Amazon has announced its first-ever original kids TV shows for Prime Instant Video.
The company has already established itself as the go-to subscription VOD service for children’s entertainment, thanks to its acquisition of everything from ThunderCats to Round the Twist. (See out top 10 kids TV shows on Amazon.)
Now, it’s creating its own kids TV series to boot.
The first six episodes of each show will debut this summer, beginning with animated series Tumble Leaf on May 23, followed by Creative Galaxy on June 27, and live-action series Annedroids on July 25. Additional episodes of the shows will follow later this year.
Amazon says its original children’s programming is “designed to inspire kids to learn through creativity, imagination and play” and have “been chosen by kids and approved by parent through the pioneering Amazon Studios Pilots programme”.
Indeed, Amazon Studios placed the kids TV shows on Prime Instant Video earlier this year for subscribers and non-subscribers alike to vote for their favourites – a unique approach that led to a batch of adult dramas being given the greenlight and could well have left younger viewers out altogether.
“We’re working with some of the most renowned creators in the business to introduce programming that promotes life-long learning through play,” said Tara Sorensen, Head of Kids Programming at Amazon Studios.
Amazon Original preschool programming is being developed with the support of Dr. Alice Wilder who earned universal acclaim for her work as the producer and director of research and development for the hit series Blue’s Clues and Blue’s Room. During her nearly decade-long involvement with Blue’s Clues, Dr. Wilder helped pioneer a new level of interaction between a show and its young viewers. She brings her expertise to Amazon’s programming to give parents confidence that these programs will provide valuable skills and life lessons that children can use in their real life—while being entertaining at the same time.
“We share the belief that creativity and curiosity are muscles that need to be exercised, refined and nourished to provide children with the skills they need to succeed in today’s rapidly changing world,” explains Dr. Alice Wilder, Educational Psychologist and Educational Advisor for Amazon Studios’ kids programming. “With an educational system that is focused on test-preparedness, literacy and numeracy, many parents find their kids faced with a curriculum gap. By combining core content with creativity and play, we will be able to help parents fill that gap.”
Here’s what we know about the shows:
Tumble Leaf (for preschool-aged children) – 23rd May
Tumble Leaf comes from Emmy Award-winning director Drew Hodges and award-winning studio Bix Pix Entertainment. The preschool aged show follows Fig the Fox and his best friend Stick as they discover adventure, friendship and love around every bend. Themes found in the show promote exploration and scientific thinking through play. The talent behind the characters includes Christopher Downs as “Fig” and “Stick,” Zak McDowell as “Hedge,” Addie Zintel as “Pine,” Brooke Wolloff as “Maple” and Alex Trugman as “Ginkgo.”
Creative Galaxy (for preschool-aged children) – 27th June
Creative Galaxy is made by acclaimed creator Angela Santomero and Out of the Blue (Super Why!, Blue’s Clues, Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood), and features Samantha Bee (The Daily Show), Christian Distefano, Jason Jones (The Daily Show), Cloris Leachman (Malcolm in the Middle) and Jason Priestley (Beverly Hills 90210).
In this make-along, create-along, interactive art adventure series for preschoolers, characters Arty and Epiphany travel around the galaxy to solve problems with art, inspiring creative thinking through crafts, music and dance. Intriguingly, to give kids and parents the real-life tools they need to re-create Arty’s experience, a live-action piece at the end of each animated episode will take viewers through the craft project that Arty showcased in the galaxy.
Annedroids (for children ages 4 to 7 years)
Annedroids, about a young scientist, is created by Emmy-nominated JJ Johnson (Dino Dan) and Sinking Ship Entertainment, and aimed at children aged four through seven, Annedroids is a live-action adventure series about a young female genius, her human friends, android assistants and the amazing scientific discoveries they make while undertaking the biggest experiment of them all: growing up. Addison Holley (Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood) stars as “Anne,” Adrianna Di Liello (Stage Fright) plays her friend “Shania,” and Jadiel Dowlin plays “Nick.”