Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Henson Joins With Tiger to Bring "Me and My Monsters" to BBC

The Jim Henson Company has teamed up with independent TV production company Tiger Aspect Productions to produce a new BBC sitcom about a group of friendly monsters. The BBC has greenlit the production of 26 episodes of the half-hour comedy series "Me And My Monsters." The live-action series is currently set to air in the UK through the CBBC division; there is no word yet on whether the series will be seen in North America or elsewhere at this time.

The show focuses on an American family who rent the house of their dreams in London at an incredibly low price. Initially, the family can't understand why the rent is so low until they discover three friendly monsters living in the basement. The family desperately tries to conceal the presence of the monsters from their neighbours while dealing with the ups and downs of raising a family.

"Me And My Monsters" was created and written by former cartoonist Mark Grant. Tiger Aspect Productions developed the show with Grant and then approached the Henson Company, which came on board. "At the heart of the story are three monsters, which are loveable yet scary. The Hensons were the obvious people to go to," said Tiger managing director Andrew Zein.

Sue Nott, executive producer for the BBC, said: "It's a comedy that hinges on the relationship between the young boy in the family and the monsters. It's very visual and it's got that Henson look."

I will be sure to keep you updated as more details on this upcoming Henson venture become available.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

"Sesame Street: 40 Years of Sunny Days" DVD Details

As previously reported, Sesame Street is planning on celebrating its 40th anniversary this November. To mark the occasion, Sesame Workshop and Genius Products are planning to release "Sesame Street: 40 Years of Sunny Days", a brand-new 2-disc DVD collection, on November 10, 2009 (which is exactly 40 years, to the day, since Sesame Street debuted).

The 2-disc set will include over 5 hours of iconic Sesame Street segments from the past 40 years - including "Rubber Duckie," "Lady Bug Picnic" and Elmo's debut; the set will also feature such memorable celebrity guests such as Robert de Niro, Destiny's Child, Alicia Keys and many more!

Bonus features on the set include trivia, exclusive never-before-seen behind the scenes footage and a peek into how your favorite characters come to life. The deluxe set also includes a limited edition, hard cover commemorative book.

With over 5 hours of iconic moments, songs, segments and exclusive never-before-seen backstage footage, this commemorative DVD set is a must own for every Sesame Street fan! You can pre-order the limited-edtion collector's set for only $20.99 on Amazon. I will be sure to keep you updated as more details on this set, and other anniversary items, become available.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Sid the Science Kid Merchandise - Dolls, Books, DVDs, Apparel, Albums & more!

Since its premiere last fall, Jim Henson's Sid the Science Kid has gained a lot fans. Developed to inspire a lifelong curiosity and love for learning in young children, Sid the Science Kid appeals to preschoolers’ instinctive quest to figure out how things work, using humor and music as key teaching tools. Since its debut fans have been claimoring for Sid the Science Kid merchandise. Young scientists can rejoice, because fans will soon be able to connect with Sid and his friends in a whole new way with a slew of new products hitting stores this fall.

The Jim Henson Company has partnered with Hasbro Toys to produce a variety of Sid the Science Kid toys and games. Hasbro is planning to release a deluxe "Talkin' Sid the Science Kid" doll this fall. Fans will be able to cuddle with the large plush doll version of Sid that talks and sings. You can press Sids belly to hear six different phrases and to hear Sid sing songs from the show. The electronic talking Sid will also come packaged with a special DVD including "The Sticker Chart" episode of the Sid the Science Kid.

Fans will also be able to collect soft plush versions of Sid and all his classmates. You'll be able to play and cuddly with plush figures of your favorite characters. Hasbro plans on releasing a set of "Sid the Science Kid Mini Plushes" this fall - featuring plush versions of Sid, Gabriela, May and Gerald ($6.99 each).

Aside from toys, Sid will also be making his way into books. HarperCollins Children's Books and The Jim Henson Company plan to release a series of books based on the program. The first three titles, targeting pre-schoolers ages 3-6, will hit book stores in December.

In "Why Are My Shoes Shrinking?" ($3.99, pre-order) Sid finds that he can't wear his favorite shoes to school any more because they're too small. Sid learns his shoes aren't shrinking but instead, he's growing. The 24-page storybook is written by N. T. Raymond and illustrated with full-color stills from the series.

Sid learns what happens if you don't clean your teeth in the book "A Cavity is a Hole in Your Tooth" ($5.99, pre-order). With the help of his family, friends, and teacher, Sid finds out why is brushing your teeth so important in the 32-page Let's Read and Find Out book by Jodi Huelin.

When Sid's dad catches a cold, Sid has to be careful not to get sick too in "The Trouble with Germs" ($3.99, pre-order) Sid investigates germs in this 32-page I Can Read book by Jennifer Frantz.

Sid the Science Kid made its DVD debut earlier this month with two DVD releases from NCircle Entertainment. "Sid the Science Kid: Change Happens" ($9.99, order) and "Sid the Science Kid: The Bug Club" ($9.99, order) each featured four episodes from the series and hit stores on August 4th.

