Netflix to Launch Diverse Slate of Original Preschool Content

Netflix July 22 announced seven original preschool series for children ages 2 to 6 years old.

The slate is designed for diverse audiences, and inclusive of a wide range of genres and formats – from educational to nonverbal comedies, and with many options in between.

The content joins Netflix’s original preschool offering, which includes shows such as Ask The StoryBots, Chip and Potato, Mighty Little Bheem, Motown Magic, Super Monsters, True and the Rainbow Kingdom, Word Party, and YooHoo to the Rescue.

Other previously announced preschool originals soon launching, include “DreamWorks Archibald’s Next Big Thing,” “Go! Go! Cory Carson,” and “Chico Bon Bon.”

“With high-quality, age-appropriate programming for kids at every age and stage, we want to help young people find and connect with the stories and characters they love on Netflix,” Melissa Cobb, VP of original animation, said in a statement. “We are also here to empower parents to find the shows that are just right for their families during whatever time they feel is appropriate to enjoy entertainment.”

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Netflix was one of the first SVOD services offering children’s specific content without advertising and giving adults the ability to prevent access to certain content on their account by setting age restrictions and requiring security controls.

The seven new titles include:

“DreamWorks Dragons Rescue Riders” (2019) is a CG animated comedy adventure series that opens a brand new chapter in DreamWorks Animation’s Academy Award-nominated and Golden Globe-winning How to Train Your Dragon franchise. The all-new series is about twins, Dak and Leyla, who because they were raised by dragons, share a unique ability to communicate with them. The brother and sister lead a team of five young dragons that spend their days rescuing other dragons, and helping the people in their adopted town of Huttsgalor.

Executive Producers: Emmy Award winner Jack Thomas (Dragons: Race to the Edge, The Fairly OddParents) as executive producer and Brian K. Roberts (VeggieTales in the House) as co-executive producer.
Director: TJ Sullivan (Barnyard, Beware the Batman).

“Hello Ninja” (2019) For Wesley and his best friend Georgie, every day is an adventure. When Wesley puts his hands together, bows to his reflection and says the words, “Hello, Ninja” his surroundings instantly transform into an enchanting Ninja world. From Atomic Cartoons, a Thunderbird Company, this CG animated series is based on the picture book of the same name from author N.D. Wilson.

Executive Producer: N.D. Wilson
EP/showrunner: Mark Palmer (Treehouse Detectives, Kim Possible)
Story Editor: Susan Kim (Wonder Pets, Handy Manny)
Director: Michael Dowding (Slugterra, Reboot)

“StarBeam” (2020) Zoey is excited to tackle second grade, but when danger beckons, she sneaks away and – with her signature call out “It’s time to shine!” – transforms into StarBeam, the speediest, most powerful and most enthusiastic superhero to ever sip from a juice box. StarBeam is a CG animated series produced by Kickstart Entertainment.

Executive Producers: Jason Netter (Preacher), Loris Kramer Lunsford. (Johnny Test), and Heather Puttock (Ready Jet Go!)
Head Writer: Noelle Wright (Doc McStuffins, Super Monsters)

“DreamWorks Go, Dog. Go!” (2020) is a CG animated series produced by DreamWorks Animation and DHX Media, based on the beloved, classic children’s book by P. D. Eastman, published by Random House Children’s Books. Every dog wants to go! Go fast, go far, go to a big dog party in a tree. The series follows young pup Tag Barker and her adventures in Pawston, a colorful community of dogs on the go.

Showrunner / Executive Producer: Adam Peltzman (Odd Squad, Wallykazam)

“What-To-Doodles” (2020) A team of adventurous and lovable young creatures play, grow, laugh, learn, and sing together in this CG animated series that teaches young viewers “what to do” in everyday social experiences and firsts. Created by Art Spigel and Hannah Kole, the series is produced by creative production company 7ate9 Entertainment.

