Hollywood, Calif. (August, 16 2010) – The Jim Henson Company announced today that it is beginning production on the second season of WILSON & DITCH: DIGGING AMERICA the online destination for PBSKIDSGO.org about two comical gophers on a cross-country adventure as they explore America’s most famous (and perhaps not-so-famous) destinations. While learning about American culture, history andgeography, brothers Wilson and Ditch ride in style in their green-powered van, sharing experiences and real world resources for kids ages 6 – 10 and their families as they visit some of the country’s top cities, national parks and attractions. Funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), the project for PBSKIDSGO.org includes original online video and interactive games as well as blogs, comics and podcasts posted by the brothers. PBS’ children’s websites, including PBSKIDSGO.org, receives an average of 9 million unique visitors per month and the video players deliver an average of 50 million streams per month.
In the new season, Wilson and Ditch will explore Seattle, Washington; Chicago, Illinois; Sleepy Hollow, New York; as well as Bryce and Zion National Parks in Utah and North Carolina’s Outer Banks. In addition the GoBros will introduce five rockin’ new “city ditties” featuring Los Angeles, Boston, Portland, Washington, DC and Dallas. Two new games also will be added to the site where kids will go, go, go on a race through six states in the “Go Go GoBros” adventure! Players take Ditch for a ride on a cool vehicle and cruise through different locations dodging obstacles along the way to earn smashed pennies! And in “You are Here” kids will be asked questions about the different states the GoBros have visited on their travels. When they answer correctly they’ll get a puzzle piece helping them earn smashed pennies to spend in the Souvenir Shack!
Additional content on the Wilson and Ditch site at http://pbskids.org/wilsonandditch/ includes Wilson’s travel blog, “Apple Pie Picks” (a treasure trove of each destinations local background and fun facts), “Local Chow” (food that is indigenous to the area), “Digging History” (historical facts), and the PBS Parents pbs.org/parents/wilsonandditch/ and PBS Teachers pbs.org/teachers/wilsonandditch/ sites will feature fun educational activities that will help students learn about geography, history, local culture, map skills and much more.
Recent stops on the GoBros exciting cross country adventure have included Flathead Valley, Montana and San Francisco, CA. Still to come this year is the September 9 debut of their visit to Grand Canyon, Arizona.
The Web site continues The Jim Henson Company and PBS’s strong relationship in building curriculum-rich content including the PBS KIDS® Emmy-Award nominated preschool series SID THE SCIENCE KID and DINOSAUR TRAIN. The animated webisodes star Wilson and Ditch (performed by Brian Henson and Paul Rugg) and are brought to life using the Emmy® Award-winning Henson Digital Puppetry Studio, a proprietary technology that allows performers to puppeteer and voice digitally animated characters in real time.
PBS KIDS GO! is an educational multimedia destination specifically designed for early elementary school kids which debuted online at PBSKIDSGO.org and as an afternoon program block on PBS member stations in October 2004. PBS KIDS worked closely with early elementary school kids and industry experts to create this destination for an audience with limited choices for media content that is both fun and educational. With engaging, smart, age-appropriate content and a fun, quirky setting, PBS KIDS GO! empowers kids to discover themselves, define the diverse world around them, explore new relationships and embrace a love of learning. PBSKIDSGO.org hosts sites from all PBS KIDS GO! series alongside unique destinations such as “EekoWorld” – an environment where kids create their own creatures and monitor them in the wild, and “It’s My Life” – a forum for kids to delve into the daily issues of school, family and friends.
WILSON AND DITCH: DIGGING AMERICA was created by Joe Purdy (story editor of DINOSAUR TRAIN and SID THE SCIENCE KID) and Craig Bartlett (creator of DINOSAUR TRAIN and HEY ARNOLD!). Purdy is writing the webisodes and the web blogs. Andrew Dickman will be creating the site’s original comic strip material.
About PBS KIDS and PBS KIDS GO!
PBS KIDS, for preschoolers, and PBS KIDS GO!, for early elementary school kids, offer all children the opportunity to explore new ideas and new worlds through television, online and community-based programs. With positive role models and content designed to nurture a child’s total well-being, family and educator resources – including PBS KIDS and PBS KIDS GO! television series, PBSKIDS.org , PBSKIDSGO.org , PBS Parents (PBSPARENTS.org ), PBS Teachers (PBSTEACHERS.org). PBS is a nonprofit media enterprise owned and operated by the nation’s nearly 360 public television stations, serving more than 124 million people onair and online each month. For more information on specific shows supporting literacy, science, math and more, visit PBS.org/pressroom.
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The Jim Henson Company has remained an established leader in family entertainment for over 50 years and is recognized worldwide as an innovator in puppetry, animatronics and digital animation. Best known as creators of the world famous Muppets, Henson has received over 50 Emmy Awards and nine Grammy Awards. Recent credits include the Emmy® nominated “Sid the Science Kid,” “Dinosaur Train,” “Wilson & Ditch: Digging America” and “Pajanimals.” Features include “The Dark Crystal,” “Labyrinth,” “MirrorMask,” and “Unstable Fables” and television productions include “Fraggle Rock” and the sci-fi cult series “Farscape.”
With additional locations in New York and London, The Jim Henson Company is headquartered in Los Angeles on the historic Charlie Chaplin lot, complete with soundstage and postproduction facilities. Independently owned and operated by the five adult children of founder Jim Henson, the Company is also home to Jim Henson’s Creature Shop™, a pre-eminent character-building and visual effects group with international film, television and advertising clients, as well as Henson Recording Studios, one of the music industry’s top recording facilities known for its world-class blend of state-of-the-art and vintage equipment. The Company’s Henson Alternative brand has recently launched the national tour of “Stuffed and Unstrung,” a live puppet improvisational show named one of the top 10 “Best Stage Shows of 2010” by Entertainment Weekly.
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