Kartoon Studios’ ‘Shaq’s Garage’ Available on YouTube, Tubi

Kartoon Studios’ series for children “Shaq’s Garage,” starring and executive produced by Shaquille O’Neal, has rolled out on YouTube, YouTube Kids and on the just-launched Kartoon Channel! on Tubi, Fox Corp.’s ad-supported streaming service.

The action-adventure comedy series has been a featured show in YouTube Kids’ No. 1 position for kids 5-8 years old, according to Kartoon. Episodes of the show are rolling out weekly through February 2024, with season two to be released thereafter. Additionally, “Shaq’s Garage” is now available on Tubi, Kartoon Channel!’s latest platform addition, which includes a companion Kartoon Channel! branded VOD collection to launch this month.  

“It’s exciting to see my animated show, ‘Shaq’s Garage,’ is getting expanded reach with the premier kids’ platforms, YouTube Kids and Tubi—the top spots where the little ones are catching their favorite programming,” Shaquille O’Neal said in a statement.

Following its premiere on June 5 on Pluto TV and subsequent release across Kartoon Channel!’s branded platforms, including Amazon Prime, Roku, Google, Apple, Sling TV and more, the series has garnered millions of views and hundreds of thousands of watch hours to date, according to Kartoon. 

“Kartoon Channel! launched a little over three years ago, and has steadily and strategically grown its placement across SVOD, AVOD and FAST platforms in the U.S. and in key markets internationally,” Todd Steinman, president of Kartoon Studios’ Toon Media Networks, said in a statement. “With the launch of ‘Shaq’s Garage’ on YouTube, YouTube Kids and Tubi, we have nearly 100% market penetration for the series, generating millions of views. Kartoon Channel! has rapidly grown into a top-tier entertainment destination for safe, responsible, and positive content for children, and we are thrilled that Tubi is now onboard to further expand our U.S. presence.”

“We are ecstatic to have Shaquille O’Neal make high quality content available for kids on YouTube. His series, ‘Shaq’s Garage,’ is a great addition to the YouTube Kids app,” Mac Malik, global head of programming, YouTube Kids, said in a statement.

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“Shaquille O’Neal has amassed a fan base that is multigenerational, and we’re thrilled to have the addition of his new series ‘Shaq’s Garage’ on Tubi for both kids and families to enjoy,” Adam Lewinson, chief content officer at Tubi, said in a statement.

Kartoon Channel!’s ‘Shaq’s Garage’ to Premiere on Pluto TV June 5

Genius Brands International has announced that the Kartoon Channel! series “Shaq’s Garage,” starring and executive produced by Shaquille O’Neal, will debut on Pluto TV June 5.

The animated action-adventure comedy series for children will debut with 26 episodes on the Kartoon Channel! on Pluto TV. The Kartoon Channel! on Pluto TV appears within the kids’ category.

“Shaq’s Garage” is a new animated TV series for kids, starring four-time NBA champion Shaquille O’Neal, as both himself and one of the show’s main vehicle characters, Biggie D. Inspired by Shaq’s real-life love of cars, “Shaq’s Garage” is an action series where Shaq brings his “family” of cars, known as the Shaq Paq, to life. The series is a mix of action, adventure and comedy featuring the Shaq Paq as they are sent by Shaq on various missions to help others and do good in their hometown community of Ollanta and beyond. The Shaq Paq is a diverse cast of 10 different characters. In addition to Shaquille O’Neal voicing the giant truck Biggie D, NFL Superbowl champion Rob Gronkowski voices his buddy the Grenoble.

The premiere of “Shaq’s Garage” will be supported by a variety of companion content, influencer collaborations and a social marketing campaign across Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and TikTok, according to Genius Brands. Additionally, Genius Brands is developing a consumer products retail program for “Shaq’s Garage.” 

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“I am thrilled that our hard work over the past couple of years is finally coming to fruition with our new series,” Shaquille O’Neal said in a statement. “I am extremely proud of what we have created, and I am looking forward to inspiring kids all over the world with ‘Shaq’s Garage.’”

