Email [email protected] with your answer and be sure to include your name, company, city and time zone.)

Cheers — Cathy Applefeld Olson
[email protected] for
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