After dipping its toes into the kids pool with PBS KIDS series Ready Jet Go!, Wind Dancer Films is now treading much deeper into family content.
The California-based prodco behind Roseanne and Home Improvement has announced an ambitious new slate that comes in all varieties—from preschool animation to YA book adaptations—though Wind Dancer principal Dete Meserve says there is one commonality in place.
“Kids content comes without the pressures that adult programming puts on you to be edgy,” says Meserve, who was tapped to lead the company’s push into children’s content last March. “Here, we can really employ character humor and we know at the same time we get the opportunity to teach. We’re not just a company doing preschool and animation, but are also looking at live action, which is certainly our history and legacy. We’re even looking forward to doing things in stop-motion animation.”
The company’s new slate includes The World Wide Webbers, an animated TV pilot aimed at kids ages four to eight that focuses on literacy and geography created by kids entertainment vet Kim Berglund.
Wind Dancer is also working with writer/showrunner Carin Greenberg (Tumble Leaf, Octonauts) to adapt author Antoinette Portis’ Not A Box (pictured) into a TV show.
The company has also partnered with Canada’s Muse Entertainment to create a live-action TV movie and series for tweens called Hello, I Love You. Also with Muse, Wind Dancer is turning Meserve’s book, Good Sam, into a film for The Hallmark Channel.
Further upcoming projects include an untitled animated musical series for over-fives from Ready Jet Go! creator Craig Bartlett, an animated family feature film from writer Robert Zappia (Tom & Jerry), a live-action comedy series from YA author Elise Allen (Gabby Duran) and Corey Powell (Doc McStuffins, My Little Pony), and a live-action show about cars with Tod Mesirow and Robot Body (Mythbusters, Top Gear) at the helm.
There are also two STEM-focused shows in the works, including a CG-animated series for preschoolers with executive producer Brenda Wooding (SheZow, Space Racers), as well as an animated preschool science show created by Rachel Lipman (Splash & Bubbles, Ready Jet Go) and Joe Purdy (Dinosaur Train, Ready Jet Go) entitled The Wilde Family.
In fact, the focus on STEM is born out of the success of Ready Jet Go!, which is heading into its second season.
“We realized that science is not just a subject but many, many topics rolled into one that affect our lives every day,” says Meserve. “We have been able to make one show a success and we would like to be able to do it again and again.”
In terms of Ready Jet Go!‘s initial take-off, the series has already inspired an app that has been downloaded more than half a million times, and Meserve says Wind Dancer’s upcoming shows will likely feature mobile extensions, too.
“We’re primarily focusing on kids content right now,” says Meserve. “We’re certainly looking at doing some work in adult-focused feature films and television, but it’s really more about kids.”