Story Editor: Doug Wood (Molly of Denali, Bob the Builder)

“Izzy Bee’s Koala World” (2020) 11-year old Izzy Bee, known affectionately as the Koala Whisperer, lives on Australia’s Magnetic Island where she rescues and rehabilitates koalas with her veterinarian Mom, Ali and her dad, Tim. This non-fiction series is produced in partnership with The Dodo and Nomadica Films.

Executive Producers: Jared McGillard (Dodo Heroes, Last Alaskans), Izzie Lerer (Founder/Chief Creative Officer The Dodo, Dodo Heroes), Suzanne Kolb (Dodo Heroes, The Swim), Elizabeth Keyishian (Sesame Street, Paw Patrol, Astroblast)

Producers: David Glauber (Snug’s House, Toca Boca: Toca TV), John Collin (Dodo Heroes)

“Emily’s Wonder Lab” (2020) Discover what makes STEAM fun with these visual demonstrations that will blow your mind! Acclaimed science communicator Emily Calandrelli takes kids through lively experiments and entertaining activities in this new live-action series created and produced by Bunim Murray Productions (The Real World, Crystal Maze, Keeping up with the Kardashians).

Executive Producer & Host: Emily Calandrelli (Xploration Outer Space, Bill Nye Saves the World)

Executive Producers: Gil Goldschein, Maria Peppin, Trish Gold

 

Netflix Acquires Kids Property StoryBots

Netflix has acquired the StoryBots property, the Emmy, Annie, and Parents’ Choice award-winning children’s media brand created by Gregg and Evan Spiridellis.

The brothers have entered into an overall deal with Netflix to significantly expand the universe of the StoryBots. Netflix and the Spiridellis brothers will produce more StoryBots original programming, such as series and short form specials, while also expanding the brand into new areas, according to a Netflix press release.

“The acquisition is a sign of Netflix’s commitment to bring educational content to its growing member base of kids and families around the world,” according to the release.

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The audience for the Netflix original animated series “Ask the StoryBots” has “grown significantly year over year since it first started streaming in 2016,” according to the release.

The series makes use of multiple formats, including 3D, 2D, claymation, stop motion and live action and features guest stars such as Snoop Dogg, Edward Norton, Whoopi Goldberg and Wanda Sykes. It takes kids on a journey to seek answers to questions such as, “Why is the sky blue?” and “How does night happen?”

“’Ask The StoryBots’ has a proven track record of synthesizing complex subjects into bite-sized lessons that are funny and entertaining for young kids and satisfying for parents,” said Netflix VP of original animation Melissa Cobb in a statement. “We are thrilled to welcome Gregg and Evan into the Netflix family and look forward to building out the wonderful and whimsical StoryBots world, finding new ways to delight our growing member base of families around the world.”

“Together with Netflix, our goal is to make StoryBots the leading educational entertainment brand for connected kids and families globally,” said StoryBots co-founders Evan and Gregg Spiridellis in a statement. “We want kids from Argentina to Zambia growing up laughing and learning with StoryBots that feel native to their culture. We see this as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to bring something epically good into the world.”

Season three of “Ask the StoryBots” launches on Netflix this Fall.

Netflix Cancels Kids Binge-Viewing Rewards Program

Netflix reportedly has canceled a controversial program that rewarded children for binge-viewing programs.

“We’ve concluded the test for patches and have decided not to move forward with the feature for kids,” Netflix said in a statement. “We test lots of things at Netflix in order to learn what works well – and what doesn’t work well – for our members.”

The trial campaign on Netflix Kids offered digital “patches” to kids for watching select original shows. Shows featured red locks on the menu page kids could unlock.

Reaction to the campaign – once leaked on social media – was largely negative with many people confused by the locks and others dismayed Netflix would incentivize children to watch more television.

“Netflix has gamified TV watching by offering ‘patches’ to children who watch their shows,” tweeted Brian Buffington, a teacher at South Hart Elementary School in Hartwell, Ga. “I love micro-credentials, but for watching ‘Rugrats’ and ‘Care Bears’…geez.”