PBS Launches PBS Documentaries Prime Video Channel

PBS Distribution Aug. 4 will launch a new documentary-focused Prime Video Channel called PBS Documentaries.

The subscription rate for the PBS Documentaries Prime Video Channel, which allows access to PBS content outside the PBS Video App, is $3.99 per month with an Amazon Prime or Prime Video subscription via Prime Video Channels and is available in the United States only.

The PBS Documentaries Prime Video Channel library will include the entire Ken Burns collection as well as programs from “Nova,” “Frontline,” “American Masters,” “Nature,” “American Experience,” “Independent Lens,” “POV” and many independent producers.

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“PBS is the leader of high-quality, compelling nonfiction entertainment, and the PBS Documentaries Prime Video Channel is a natural addition to our current streaming offering on Prime Video Channels — PBS Masterpiece, PBS Living and PBS Kids,” Andrea Downing, co-president of PBS Distribution, said in a statement. “This channel will not only help bring engaging stories about life in all corners of our country to a new audience, it will provide needed revenues to sustain public broadcasting’s public-private partnership model for the benefit of all stations and the communities they serve.”

The entire Ken Burns collection will also be available via PBS Passport, a member benefit available within the PBS Video App.

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“We had long hoped to be able to have all of our films available in one place so the public would have access to the body of work,” added Ken Burns in a statement. “We’re thrilled that this is now possible thanks to the efforts of PBS Distribution and Amazon to launch the PBS Documentaries Prime Video Channel and also through PBS’s Passport initiative that allows viewers to support their public television stations. Both will also contribute to the larger mission of PBS.”

“’Frontline’ was founded on the belief that long-form documentaries could inform, educate and inspire public television’s audiences — and during these historic times, deeply reported and easily accessible journalism is invaluable,” “Frontline” executive producer Raney Aronson-Rath said in a statement. “Through this new channel, we’re excited to see our documentaries reach new and existing streaming audiences.”

At launch, the channel will feature nearly 1,000 hours of programming, including Ken Burns’ series The Civil War and Country Music, Stanley Nelson’s The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution and Academy Award-Nominated films such as “Frontline’s” For Sama and American Experiences Last Days in Vietnam.

“I’m thrilled to see that my work will find a new home on this channel,” Nelson said in a statement. “PBS has become a premier destination for documentary programming in the U.S. and has been hugely invested in giving films by diverse storytellers and emerging filmmakers much-needed national exposure. I’m so glad that my film on the Black Panther Party, which can inform communities in our current historical moment, will be able to reach different audiences on this new service.”

Study: Average U.S. SVOD Household Has Access to Almost 100,000 Hours of Content

The average U.S. SVOD household has access to almost 100,000 hours of content, delivered via 3.8 different services, according to research from Ampere Analysis.

It would take 11 years to watch it all back-to-back, and nearly 70 years if the average viewer watched an average of four hours per day, according to Ampere. The main factors driving this increase in content availability are consumer uptake of Amazon Prime’s booming portfolio and the addition of new services such as Disney+ to the household mix, according to the study.

SVOD engagement is even more prominent in households with young kids. Those households have access to nearly five different SVOD services, more than any other demographic. This is up significantly from 3.5 in the same period last year, largely due to the launch of Disney+, and the high uptake of the family-friendly service in the group, according to Ampere. The content available to this demographic group via the VOD services in their household now stands at an average of 102,000 hours.

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Even adults who live alone have an average of 3.1 services, with the average one-person SVOD household having 85,500 hours — almost 10 years — of content at their fingertips.

Almost one third of U.S. SVOD households subscribed to Disney+ in Q1 2020. The service comes with a 4,200-hour catalog and thus adds an average of 1,400 hours of content to the typical SVOD household’s portfolio, Ampere noted.

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Amazon has more than doubled its content catalog in the United States since Q3 2017 according to Ampere Analytics data. The 60% of SVOD households who have both Netflix and Amazon accounts can access more than 100,000 hours of TV shows and movies.

“Consumers already have a vast amount of content at their disposal, and a U.S. household who subscribes to both Netflix and Amazon currently has access to more than 100,000 hours of content from those two services alone,” Ampere senior analyst Toby Holleran said in a statement. “As the market fragments further with additional direct-to-consumer services and households hit a spending ceiling, consumers will become more selective about their SVOD choices. The more expensive services, alongside those without a clear brand and proposition, will find the going gets tougher.”

