Genius Brands Promotes Jon Ollwerther to President of Kartoon Channel!

Genius Brands, a global brand management company that creates and licenses multimedia entertainment content for children, has promoted Jon Ollwerther to president of family entertainment digital network Kartoon Channel!

Ollwerther previously served as GM of Kartoon Channel! and will continue in his role as EVP of business development for Genius Brands.

“I am pleased to announce the well-deserved promotion of Jon, in recognition of his significant contributions to the rapid growth and success of our hit kid’s streaming platform, Kartoon Channel,” Andy Heyward, chairman and CEO of Genius Brands, said in a statement.

Kartoon Channel! delivers content across multiple platforms, including Comcast, Cox, Dish, Sling TV, Amazon Prime, Amazon Fire, Apple TV, Android TV, Android Mobile, Google Play, Xumo, Roku, Tubi, Samsung Smart TVs and LGTVs.

“Viewer rankings have put Kartoon Channel! above all other services, including Netflix, Disney+, and You Tube Kids, in both the Apple and the Google app stores,” Ollwerther said in a statement. “In addition, I am extremely proud to announce that ‘Stan Lee’s Superhero Kindergarten’ has just surpassed 21 million views on Kartoon Channel!, over 3.6 million per episode, since the initial launch just over one month ago with six episodes now released.  We believe ‘Superhero Kindergarten’ has risen to the ranks of one of the most highly viewed new cartoon launches in history, as we are building an evergreen production that will entertain generations of children, while attracting both advertisers and consumer product licensees.

“In addition to the recently launched hit, ‘Stan Lee’s Superhero Kindergarten,’ starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, we will be rolling out ‘KC Pop Quiz!’next quarter. It is a lightning fast-paced daily game show based on pop culture where kids win cool prizes. Think Jeopardy meets HQ Trivia! Shortly thereafter, we will introduce our third original product, Shaquille O’Neal’s first animated series, ‘Shaq’s Garage,’ created by Joel Cohen, the co-writer and creator of Toy Story. Additionally, we will now be launching season three of our hit series ‘Rainbow Rangers’ with an exciting new twist.

“I am honored to take on this new role with Genius Brands, as I truly believe we are curating the very best combination of original, exclusive, and commercially acquired product within the kids’ entertainment industry.”

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Prior to joining Genius Brands, Ollwerther served as VP of media, arts and entertainment for Measure, the nation’s leading Drone as a Service company. Working with clients across the country and around the world, Ollwerther has an extensive credit list of collaborations with brands and advertising agencies to create unforgettable experiences.

Genius Brands Appoints Harold Chizick President

Genius Brands International, a creator and licensor of multimedia entertainment content for children, has appointed Harold Chizick president, overseeing the global content sales, consumer products and marketing business.

Chizick is co-founder of ChizComm Ltd. and ChizComm Beacon Media, subsidiaries of Genius Brands.

He reports to Genius Brands’ chairman and CEO Andy Heyward.

Chizick, who will continue to run ChizComm Ltd. and ChizComm Beacon Media, will be responsible for driving global strategies across licensing, distribution and marketing for Genius Brands’ growing portfolio of brands, including “Stan Lee’s Superhero Kindergarten,” starring Arnold Schwarzenegger; “Shaq’s Garage,” starring Shaquille O’Neal; “Stan Lee’s Universe”; “Rainbow Rangers”; “Llama Llama”; and more, as well as the company’s streaming platform Kartoon Channel!

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“Since acquiring ChizComm and ChizComm Beacon Media earlier this year, I have experienced firsthand the level of expertise, creativity and passion that Harold brings to the business,” Heyward said in a statement. “As we continue to build our team and focus on the brands we are bringing to market, I know that Harold and our executives are in a position to dramatically drive the growth of Genius Brands in the coming years.  His expertise and relationships in the toy and game world in particular are unmatched.”

“It is an incredible time to play an integral role in building Genius Brands presence on a global scale, and I look forward to working with Andy and the executive team to take the company to the next level as we rollout new brands to the content and retail marketplace this year,” Chizick said in a statement.

