Taking the lead

Three years since launching its first-ever original kids shows, Amazon Studios reaches the Hot50 Production summit

After ninth and seventh place finishes, respectively, in the first two Hot50 Production rankings, Amazon Studios has dethroned Cartoon Network for the top spot, a position CN had held for the last two years.
This year, one of Amazon’s first three original kids productions, Tumble Leaf, continued its winning ways at the Emmys, nabbing awards for outstanding preschool animated program, directing in an animated program, and supervising animator. The studio’s newly launched adventure series Niko and the Sword of Light (greenlit last December), meanwhile, also won an Emmy for outstanding children’s animated program. Amazon Studios also introduced six new kids pilots in June, including Toasty Tales with animation from California-based Stoopid Buddy Stoodios, and The Curious Kitty and Friends from Domo creator Tsuneo Goda. Additionally, new family live-actioners including Gortimer Gibbons, Just Add Magic and The Kicks have resonated well with Amazon’s customers.
“Our approach has been to think about shows in different, more innovative ways. And because we don’t have a brand that has long been established, we’ve been able to experiment,” says Tara Sorensen, Amazon Studios head of children’s programming.
As for what the Hot50 industry recognition means for Amazon, Sorensen says taking the top spot is a big honor. “There is a lot of great content in the world created by production companies that are known for their solid track records,” she notes. “So to be the new kid on the block and get this type of recognition is really humbling. We are honored.”
Sorensen also credits a lot of Amazon Studios’ success to its partnerships with the likes of Mattel (American Girl) and PBS, as well as its book adaptations, including If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, which will launch as a Christmas special next month.

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