“We are thrilled that Kartoon Channel! is partnering with Pluto TV to premiere the first season of ‘Shaq’s Garage,’ which embodies the value-driven content we seek to create at Genius Brands,” Todd Steinman, president of Genius Networks, said in a statement. “I’m delighted that Shaq’s vision for the series has been realized. The show offers action, adventure, and comedy through positive messaging and quality role models. We are excited to offer this unique series to both kids and their families around the country.”

 

Kartoon Channel! to Bow ‘Kidaverse Roblox Rumble’ Hosted by Rashad Jennings

Genius Brands International will premiere the new 10-episode reality series “Kidaverse Roblox Rumble” exclusively on the Kartoon Channel! around the world.

Hosted by TV personality and former NFL star Rashad Jennings, “Kidaverse Roblox Rumble,” which will premiere in Q1 2023, is an elimination-style competition reality series featuring a diverse group of girls and boys across the United States, ages 8 to 12, who compete in 10 different “Kidaverse Roblox Rumble” games to win prizes and find out who is the ultimate gamer for a $1,000 grand prize. Some of the games will include “Yeti, Set, Go,” an arctic obstacle course; “Garden Gauntlet,” an adventure through a complicated outside hedge maze; and “Dune Dash,” a dune buggy race through a Southwestern desert.

Players who are eliminated will still receive their choice of a variety of prizes, including an Amazon gift card, a fifth generation iPad Air, an Oculus Metaquest 2, and custom Nike Air Force Ones.

Following the exclusive launch on Kartoon Channel!, the games used in the series will be made available for all kids to play.   

Roblox is a free-to-play online game platform and game design system with more than 164 million active users. “Kidaverse Roblox Rumble” games were developed by Kartoon Channel! using the Roblox platform.

“Being a gamer for many years, Roblox fan, and committed to positively inspiring kids, ‘Kidaverse Roblox Rumble’ is the ultimate opportunity to use my skills to reinforce positive values, including playing one’s best, good sportsmanship, and a ‘never give up’ attitude, while having fun!” Jennings said in a statement. “I love that the series ends each episode with my signature encouragement that any player who embodies these values has ‘never lost!’ I look forward to being a part of this special series where kids can enjoy watching other kid gamers compete for fun prizes, and for bragging rights to the enviable ‘ultimate gamer’ title.”

“Our Kartoon Channel! audience is crazy about the Roblox platform and games, which are an unprecedented phenomenon among kids:  half of Americans under 16 play (and often make!) Roblox games,” David Neuman, chief creative officer at Genius Brands’ Kartoon Channel! Worldwide, said in a statement. “And, we have observed that any video-game-related content performs especially well with our young audience. So it was a no-brainer for us to lean into this enthusiasm and develop an original competition reality series using the Roblox platform, which will help us engage with our audience while they’re watching Kartoon Channel! and while they’re gaming on Roblox.

“It was also important for Kartoon Channel! to stay true to our mission: to be family friendly, safe for kids, and free of any harmful or inappropriate content that can sometimes be found in video games. Our ‘Kidaverse Roblox Rumble’ games are completely kid-appropriate. And our charismatic host, NFL star, ‘Dancing With the Stars’ champion, and children’s book author Rashad Jennings is a wonderful and positive role model for all children, who encourages positive values and good sportsmanship throughout the competition.”

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Jennings is a national personality, a former NFL star, TV personality, author and philanthropist and appeared on season 24 of ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars.” His Rashad Jennings Foundation is dedicated to inspiring youth by making education fun, providing mentorship for individual success and promoting health and fitness.

Genius Brands Expands Kartoon Channel! on The Roku Channel

Following the success of the Kartoon Channel! app on the Roku platform, Genius Brands International April 18 announced that it would offer a dedicated Kartoon Channel! on ad-supported The Roku Channel — further expanding the channel’s presence on Roku.

The Roku Channel reached U.S. households with an estimated 80 million people in Q4 2021. Users now have access to Kartoon Channel!’s full slate of original programming and children’s brands, including “Stan Lee’s Superhero Kindergarten,” starring Arnold Schwarzenegger; the new fast-paced trivia original gameshow series for kids, “KC! Pop Quiz,” hosted by Nickelodeon star, Casey Simpson; and “Rainbow Rangers,” as well as classics such as “Baby Genius,” “Pac-Man” and much more!