Chizick has more than 20 years of experience in public relations, social media, promotions, events and product launches. At the helm of ChizComm, founded in 2013 by Harold and Jennifer Chizick, “he brings a collaborative, inventive approach to marketing for partners and clients,” according to a Genius press release.

Netflix Inks Deal With Disney Vet Nancy Kanter for Kids and Family Content

Netflix has entered a partnership with executive producer and former Disney exec Nancy Kanter and her Available Light Productions to develop and produce new original content for the service globally.

Kanter will develop and produce animated and live action projects, both feature films and series, for kids and families.

Kanter most recently served as EVP of content and creative strategy at Disney Channels Worldwide, and is a 20-year Disney veteran who established the Disney Junior brand, developing programming for the network and growing them into franchises, including the Peabody Award-winning “Doc McStuffins,” the Emmy Award-winning “Sofia the First,” the Emmy Award-nominated “Mickey Mouse Clubhouse” and “The Owl House,” and other series “Elena of Avalor” and “Vampirina” for Disney Junior. She also shepherded “High School Musical: The Musical: The Series,” “Monsters at Work,” “Secret Society of Second Born Royals” and the upcoming movies Spin and Sneakerella, all for Disney+.

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“Throughout my career I’ve challenged myself to think differently, imagine bigger and aim higher,” Kanter said in a statement. “I am delighted at this opportunity to partner with the innovative creators and executive team at Netflix who value those same aspirations, and I look forward to working with them to create new stories that will inspire the minds and touch the hearts of kids and families everywhere.”

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“We want Netflix to be the home of the world’s best storytellers and creative visionaries, and few embody that more than Nancy Kanter,” Melissa Cobb, Netflix VP of original animation, said in a statement. “She’s already made a lasting impact on a generation of kids — creating opportunities to see their lives on screen and inspiring them to feel connected to something bigger than themselves. We can’t wait for her to bring new stories to life at Netflix, and continue to entertain and inspire audiences around the world.”

‘Molly of Denali’ Episodes and ‘Sid the Science Kid’ Movie Among Titles Coming to PBS Kids Prime Video Channel in December

New volumes of “Molly of Denali,” “Let’s Go Luna” and “Pinkalicious & Peterrific,” as well as a “Sid the Science Kid” movie, will be coming to the PBS Kids Prime Video Channel in December.

The subscription rate for the PBS KIDS Prime Video Channel is $4.99 per month with an Amazon Prime or Prime Video subscription.

Volume six of “Let’s Go Luna” debuts Dec. 4. In four new episodes, Luna continues traveling the globe with her group of friends from Juneau, Alaska, to Barcelona, and the group learn many life lessons along the way. In the episode “Nature Calls/Story Story,” Leo is nervous about wild animals wandering around Juneau, but he realizes animals need their own space and that we must all learn to live together. Then, Carmen wants to find a book to share with her mom, and during the process learns to appreciate the tradition of Native Alaskan spoken-word storytelling. In “More Than All That Jazz/Swamp Pals,” Carmen discovers that the joy of music doesn’t just come from fancy instruments. In “Lost and Found/Time of Goodbye,” Señor Fabuloso has lost his creativity and searches for it in his hometown of Barcelona.

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In volume seven of “Molly of Denali,” coming Dec. 11, kids join the curious Molly Mabray and her friends on adventures around Alaska learning about traditional Alaska Native values along the way in five new episodes. Auntie Midge loves to emcee the Spring Carnival, but a hurt hip takes her out of commission, so Molly and Tooey work to figure out a way that will allow her to get around in the snow in “Spring Carnival/Tooey’s Hole-i-day Sweater.” Molly and Tooey try to fix a hand-me-down Christmas sweater knit by Tooey’s Grandma before she arrives for the holidays. Then, in “King Run/The Native Youth Olympics,” it’s salmon season and the first order of business at fish camp is to help Grandpa Nat fix the broken fish wheel.

In Sid the Science Kid: The Movie, due Dec. 17, Sid and his pal Gabriela have won a contest to explore the brand new Super Ultimate Science Museum. However, while they’re on their tour, Bobbybot, the state-of-the-art robotic tour guide of the future, completely malfunctions. Then, it’s up to Sid and Gabriela, along with the other winners, YangYang and NiuNiu from China, to fix Bobbybot and save the museum.