Report: Walmart to Bow $98 Yearly Subscription Service in July

Walmart in July will launch a $98 yearly subscription service to compete with Amazon Prime, according to a report from Recode.

The service will be called Walmart+.

In addition to same-day grocery delivery, fuel discounts and other offerings, the service is expected to include some sort of video entertainment content, though details are not clear, according to the report.

Walmart in April sold its video service Vudu.com to Fandango for an undisclosed amount, and reports citing internal sources had indicated that the big box retailer didn’t consider the VOD service a core business.

Amazon Prime subscriptions are $119 per year and, in addition to free shipping, offer access to streaming and transactional entertainment.

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Hulu’s ‘Love, Victor’ Top New, Netflix’s ‘13 Reasons Why’ Top Returning Show on June Anticipated Series Chart

Shows about teen angst took the top spots on the TV Time anticipated series chart for June.

Hulu’s “Love, Victor” was the most anticipated new show, while Netflix’s “13 Reasons Why” was the top anticipated returning show for the month.

TV Time is a free TV viewership tracking app that tracks consumers’ viewing habits worldwide and is visited by more than 1 million consumers every day, according to the company. TV Time’s “Anticipation Report” is based on data from those users.

Inspired by the 2018 film Love, Simon, the romantic dramedy “Love, Victor” shares Victor’s challenges and self-discovery as he adjusts to a new high school and struggles with his sexual orientation. Taking the silver on the new show chart was HBO’s “Perry Mason,” about a down-and-out criminal defense lawyer in 1930s Los Angeles. Coming in third was the Italian fantasy thriller “Curon,” followed in fourth by Amazon Prime’s “Alex Rider,” about a reluctant London teenager who is recruited by the British MI6 to infiltrate a remote boarding school for the ultra-rich. Rounding out the anticipated new show chart at No. 5 was HBO’s “I May Destroy You,” a new series from “Chewing Gum” creator Michaela Coel.

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The fourth and final season of “13 Reasons Why” hits Netflix June 5.  In the top anticipated returning show, the senior class at Liberty High School is preparing for graduation, but before they can say goodbye, they’ll have to keep a dangerous secret buried. Netflix also swept the rest of the returning shows chart. The German drama “Dark,” at No. 2, debuts its third season June 27. The supernatural horror series “The Order,” at No. 3, launches season two June 18. Creator Ryan Murphy’s “The Politician,” at No. 4, bows season two June 19. Finally, season four of the animated series “F Is for Family,” at No. 5, debuts June 12.

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Most Anticipated New Shows for June:

  1. “Love, Victor” (Hulu) — June 19
  2. “Perry Mason” (HBO) — June 21
  3. “Curon” (Netflix) — June 10
  4. “Alex Rider” (Amazon Prime) — June 4
  5. “I May Destroy You” (HBO) — June 7

 

Most Anticipated Returning Shows for June:

  1. “13 Reasons Why” (Netflix) — June 5
  2. “Dark” (Netflix) — June 27
  3. “The Order” (Neflix) — June 18
  4. “The Politician” (Netflix) — June 19
  5. “F Is for Family” (Netflix) — June 12

Comscore: Streaming Services’ Share of Streaming Hours Surged During Pandemic

Engagement with streaming services surged in the beginning of May 2020 as Americans adjusted to stay-at-home orders due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to new research from Comscore.

Among the “big five” streaming services — which still account for upwards of 80% of total hours streamed at home — Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and Disney+ saw growth in share of streaming hours in the week of May 11 versus the week of Feb. 3, according to Comscore.

Netflix’s and Amazon’s streaming hour share each grew 1.5% while Disney+’s grew 0.5%. YouTube’s was steady, down just 0.1%. Hulu’s was the only share to fall, down 2.9%.

While Disney+ held a smaller share of streaming hours among the “big five,” it is nearly two times larger than the next video-oriented OTT app offering in terms of streaming hours, according to Comscore.