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“As we begin rolling out the new Kartoon Channel! Kidaverse, we’re excited … that in less than two years we are fully distributed in the U.S.,” Jon Ollwerther, president, Kartoon Channel!, said in a statement. “We are now…significantly expanding our presence in the digital marketplace,” commented Genius Brands.”

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Genius Hires Former Disney Exec Todd Steinman

Genius Brands International has appointed Todd Steinman to the Kartoon Channel! executive team as chief revenue and marketing officer of Kartoon Channel! Kidaverse.

Todd Steinman

Steinman most recently served as VP in the Direct to Consumer and International division at The Walt Disney Company, which included Disney+ during its launch. He helped create solutions to leverage the Walt Disney Company’s  portfolio of linear and digital brands, including Disney, Hulu, ESPN, ABC, Freeform, FX and Nat Geo, while setting strategy for ad sales and revenue teams. Prior to his role at The Walt Disney Company, Steinman co-founded the digital media agency M80, and then led the NBC Universal media team for WPP after they acquired M80. He negotiated multi-million-dollar annual media deals with Google/YouTube, Amazon, Hulu, Disney, Twitter, Snapchat, Spotify and others, while managing an annual budget north of $1 billion. 

Steinman will report to Jon Ollwerther, president of Kartoon Channel! and KC! Kidaverse.

“Todd has a history of driving growth for the most important names in entertainment,” Ollwerther said in a statement. “With the announcement of the KC! Kidaverse, and the acquisition of Ameba TV, Kartoon Channel! has reached a new inflection point, and I could not be more thrilled to welcome an executive of Todd’s caliber to help take our business to the next level.”

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“There is an electric excitement about the Kartoon Channel! and KC! Kidaverse in the kid’s and family market,” Steinman said in a statement. “It’s a breakthrough concept, and I’m looking forward to bringing all my expertise to help drive it forward.”

Genius Brands Launching ‘Kartoon Channel! Kidaverse’ SVOD Service

Genius Brands International Jan. 13 announced it would bow the subscription-based Kartoon Channel! Kidaverse on April 15, priced at $3.99 per month. The platform will be anchored by backend technology from the acquisition of Ameba TV.

The SVOD will include all the programs of the Kartoon Channel!, while adding exclusive content in a phased rollout. The platform will feature a fully integrated design, including custom avatars and emojis for kids, exclusive games, branded VR goggles, immersive content and NFTs for kids.

The new platform will also feature collectable digital cards based on the channel’s characters, including those from the upcoming Stan Lee Universe, debuting in the fourth quarter, and a digital currency for kids called Kidaverse MetaBuck$. Additionally, the Kartoon Channel! Kidaverse is planning to introduce child-safe messaging, podcasts, music and games.

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Andy Heyward, CEO of Genius Brand, said the SVOD is in response to a consumer need for safe over-the-top video destinations for children.

“The single strongest message we receive from parents is the concern about safety for children on screens, whether it is program content or roaming around the internet and various apps,” Heyward said. “The premise of the [platform] is to provide children with fun, positive, engaging digital media, and to provide them with a safe and parent-controlled product.”

In addition to Kartoon Channel! programming, the SVOD will include “Stan Lee’s Superhero Kindergarten,” starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, “Rainbow Rangers,” “Peppa Pig,” “PJ Masks,” “Minecraft,” “Surviving Roblox,” “My Little Pony” and “Yu Gi Oh.”

Kidaverse will add another 13,000 episodes under license to Ameba, including “Casper the Friendly Ghost,” “Donkey Kong Country,” “Gummy Bears” and “Rescue Heroes.” The platform will also become the home to the several thousand hours of animated content available through Genius Brands’ recent acquisition of Canada’s WOW! Unlimited Media and strategic investment in Germany’s Your Family Entertainment (YFE). The company believes this will make it the largest single children’s portal of animation in the world, with over 20,000 animated titles under license.

