Hearst Entertainment hopes to build Popular Mechanics for Kids into a successful children’s educational franchise.
Popular Mechanics for Kids will be a live-action, 22-episode, syndicated series for kids age eight to 12 that explains how and why things work. The anticipated premiere date is fall 1997.
‘Anybody with kids knows they ask lots of questions. This show answers many of those questions in an entertaining manner,’ says Rob Corona, senior vice president, domestic distribution at Hearst Entertainment.
The series stems from a line of similarly titled home videos produced in association with Popular Mechanics magazine, a Hearst publication. The syndicated program will retain many of the components from these videos, as well as incorporating segments on computer technology.
Corona believes the program is exactly the type of show stations will be looking for to meet the new FCC mandate regarding educational programming. ‘Clearly, this show hits a target that’s center as far as being entertaining, informational and educational,’ he says.
Unlike the home video, which was targeted towards boys, Hearst hopes to expand the audience and reach girls.
Corona sees numerous cross-promotional and licensing opportunities in the offing, including CD-ROMs, inclusion in the Popular Mechanics Web site and perhaps the potential for a kids supplement in the magazine itself. No agreements have been made as yet.
The company has had a ‘broad interest’ in the series from stations and will offer it at NATPE in January.