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Other key points included:

  • Average in-home data consumption was up 33% during the first 10 days of May 2020 compared to the first ten days of May 2019 (May 1-10, 2020 versus May 1-10, 2019). This follows 28% and 36% year-over-year increases in March and April 2020, respectively. Smart TVs (+60 percent), mobile phones (+47 percent), streaming boxes/sticks (+39 percent), and smart speakers (+35 percent) are driving the year-over-year growth trends.
  • In-home data usage remained strong through the week of April 20, 2020 but began to decline in recent weeks, possibly due to some states easing their social distancing protocols.

Netflix’s ‘Never Have I Ever’ Tops TV Time Charts

Netflix’s “Never Have I Ever” topped both TV Time’s binge and rising show charts for the week ended May 3.

A coming-of-age comedy about a modern-day, first-generation Indian American teenage girl, “Never Have I Ever” debuted April 27 on the service. The series stars newcomer Maitreyi Ramakrishnan as Devi, an overachieving high school sophomore who has a short fuse that gets her into difficult situations. The show is created by executive producer Mindy Kaling.

Netflix’s “Summertime,” inspired by Federico Moccia’s book series, took the silver on the rising show chart and came in at No. 4 behind perennial binge favorites “Friends” (No. 2) and “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” (No. 3) on the binge chart. The Italian drama, which hit screens April 29, is about two young adults from very different backgrounds who fall in love during a summer on Italy’s Adriatic Coast.

Taking the bronze on the rising show chart was Amazon Prime’s new series “Upload,” which premiered May 1. It follows a young app developer who meets an early death in a future world where humans are able to “upload” themselves into their preferred choice of afterlife.

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TV Time is a free TV viewership tracking app that tracks consumers’ viewing habits worldwide and is visited by more than 1 million consumers every day, according to the service. The weekly “Binge Report” ranks shows with the most binge sessions. A binge session is when four or more episodes of a show are watched and tracked in the app in a given day. The “Shows on the Rise” chart is calculated by determining the week-over-week growth in episodes watched for a given program. The network displayed is the network where the show first aired (e.g. “Friends” on NBC).

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 Top Binge Shows Week Ended May 3 by Share of Binges:

  1. “Never Have I Ever” (Netflix) — 4.58%
  2. “Friends” (NBC) — 1.71%
  3. “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” (NBC) — 1.62%
  4. “Summertime” (Netflix) — 1.49%
  5. “Grey’s Anatomy” (ABC) — 1.45%
  6. “The Office” (NBC) — 1.44%
  7. “Money Heist” (Netflix) — 1.42%
  8. “The Last Kingdom” (Netflix) — 1.41%
  9. “Outer Banks” (Netflix) — 1.21%
  10. “Community” (NBC) — 1.18%

 

Top “Shows on the Rise” Week Ended May 3 by Rise Ratio:

  1. “Never Have I Ever” (Netflix) — 100%
  2. “Summertime” (Netflix) — 100%
  3. “Upload” (Amazon Prime) —99.9%
  4. “Hollywood” (Netflix) — 99.9%
  5. “Normal People” (BBC Three) — 95.4%
  6. “Boris” (Fox Channel IT) —87.8%
  7. “The Last Kingdom” (Netflix) — 78.4%
  8. “Batwoman” (The CW) — 71%
  9. “The Rookie” (ABC) — 57.4%
  10. “New Girl” (Fox) —47.6%

‘DC’s Stargirl’ Top New, ‘The 100’ Top Returning Show on TV Time Anticipated Series Chart for May

“DC’s Stargirl” was the most anticipated new show, while “The 100” was the top anticipated returning show on the TV Time chart for May.

“DC’s Stargirl,” based on the DC comics character, debuts on DC Universe May 18 and will air the following day on The CW. It follows a high school sophomore who discovers a cosmic staff.

The seventh and final season of dystopian drama and top returning show “The 100” premieres May 20 on The CW.

Taking the silver on the new show chart was TNT’s “Snowpiercer,” premiering May 17. The futuristic drama follows up on the graphic novel and the 2013 film from Bong Joon-ho (Best Picture Oscar winner Parasite). Seven years after the world becomes a frozen wasteland, the series follows the passengers of the Snowpiercer train while exploring class warfare and the politics of survival.

