Newly Developed Full-Length Series Debuted to the International Market at MIP-TV 2011
Los Angeles, CA (April 6, 2011) – World-renowned family entertainment producer and distributor The Jim Henson Company has partnered with 24-hour preschool television channel Sprout and Northern Ireland’s Sixteen South Limited for the co-production of 26 half-hour episodes (52 x 11’) of the new preschool series, PAJANIMALS, which will air exclusively in the U.S. on Sprout. The innovative series, featuring four cuddly musical puppets, will premiere on Sprout in the U.S. in fall 2011 and debuted to the international market at MIP-TV for television, digital and DVD distribution.
PAJANIMALS characters—Sweetpea Sue the pony, the excitable duck Squacky, the creative cow CowBella and the optimistic puppy Apollo—were designed and built by the world-famous Oscar® and Emmy® Award-winning Jim Henson’s Creature Shop™ from original concepts by Los Angeles-based toy and clothing designer, artist Jeff Muncy (Pet Alien).
The PAJANIMALS series will follow the amazing adventures of the four sweet and gentle characters. Through their imaginary journeys, the PAJANIMALS will model the skills preschoolers need to move through their days and nights successfully. Along the way, the PAJANIMALS discover how cozy and safe nighttime can really be when accompanied by friendship and songs.
Production on PAJANIMALS will begin immediately in Northern Ireland, with funding assistance from Northern Ireland Screen. The Jim Henson Company’s CEO Lisa Henson and Executive Vice President of Children’s Entertainment Halle Stanford will serve as Executive Producers for the series, along with long-time Henson producer, Alex Rockwell (Bear in the Big Blue House, Elmo in Grouchland) and Jeff Muncy. Serving as Executive Producer for Sprout will be Senior Vice President of Programming Andrew Beecham, while Lisa O’Brien, Sprout’s Vice President of Original Programming and Development, will serve as Executive in Charge of Production. Sixteen South’s Colin Williams (Big City Park, Sesame Tree) will serve as producer for the series, with Michael and Patty Silversher (Winnie the Pooh, Animal Jam, Dinosaur Train) composing the music. The Jim Henson Company is handling all ancillary use of the property including licensing, video and merchandising.
Available in over 50 million homes, Sprout is the first 24-hour preschool destination available on TV, on demand and online for children ages 2-5 and their parents and caregivers. The 24-hour digital channel, which launched in September 2005 along with the website (SproutOnline.com), is the only channel that follows the day of a preschooler from breakfast to bedtime with its distinctive, interactive programming and original hosted blocks. Sprout’s VOD offering is the #1 on demand service for younger children with over one billion views.
Sprout is a partnership among NBCUniversal, HIT Entertainment, PBS and Sesame Workshop. Its program lineup of gold-standard, curriculum-based preschool shows includes: Sesame Street®, Bob the Builder™, Barney & Friends™, The Wiggles®, Thomas & Friends™, Caillou®, The Berenstain Bears™, Roary the Racing Car™, dirtgirlworld and more.
About Sixteen South Limited
Based in Northern Ireland, Sixteen South Limited loves making children’s television that is worth watching. The company makes very high quality, compelling children’s programming for UK and international broadcasters and works in live action, puppetry and animation. The creators of Sesame Tree, a co-production with Sesame Workshop in New York, and Big City Park, a co-production with BBC Scotland, Sixteen South has produced 66 episodes of the two series, both of which screen on CBeebies or UK broadcast. Sixteen South continues to develop a slate of fresh properties for international markets.
Nicole Goldman/Ann Schwarz
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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