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Netflix goes big on preschool

With a heavy dose of CG-animated content, the new slate includes a How to Train Your Dragon series, a couple of shows about super-powered kids, a duo of non-fiction series, and show about a pup exploring her world.
July 22, 2019

After focusing most of its original kids programming efforts on the older set, Netflix is turning its attention to ages two to six with seven new Netflix Original preschool titles.

Kicking things off is a new DreamWorks series. The CG-animated comedy adventure Dragons Rescue Riders (pictured) will premiere sometime this year. Part of the How to Train Your Dragon franchise, the entirely new chapter focuses on twins Dak and Leyla who were raised by dragons and can communicate with them. Jack Thomas (Dragons: Race to the Edge, The Fairly OddParents) serves as an exec producer alongside Brian Roberts (VeggieTales in the House), who is co-exec producer. TJ Sullivan (Barnyard, Beware the Batman) is attached to direct.

DreamWorks is also producing Go, Dog. Go! with DHX Media, which will premiere in 2020. Also a CG-animated series, the show is based on the children’s book of the same name by P.D. Eastman and published by Random House Children’s Books. Executive produced by Adam Peltzman (Odd Squad, WallyKazam), who is also serving as showrunner, the series follows a young pup and her adventures in Pawtson.

DHX isn’t the only Canadian prodco on the slate: Thunderbird Entertainment’s Vancouver-based studio Atomic Cartoons is bowing Hello Ninja on the platform. Premiering in 2019, the CG-animated series is based on the picture book of the same name by N.D. Wilson, who is on board as the exec producer. In the story, when a young boy bows and says special words to his reflection in a mirror, his surroundings transform into a ninja world. Mark Palmer (Treehouse Detectives, Kim Possible) is the showrunner, Susan Kim (Wonder Pets) is the story editor and Michael Dowding (Slugterra) is attached to direct.

The rest of the slate will premiere in 2020 and includes CG-animated StarBeam, produced by Kickstart Entertainment; CG-animated What-To-Doodles, produced by 7ate9 Entertainment; live-action non-fiction series Izzy Bee’s Koala World from The Dodo and Nomadica Films; and live-action series Emily’s Wonder Lab created and produced by Bunim Murray Productions.

In StarBeam, a young protagonist prepares to tackle the second grade with her special powers. Jason Netter, Loris Kramer Lunsford and Heather Puttock are the exec producers, while Noelle Wright (Doc McStuffins, Super Monsters) is the head writer.

What-To-Doodles, meanwhile, is created by Art Spigel and Hannah Kole, with Doug Wood (Molly of Denali, Bob the Builder) as story editor. It tracks a team of young creators who teach viewers what to do in everyday social interactions.

As The Dodo’s first kids show for a streamer or broadcaster, after just launching its first kids series on YouTube, Izzy Bee’s Koala World follows 11-year-old Izzy (known as the “koala whisperer”) who lives on Australia’s Magnetic Island and rescues little animals. Jared McGilliard, Izzie Lerer (founder and CCO of The Dodo), Suzanne Kolb and Elizabeth Keyishian exec produce the series, alongside producers David Glauber and John Collin.

Last, but not least, Emily’s Wonder Lab uses visual demonstrations led by scientist Emily Calandrelli to teach kids about STEM. Calandrelli serves as both the host and exec producer, alongside Gil Goldschein, Maria Pepin and Trish Gold.

Netflix’s current preschool slate features Ask The StoryBots, Chip and Potato, Mighty Little Bheem, Motown Magic, Super Monsters, True and the Rainbow Kingdom, Word Party and YooHoo to the Rescue.

According to recent research from Ampere Analysis, Netflix’s kids’ catalogue is half the size of Amazon’s, and most of the SVOD’s current content line-up is aimed at children between the ages of seven and nine, and the majority of its upcoming content is aimed at tweens between 10 and 12.

About The Author
Alexandra Whyte is Kidscreen's News & Social Media Editor. Contact her at awhyte@brunico.com

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