Brit production company Granada Kids has signed Emmy-winning Sesame Street writer Josh Selig to help develop three new TV series–each one finely focused to target a different subset of the preschool demo.
For the under-two set, there’s Baby, an original Selig concept described as an interactive animated series centering around a very mischievous infant.
Next up is a live-action/puppetry hybrid called Big and Small, which is the brainchild of Granada Kids director of programs Steven Andrew. Aiming for the slightly older two to four crowd, Big and Small is about two best friends who are different in every way possible.
And rounding out the development trio is Treetots, an 11-minute puppet concept for four- to six-year-olds that topped a field of 350 pitches Granada received when it put out a national call for new ideas in Q4 2001. The show features a group of four characters that very determinedly try everything–from tugging at the camera, to knocking on the screen–to get kids to interact verbally and physically with their on-screen dance and game activities.
Andrew is confident that there will be a market for all three shows, despite the glut of product currently available in the preschool genre. ‘After HIT’s success in the U.S., there are a million projects out there,’ he admits. ‘But if you’re in the kids business, preschool is an essential part of your portfolio. We’re working hard to offer viewers something different and better than anything they’ve seen before, and I think these shows have huge potential to become hits both in the U.K. and abroad.’
None of the shows are in production yet, but the first port of call for all three will be U.K. commercial network ITV, since Andrew regards a U.K. license as crucial to their viability. Nevertheless, Andrew says Selig’s solid knowledge of the U.S. market will prove invaluable since Granada International holds worldwide distribution rights to all three properties.
Selig’s history with Granada goes back around three years. ‘We knew about Josh because we had worked together in an attempt to make a U.K. version of Sesame Street. But his involvement on these new ideas has really underlined his understanding of what young children look for in a TV show.’