“As Kartoon Channel! has grown, many of our viewers have asked for a commercial-free version of the experience,” said Jon Ollwerther, president of the Kartoon Channel! “While our free, ad-supported platform will still be available to consumers, the SVOD will address that market need, while also building the 360-degree kid’s digital media platform of the future. We believe it will be a unique entertainment experience that simply cannot be had anywhere else.”

Ollwerther will oversee the development of the SVOD and its rollout across North America. Former managing director of Disney Channels Worldwide, and now managing director of Kartoon Channel! Worldwide, Paul Robinson, will lead the launch throughout the rest of the world.

Chizicks Exit Genius Brands, ChizComm Companies

ChizComm Ltd. and ChizComm Beacon Media founders Harold and Jennifer Chizick have left Genius Brands, ChizComm and ChizComm Beacon Media.

“We are extremely disappointed to be leaving Genius Brands and ChizComm after less than a year of being with Genius Brands,” they said in a statement. “However, our vision on how to best grow the company does not align well with Genius Brands.

“Last week, Genius Brands imposed organizational changes that reduced our role in the company and was a breach of our agreement with Genius Brands. Efforts to resolve this matter in an amicable fashion have been unsuccessful. We believe that we have been terminated on a without cause basis and now have no choice but to depart the company and explore options for how to recoup the considerable sums remaining due to us.

“ChizComm staff is at the heart of everything we do. We want to thank this phenomenal team — past and present — that have contributed to building a great organization that prioritizes integrity, drive and passion. And to the ChizComm client base, it has been an honor working in partnership to unlock opportunities and drive growth. Stay tuned for what we do next.”

Genius Brands International issued a statement in response: “Harold Chizick and Jennifer Chizick, employees of the company’s ChizComm subsidiary, have been terminated for cause. The company believes this decision to be in the best interest of its shareholders and customers. Business will continue as usual under current management, with Donna MacNeil as President of ChizComm and Kathleen Campisano as Global Chief Marketing Officer and General Manager of ChizComm Beacon Media subsidiaries. The company is fully invested in the success of these subsidiaries and believes it will be more fully realized under Ms. MacNeil’s and Ms. Campisano’s leadership.”

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Harold and Jennifer Chizick in 2013 founded ChizComm Ltd., a marketing communications and media buying agency in the lifestyle, family, entertainment, toy and gaming spaces.

In February 2021, ChizComm Ltd. and ChizComm Beacon Media were acquired by Genius Brands. Harold Chizick served as CEO of both companies and Jennifer Chizick as COO of ChizComm Ltd. Additionally, Harold Chizick was named president of marketing, content sales and consumer products for Genius Brands.

In the past year working with Genius Brands, Harold Chizick secured a master toy partner for “Rainbow Rangers,” led the partnership to have Kartoon Channel! stream on Pluto TV, and led the marketing to deliver over 70 million views on “Stan Lee’s Superhero Kindergarten,” according to a statement from the Chizicks.

Genius Brands’ ‘KC! Pop Quiz’ Trivia Game Show Debuts on Kartoon Channel!

Genius Brands International’s “KC! Pop Quiz,” a trivia game show series for kids, debuted with two episodes Oct. 12 on the streaming service Kartoon Channel!

It’s the second original series and first live-action program for Genius Brands.

“KC! Pop Quiz” is a daily game show based on pop culture hosted by Casey Simpson, star of the “Nickelodeon” series “Nicky, Ricky, Dicky & Dawn” and an influencer across TikTok, Twitter and YouTube, with a social media following of more than 12 million.

Kartoon Channel! will debut new episodes daily after school.

In “KC! Pop Quiz,” aimed at kids 6  to 11 years old, two kid contestants (aged 9-12) compete head-to-head, answering questions correctly to earn points, which are redeemable at the end of the game for prizes selected from a virtual prize room. The winner returns to play again the next game.

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Question topics come from pop culture, such as music, movies, social media, sports, toys and gaming. There are also general knowledge questions in categories that include geography, history, language, science and technology. In each episode, contestants are given the opportunity to win kid-centric items ranging from Macbooks to Xbox consoles and iphones to a chocolate fountain and a giant gummy worm. Nobody goes home empty-handed.

