After nine years of post-production coordination and supervisory work on Dora the Explorer, Nickelodeon’s homegrown talent Farnaz Esnaashari-Charmatz is stepping up to the plate with a brand-new 2D-animated preschool series currently in development entitled Shimmer and Shine (working title).
Esnaashari-Charmatz and her team, including writer Sindy Boveda Spackman (Robot and Monster, The Fairly OddParents) and art director Andy Bialk (Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs), are six months into development and expect to deliver the show’s pilot by September 2013 in preparation for a an introduction at MIP Junior.
Shimmer and Shine follows the magical adventures of genie twin sisters Shimmer and Shine and their human best friend Leah, who, when needing help with various dilemmas, is granted three wishes after summoning the genies with a rub of her oil lamp pendant necklace.
Misadventures ensue when Shimmer and Shine often misinterpret what Leah wishes for and accidentally grant her the wrong wishes. Leah must then use non-magical problem-solving skills to fix her problems.
According to Teri Weiss, EVP of production and development for Nickelodeon Preschool, the series teaches kids that it’s okay to make mistakes and explores the unintended, but often positive consequences of doing so.
“A lot of educators and advisors we talked to were saying that kids are really afraid to make mistakes, so we thought wouldn’t it be interesting if we created a show that was about the celebration of mistakes,” she says. “Learning to persevere from those challenges is a fundamental lesson for kids.”
Weiss adds that Esnaashari-Charmatz, who is Iranian, always wanted to create a story with a Middle Eastern flavor and was passionate about making a show with strong female protagonists and engaging storylines that would resonate with boys and girls.
In addition, she says that working with comedy-driven writers has amped up the funny-factor of the new series. “It’s something we’re infusing more and more into our preschool shows,” she adds.
Even with Licensing Show right around the corner, no plans are in the works yet for a consumer products program. “Our strategy is to make a great show. We have to get the stories, comedy and art right first. Then everything else can fall into place.”