For parents, Amazon’s latest additions to its original video lineup is kind of a big deal. Today, the company says it has green-lit five new children’s test pilots to beef up its catalog of original video content on Amazon Instant Video and Prime Instant Video, as well as on European counterparts LOVEFiLM UK and LOVEFiLM Germany. One of the new pilots, “Teeny Tiny Dogs,” is produced by The Jim Henson Company and created by Howard Baker of “Rugrats” fame. Another is an animated series called “Creative Gallery,” which comes from Angela Santomero. Parents may not recognize her name, but they’ll know her work – she’s also the creator of “Super Why!,” as well as Emmy-nominated “Blue’s Clues,” and “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood,” the latter which extends the legacy of Mister Rogers’ world of make-believe into a new series.
All five of Amazon’s new programs are pilots, to be clear, which means viewer response will determine whether or not the shows are picked up for a full-season run, Amazon explains. As to what numbers Amazon is looking for here, that’s less clear, with Amazon citing “viewer feedback” as the determining factor for each show’s success. It’s not surprising that Amazon won’t talk about a baseline here, though. Online video rivaling TV in terms of quality of production and content is breaking new ground – ground which Amazon, Netflix, Hulu, YouTube and others are just now beginning to explore.
The five new children’s shows join the six comedy pilots Amazon greenlit back in December, bringing Amazon Studios’ total pilot count to 11. (It’s almost stating to look like a real TV network over here.) Amazon this fall also optioned its first novel, the Amazon-published, Southern horror Seed, for a big-screen adaptation. While The Jim Hensen Co. and Santomero may be the biggest names on the current list of new shows, several also include those with experience in the children’s programming industry, including J.J. Johnson, creator of “Dino Dan” and “This is Emily Yeung,” for example.
Amazon’s move into original children’s programming comes at a time when rivals Hulu and Netflix have been making more of an effort to target their youngest viewers. Hulu recently launched its own take on “Netflix Just for Kids” with “Hulu Kids,” and Netflix is now exploring the addition of personalized profiles for members, which would allow children’s content to be further separated from the adults’ programming.
The full list of new Amazon kids’ pilot programs is below:
Creative Galaxy is an animated interactive art adventure series, designed to inspire kids’ creative thinking through crafts, story, music and dance. The series was created by Angela Santomero, creator of Super Why!, the Emmy-nominated literacy series, Blue’s Clues and Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood.
In this innovative problem solving series, Dot, Dorothy’s daughter, goes off to Oz everyday with the children of the beloved characters from L. Frank Baum’s classic book, The Wizard of Oz. In each episode, the yellow brick road leads Dot to a new magical location where she solves problems alongside her Oz friends.
Teeny Tiny Dogs
Produced by The Jim Henson Company (Sid the Science Kid, Dinosaur Train) and created by Howard Baker (Rugrats), Teeny Tiny Dogs follows Butch, Butterfly, Dinky and Polly as they help one another navigate the big world despite their teeny, tiny, small size. This series promotes happiness through friendship, learning, growing and developing a strong sense of self as seen through the eyes of canine friends.
Tumbleaf was created by Drew Hodges and Bix Pix Studios, an award-winning stop motion studio. The series, aimed at preschoolers, is set in a whimsical land where a small blue fox named Fig plays each day and discovers adventure, friendship and love around every bend in the path. Children will be enriched by narratives that promote play through exploration and cognitive reasoning.
The Untitled J.J. Johnson Project
The Untitled J.J. Johnson Project revolves around Anne, a young scientist, who creates three robot helpers to assist her scientific experiments in the back of her dad’s junkyard. This science-based series from creator J.J. Johnson (Dino Dan, This is Emily Yeung) aims to introduce kids to science and technology in a fun, new way.