“There is simply nothing like this show out there for kids and families today,” Kartoon Channel! president Jon Ollwerther said in a statement. “‘KC! Pop Quiz’ is a high-energy game show that offers kids a highly engaging entertainment experience with cool prizes, that speak to today’s kid in their own language. Where else can kids test their knowledge of Roblox, Justin Bieber and JLo all in one place?”

Kartoon Channel! is accessible on Comcast, Cox, Dish, Sling TV, Amazon Prime, Amazon Fire, Apple TV, Android TV, Android Mobile, Google Play, Xumo, Roku, Tubi, Samsung Smart TVs and LG TVs. Kartoon Channel! can also be streamed through mobiles devices by downloading the app or on desktops by visiting www.kartoonchannel.com.

Kartoon Channel! Gets New Spanish-Language Content

Genius Brands International has announced a new Spanish-language content service for children — ¡KC! En Español — on its streaming platform Kartoon Channel!

Kartoon Channel! also announced Oct. 5 that it is now available on Pluto TV.

With ¡KC! En Español, Kartoon Channel! expands its current  platform to serve the Latino children’s community in North America. The new Spanish-language children’s program service will reside on the main Kartoon Channel! platform and function as a sub-brand of Kartoon Channel!, similar to Kartoon Classroom!, which premiered in September 2020. The offering will launch with Genius Brands’ “Rainbow Rangers,” in addition to “Thomas Edison’s Secret Lab,” “Mi Perro Chocolo,” YouTube’s “Spanish Tree TV” and “Stan Lee’s Mighty Seven.”

“Not only is this the right entertainment and cultural move for Kartoon Channel!, but it also makes good business sense too,” Jon Ollwerther, president of Kartoon Channel!, said in statement. “Today, 26% of kids in the U.S. under the age of five are of Latinx heritage, a number that is only expected to grow. Further, 83% of Latinx audiences are streamers, versus 73% of non-Latinx audiences. Finally, digital ad-spend focused on the Latinx audience in the United States has more than doubled from 2015 to 2020 and the market today is estimated at over $1.5 billion. We look forward to this becoming an important and growing contributor to the business of Kartoon Channel!”

“Following the success of our educational sub-brand Kartoon Classroom!, ¡KC! En Español was the obvious next step for us,” Michael Riley, Genius Brands International’s chief diversity officer, said in a statement. “We’re proud to announce this new offering during Hispanic Heritage Month and to better serve the Latinx community, now in English and en Español.”

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Genius Brands International’s digital network Kartoon Channel! is a family entertainment destination. 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. Kartoon Channel! can also be streamed on TVs and mobiles device by downloading the app, or on desktops by visiting www.kartoonchannel.com.

Genius Brands International’s ‘Kartoon Channel!’ Launches on Pluto TV

Genius Brands International Oct. 5 announced a deal with ViacomCBS’s ad-supported platform Pluto TV to stream a branded Kartoon Channel! beginning today, significantly expanding the curated free family-friendly channel’s content.

Pluto TV users will now have access to Kartoon’s program line-up, including Genius Brands’ slate of original series — “Stan Lee’s Superhero Kindergarten,” starring Arnold Schwarzenegger; the fast-paced trivia original game show series for kids, “KC! Pop Quiz” (starting Oct. 12), hosted by Nickelodeon’s Casey Simpson; and the upcoming “Shaq’s Garage,” starring Shaquille O’Neal and Rob Gronkowski — as well as classics such as “Baby Genius” and “Pac-Man,” among others.

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Harold Chizick, president of content sales, marketing and consumer products at Genius Brands, said the company has a longstanding relationship with ViacomCBS, starting with the launch of “Rainbow Rangers” on Nick Jr. in 2018.

“This deal with Pluto TV provides us with an opportunity to significantly expand the brand footprint to a broad audience across the U.S., as well as to build our advertiser base,” Chizick said in a statement.

Amy Kuessner, SVP of content strategy and global partnerships at ViacomCBS Streaming, said Kartoon’s mission of providing “content with a purpose” to kids of all ages and their families is a perfect complement to ViacomCBS’s range of programming.

“We are thrilled to bring Kartoon Channel! to the Pluto TV audience,” she said.

ViacomCBS claims Pluto’s monthly average viewership base reaches 52 million users.