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Upcoming Netflix series took the third and fourth spots on the new show chart. “Hollywood” (No. 3) is a Ryan Murphy drama that follows a group of aspiring actors in post-World War II Los Angeles who try to make it big despite the entertainment industry’s unfair power dynamics. “Space Force” (No. 4), created by Greg Daniels and Steve Carell, is a workplace comedy centering on people tasked with establishing the sixth branch of the U.S. military — The United States Space Force.

Rounding out the new show chart at No. 5 was Amazon Prime’s sci-fi series “Upload,” which follows a young app developer who meets an early death in a future world where humans are able to “upload” themselves into their preferred choice of afterlife.

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Coming in at No. 2 on the returning show chart was Netflix’s black dramedy “Dead to Me,” season two of which premieres May 8. At No. 3 was ABC’s “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” The series mounts its seventh and final season May 27. The fourth season of “Skam Italia” (No. 4) focuses on Sana, a second-generation Muslim Italian girl, as she faces new challenges, love interests, and the balance between Muslim values ​​and those of Italian society. All 10 episodes will be released May 15 via Netflix Italy and Timvision. Rounding out the top five returning shows was Netflix’s animated series “The Hollow,” season two of which hits screens May 8.

 

Most Anticipated New Shows for May:

  1. “DC’s Stargirl” (DC Universe) — May 18
  2. “Snowpiercer” (TNT) — May 17
  3. “Hollywood” (Netflix) — May 1
  4. “Space Force” (Netflix) — May 29
  5. “Upload” (Amazon Prime) — May 1

 

Most Anticipated Returning Shows for May:

  1. “The 100” (CW) — May 20
  2. “Dead to Me” (Netflix) — May 8
  3. “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” (ABC) — May 27
  4. “Skam Italia” (Netflix Italy/Timvision) — May 15
  5. “The Hollow” (Netflix) — May 8

Executive Producer Revisits Brooklyn in the ’80s in Mob Series ‘Gravesend’ Streaming on Amazon

William DeMeo went back to his roots for “Gravesend,” a four-episode series streaming now on Amazon Prime and distributed by Virgil Films.

He wanted to recall his neighborhood in the 1980s — the music, the cars, the people and the mob.

Though he toyed with the title “The Neighborhood,” the writer, director, star and executive producer settled on the name of his hometown.

“Gravesend is a section in Brooklyn where I grew up where a lot of these mobsters come from,” he said. “The name was pretty cool, too, because in the life of the mafia, the grave is usually the end of the road.”

Having acted in such productions as A Bronx Tale, “The Sopranos” and Gotti, DeMeo is no stranger to mafia stories, and Brooklyn in the 1980s was teaming with them.

“I can name 20 mobsters off the top of my head, very well-known mafia figures, who all came from this area, and they were all around and there was a lot of testosterone around,” he said. “The younger guys coming up wanted to prove something. They were some really dangerous, uncertain times. If you crossed certain people, there was a problem.”

In “Gravesend,” DeMeo plays Benny Zerletta, a young soldier in the Colezzo crime family circa 1986, who is conflicted, but entangled in the life — much like Tony Soprano in “The Sopranos.” (DeMeo starred as one of Paulie Walnuts’ crew, Jason Molinaro, in “The Sopranos.”) One similarity between the two series is that Soprano has a confidant in his therapist, and Zerletta talks over his problems with the statue of St. Anthony. But DeMeo stressed that “Gravesend” mostly just shares the same genre.

“There’s Westerns, there’s movies about law enforcement. You can’t change the genre, so you try to come up with different scenarios and circumstances,” he said. “’Sopranos’ was New Jersey, and with all respect to Jersey, Brooklyn is Brooklyn.”

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DeMeo said he chose to wear multiple hats for the series because he wanted control over a story so close to him.

“You know, it’s my neighborhood. It’s my story. It’s where I grew up,” he said. “All of those characters and the things that happened back then are very realistic to the way it really was. There are people that are very similar to these characters. This is the way it really was. The actions and the clothes and the music and the neighborhood, the people on the streets, the kids getting ice cream, the people outside of Coney Island, all of that, with the diners and the testosterone level. Literally, it was a dangerous place to be.”

“Gravesend” also explores a different time period than the HBO saga.