Four episodes of “Pinkalicious & Peterrific” come out Dec. 18. In volume nine of the series, the Pinkertons are shocked to find their house is suddenly swarming with Flutterbugs and everyone is wondering what could possibly be drawing them into their home in “Invasion of the Flutterbugs/Ballet of the Bells.” Then, Pinkalicious and Peterrific are thrilled to meet a real-life pirate in “Treasure Hunt/Cheer Up, Archie” and the three of them join hands to search for a long-lost buried treasure. Plus, Pinkalicious decides to create polka dot art and Lila learns that her new glasses aren’t anything to be embarrassed about in “PinkaPolka Dotty/Lila Gets Glasses.”

‘Mysterious Benedict Society’ Book-Based Kids’ Series Coming to Disney+

The series “The Mysterious Benedict Society,” based on the award-winning and best-selling book series by Trenton Lee Stewart, will be coming to Disney+ in 2021.

The series was originally developed for Hulu.

The show stars Emmy Award winner Tony Hale (“Veep,” “Arrested Development”) in the title role. The show also stars Kristen Schaal (“Bob’s Burgers,” “Last Man on Earth”), Ryan Hurst, MaameYaa Boafo, Gia Sandhu, Seth Carr, Emmy DeOliveira, Mystic Inscho and Marta Timofeeva.

The series follows a group of orphans, placed undercover at a boarding school known as The Institute, who must foil a nefarious plot with global ramifications while creating a new sort of family along the way.

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The original book, upon which the eight-episode first season is based, was named a Time Magazine “Best Young Adult Book of all Time” and sold more than 3 million copies.

“‘The Mysterious Benedict Society’ is a beautifully executed adaptation of the celebrated and beloved book series. It’s original, clever and fun for the whole family, which makes it the perfect fit for Disney+,” Dana Walden, chairman of entertainment at Walt Disney Television, said in a statement. “One of the great benefits to creators working with our company is that we have a platform that’s right for every series and having seen the first few episodes of this show, there is no better home for it than Disney+.”

“Disney+ has established itself over the last year as the streaming home for a diverse slate of high-quality content featuring beloved franchises, stories and characters,” Ricky Strauss, president, programming and content curation, Disney+ and Hulu, said in a statement. “We’re thrilled to add ‘The Mysterious Benedict Society’ to Disney+ and know it will captivate our viewers’ imagination with exciting new worlds and capture the hearts of audiences of all ages.”

The show is produced by 20th Television, the former Fox TV production arm acquired by Disney when it purchased and renamed Fox’s studio assets.

Apple TV+ Bowing Kids’ Series ‘Doug Unplugs’ and ‘Stillwater’ This Fall

Apple TV+ will release two new kids’ series, “Doug Unplugs” and “Stillwater,” globally this fall.

“Doug Unplugs,” premiering Nov. 13, is from DreamWorks Animation and based on Dan Yaccarino’s “Doug Unplugged” book series. It follows a young robot named Doug who senses there’s more to life than just the facts. While other robots plug in for their daily download, curious Doug unplugs and journeys into the human world, and with his best friend Emma, experiences its wonders firsthand.

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“Stillwater”

“Stillwater,” premiering Dec. 4, is based on the Scholastic book series “Zen Shorts” by Jon J Muth and is produced by Gaumont and Scholastic Entertainment. It centers on siblings Karl, Addy and Michael, who are typical kids with typical kid challenges — meaning that sometimes even the smallest things can feel insurmountable. Fortunately for these three, they have Stillwater, a wise panda, as their next-door neighbor. Through his example, stories and gentle humor, Stillwater gives the children a deeper understanding of their feelings as well as tools that help them face their own day-to-day challenges.

Also, following it 18 Daytime Emmy Award nominations and win for Outstanding Children’s or Family Viewing Programming, “Ghostwriter” will have its second season premiere on Apple TV+ Oct. 9, and the second season of “Helpsters” will premiere Oct. 16. Both series hail from the makers of “Sesame Street.”