By Ben Travers | Indiewire May 15, 2014 at 10:11AM
While Amazon may be in the business of polling users regarding their pilots, they're not about to leave things to chance when it comes to the nation's youth. Looking to rival Netflix in every way, Amazon announced start dates for its first three original children's programs today, one of which comes from the "Blue's Clues" creator Angela Santomero.
"Amazon Studios is thrilled to bring its first original children's series to kids and their families this summer," said Tara Sorensen, Head of Kids Programming at Amazon Studios. "We're working with some of the most renowned creators in the business to introduce programming that promotes lifelong learning through play. The kids programming team and series creators have had so much fun developing these new series."
Amazon employed Dr. Alice Wilder, an educational psychologist and Amazon Studios' Educational Advisor, who helped pioneer a new kind of interaction between a youth audience and the shows they watch. She served as a producer and director on "Blue's Clues" and "Blue's Room," and she wants to assure parents these new programs will provide kids with "valuable skills and life lessons."
“It's been extremely exciting to partner with Amazon on developing the content and activities that will be available through Prime Instant Video," Dr. Wilder said in a statement. "We share the belief that creativity and curiosity are muscles that need to be exercised, refined and nourished to provide children with the skills they need to succeed in today's rapidly changing world. With an educational system that is focused on test preparedness, literacy and numeracy, many parents find their kids faced with a curriculum gap. By combining core content with creativity and play, we will be able to help parents fill that gap.”
First up is "Tumble Leaf," premiering May 23rd from Emmy Award-winning director Drew Hodges, who won for his work on an animated episode of "Community," "Abed's Uncontrollable Christmas." His first credited writing experience comes with the new Amazon pilot about Fig the Fox and his best friend Stick. The program is designed to "promote exploration and scientific thinking through play."
Santomero's show is titled "Creative Galaxy" and premieres June 27th. Focusing on the characters Arty and Ephiphany who travel through the galaxy to solve problems with art, the program features voice work from "The Daily Show" veterans Samantha Bee and Jason Jones, as well as Cloris Leachman and Jason Priestly. It's doubtful those names will matter much to the preschool-aged target audience, but it may help parents who are watching along.
The third original series, titled "Annedroids," is about a young scientist and is from the creator of "Dino Dan," J.J. Johnson. Unlike the previous two programs, which are aimed at preschool-aged kids, "Annedroids" is for children between four and seven years old.
The first six episodes of each show will premiere on the dates listed above with additional episodes arriving later this year exclusively on Amazon Prime.