“The reason I picked the ‘80s was because it was the heyday of the mafia,” he said. “If you think of ‘The Sopranos’ — which was a show that I was on — it started in like 2000, and it showed how the mob was depleted and that they were meeting in malls and that they were kinda hiding out more as opposed to the ‘80s, the John Gotti era. Guys were more out in the open, and there was more stuff happening. There were a lot of killings going on in the ‘80s. Paul Castellano got killed in the middle of Manhattan at Sparks Steak House. The ‘80s is a time where you can show more of them in the streets. They were very powerful in the ‘80s.”

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It was also a time with distinctive tunes, and the music was a big part of setting the time period in “Gravesend,” with scenes at bars and dance clubs. It’s a soundtrack not often used in a mafia story, he noted.

“When you think about mafia movies, or just in general the Italian mob, you think of the Scorsese type of music, and it seems most of the time they’ll go with like the Rolling Stones or they’ll go with Italian music like Dean Martin,” he said. “I felt like that music that we listened to then back then, the freestyle music and stuff like that, that’s what we listened to. That was very popular music in the clubs and when you were driving in your car.”

The rides also helped evoke the setting and time period. As a car enthusiast himself, DeMeo was able to get his hands on some classics, including his own Buick Grand National.

DeMeo (left) with James Russo in “Gravesend”

Connections among New York actors helped him build a veteran ensemble cast, including Louis Lombardi (“The Sopranos,” “24,” “Entourage,” The Usual Suspects), James Russo (Django Unchained, Donnie Brasco, The Deuce), Paul Ben-Victor (The Irishman, “Santa Clarita Diet,” “Vinyl”) and Nick Turturro (BlacKkKlansman, World Trade Center).

“I have relationships with a lot of those actors,” he said. “You don’t have to second guess these guys. You know they’re gonna deliver. I don’t have to worry that they’re gonna come off as Hollywood guys. They’re New York actors most of them. They get it.”

The pizzeria made famous by “Saturday Night Fever” is one of the settings in “Gravesend.”

During one scene in the series that takes place in the pizzeria made famous by John Travolta in the Brooklyn-set Saturday Night Fever, Benny muses over his favorite Italian actors. As for DeMeo himself, Travolta, a personal friend he bonded with on Gotti, is his favorite. “I’m a huge Saturday Night Fever fan, so I love him,” he said. “But [Al] Pacino, who doesn’t love Pacino, and I worked with Robert De Niro in Analyze That. Robert De Niro discovered me from A Bronx Tale. [Sylvester] Stallone. To me, that’s the four.”

Each of the four episodes of “Gravesend” culminates in a cliffhanger, including the last, and DeMeo hopes to get back into production in the next six months to satisfy the fans — barring any continued stoppage due to the pandemic.

“I have thousands and thousands of messages through my social media asking, ‘What happened, when is there going to be more?’” he said.

HBO’s ‘Run’ Top Rising Show, Netflix’s ‘Money Heist’ Again Top Binge on TV Time Charts

Netflix’s “Money Heist” was again the top binge show while HBO’s new comedy “Run” was the top rising show on the TV Time charts for the week ended April 19.

“Run” is a half-hour comedy thriller from the team behind “Fleabag” that premiered April 12. It follows a woman whose humdrum life is thrown upside down when she receives a text from her college sweetheart inviting her to drop everything and meet him in New York to fulfill the pact they made 17 years previously.

Taking the silver on the rising show chart was “Four More Shots Please!,” a comedy about four women who live, love, blunder and discover themselves through friendship in millennial Mumbai. The second season of the Amazon Prime show bowed April 17.

Season four of the Spanish series “Money Heist,” the top binge for a third consecutive week, premiered April 3. In the fourth installment, the gang is going through one of its toughest moments, and the rise of an enemy among its ranks will put the heist in serious danger.

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TV Time is a free TV viewership tracking app that tracks consumers’ viewing habits worldwide and is visited by more than 1 million consumers every day, according to the service. The weekly “Binge Report” ranks shows with the most binge sessions. A binge session is when four or more episodes of a show are watched and tracked in the app in a given day. The “Shows on the Rise” chart is calculated by determining the week-over-week growth in episodes watched for a given program. The network displayed is the network where the show first aired (e.g. “Friends” on NBC).

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 Top Binge Shows Week Ended April 19 by Share of Binges:

  1. “Money Heist” (Netflix) — 3.60%
  2. “Friends” (NBC) — 1.85%
  3. “Grey’s Anatomy” (ABC) — 1.81%
  4. “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” (NBC) — 1.66%
  5. “Community” (NBC) — 1.42%
  6. “The Office” (NBC) — 1.42%
  7. “Elite” (Netflix) — 1.23%
  8. “The Walking Dead” (AMC) — 1.13%
  9. “How I Met Your Mother” (CBS) — 1.10%
  10. “Vis a vis” (Antena 3) — 1.09%

 

Top “Shows on the Rise” Week Ended April 19 by Rise Ratio:

  1. “Run” (HBO) — 99.8%
  2. “Four More Shots Please!” (Amazon Prime) — 94.4%
  3. “Men?” (Comedy Central Latin America) — 93.4%
  4. “Candice Renoir” (France 2) — 87.9%
  5. “Bosch” (Amazon) — 84.2%
  6. “Insecure” (HBO) — 83.2%
  7. “El Dragon: Return of a Warrior” (Univision) — 83%
  8. “What We Do in the Shadows” (FX) — 82.4%
  9. “Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey” (Fox) — 75.8%
  10. “Fauda” (YES) — 74.5%

Kids’ Series ‘Stan Lee’s Superhero Kindergarten’ With Arnold Schwarzenegger Coming to Amazon Prime, Alibaba’s Youku

Genius Brands’ children’s animated series “Stan Lee’s Superhero Kindergarten,” featuring Arnold Schwarzenegger, will premiere in spring 2021 on Amazon Prime.

Alibaba Group will also launch the series in China on its video streaming platform for kids Youku.

“With Amazon Prime in the U.S. and Alibaba in China, we are very excited to launch on these two premiere platforms in the two largest territories in the world,” said Genius Brands’ chairman and CEO Andy Heyward in a statement.

“Years ago, Stan Lee and I spoke of such a project, and I’m excited to finally bring great storytelling to kids around the world, which will also promote lessons of health, exercise, fitness and anti-bullying,” said Schwarzenegger in a statement.

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“Stan Lee’s Superhero Kindergarten” is an action-adventure comedy series targeting kids 4-7 and is co-produced by Alibaba Group, Stan Lee’s POW! Entertainment and Schwarzenegger’s Oak Productions. In addition to his likeness, Schwarzenegger lends his voice as the lead character in the series. Co-creator of Deadpool, Fabian Nicieza, who has sold more than 100 million comics worldwide, is scripting the series.

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In “Stan Lee’s Superhero Kindergarten,” five years ago, a tremendous superhero battle blanketed the small town of Greenvale in cosmic radiation. Shortly thereafter, a previously ordinary, diverse group of boys and girls are showing the most unusual superpowers. Their superpowers, however, rather than coming from Kryptonite, or a radioactive spider, come from items in their kindergarten classroom — white glue, wooden blocks, crayons, silly putty, etc. A kindergarten teacher Arnold Armstrong (Schwarzenegger) arrives in Greenvale to train these super-kids. He knows what it is like to control superpowers, because he used to be Captain Courage, the hero whose final battle resulted in the previously unknown powers of the kids. Their new instructor teaches the kids how to become the heroes of tomorrow.

“This is a series of action, comedy, and fun, based on the genius and imagination of the great creative icon, Stan Lee, and with the important lessons of health, exercise, nutrition, and anti-bullying,” according to the Genius press release. “Just as he appeared as a cameo in all of the Marvel movies, Stan himself will be an animated cameo in each episode, with a digitized recreation of his voice as well.”

“We are gathering steam with our latest tentpole series, ‘Stan Lee’s Superhero Kindergarten,’ and are thrilled to have two of the top digital streaming partners worldwide, Amazon and Alibaba, on board as launch partners, reaching a potential global audience of hundreds of millions, as well as the talents of Arnold and the genius that was Stan,” added Heyward. “In an ever-changing children’s media landscape and current viewing patterns of children around the globe, our strategy is to offer this dynamic series where kids predominantly go to find their entertainment now. We know we have a hit on our hands and cannot wait to share it with kids everywhere.”