NCircle Entertainment is planning to follow-up these releases with a third Sid the Science Kid DVD on December 1, 2009. In "Sid the Science Kid: Weather Kid Sid" ($9.99, pre-order) Sid discovers that wind, rain and sun can be fascinating and fun! The single-disc release, which runs 115-minutes, will include four episode from the series - "Sid's Rainy Play Date", "Special Sunny Dad Day", "Sid's Holiday Adventure", and "The Wind Did It".

Earlier this summer, launched an online store for Sid the Science Kid. The store carries "print on demand" apparel, where customers can personalize t-shirts, sweatshirts and hoodies, featuring Sid and his friends ($16.99 each, order). Fans can wear their favorite characters with a variety of designs, colors and styles.

Also earlier this year The Jim Henson Company released a collection of songs from Sid the Science Kid in an exclusive album. "Sid the Science Kid: Soundtrack - Volume 1" ($8.99, order) features 18 original songs from the show's first 20 episodes - covering such scientific topics as tools and measurement, transformation and change, the senses, and health. Hopefully "Volume 2" (featuring the songs from the second half of the 40-episode series) is not too far off.

The Jim Henson Company has also made a collection episodes of the series available via iTunes. Sid the Science Kid, Vol. 1 ($1.99 per episode, purchase) features the first 10 episodes of the show available for purchasing. You can download the Sid the Science Kid episodes dealing with tools, measurement, transformation, and change; now fans can watch Sid's adventures on their computers and portable devices.

I will be sure to keep you updated with details on these, and all the other upcoming, "Sid the Science Kid" products as more information becomes available.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Lionsgate Brings Fraggle Rock Back to DVD

The Jim Henson Company and Lionsgate Entertainment have just signed a distribution deal for more than 350-hours of content from the Jim Henson Company library. The agreement gives Lionsgate the North American distribution rights to content from the Jim Henson Company's film and television library, including television series, specials and other home entertainment titles. Included in the deal are the rights to the beloved television series Fraggle Rock, among others.

Lionsgate has already announced plans for their very first Henson Company releases which include the long-awaited stand-alone release of the fourth season of Fraggle Rock, plus a special holiday-themed Fraggle Rock release. Lionsgate plans to release "Fraggle Rock: The Complete Final Season" and "Fraggle Rock: A Merry Fraggle Holiday" on DVD on November 3, 2009.

Available on its own for the first time, the 5-disc "Fraggle Rock: The Complete Final Season" box set will include all 24 episodes from the last season of the series, plus all the new "season four" bonus material featured in the Complete Series box set. "Fraggle Rock: A Merry Fraggle Holiday" will collect three holiday episodes of Fraggle Rock on a single disc along with a variety of Henson-related holiday bonus material (including an episode of short-lived animated Fraggle Rock spin-off).

I will be sure to keep you updated as soon as more details on these (and other) Henson DVD titles become available.

Pajanimals Soundtrack Hits Amazon

The Jim Henson Company has just released an all-new collection of songs from their hit PBS Kids Sprout series "Pajanimals" in an exclusive album. "Jim Henson's Pajanimals: Soundtrack" features 12 original songs from the show. You can purchase the entire album on CD or you can download the album as a whole or in individual MP3 singles.

The series features four soft cuddly lovies who snuggle together every night to sing sweet night time songs; there's Apollo (John Kennedy), Squacky (Victor Yerrid), Sweet Pea Sue (Donna Kimball), and CowBella (Alice Dinnean). The original, short-form musical series focuses on helping comfort preschoolers by dealing with bedtime themes and transitional issues such as separating from mom at the end of the day, healthy routines, sleeping through the night and being comfortable with the lights out. The songs for Pajanimals were written by Michael and Patty Silversher with lyrics by Rockwell and Judy Rothman.

I will be sure to keep you updated with the details on any other upcoming "Panjanimals" products as information becomes available.

Track Listing:
1. Pajanimals Theme Song
2. Night Will Sing us All to Sleep
3. Lights in the Dark
4. La-La-Lullaby
5. Jiggle Jumble Jump
6. Scary Dream
7. Stick to the Plan
8. Sleepy Head
9. Nighttime Playtime
10. Morning Time
11. Goodnight to Mom
12. Ode to Sleep

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Sesame Street Kicks-Off 40th Season on November 10th

On November 10, 2009, forty years to the day since its premiere broadcast, Sesame Street will kick-off its landmark 40th season on PBS. Big Bird, Oscar, Elmo, Abby Cadabby, Cookie Monster, the Count, Grover, Bert, Ernie, Snuffy, Telly, Rosita, Baby Bear, Zoe and the rest of the gang will return this season with a whole new set of adventures, lessons, songs, games and sketches. This season will concentrate on the needs of children with a special nature-focused curriculum, "My World is Green and Growing," designed to create a love and understanding of the natural world.

This fall viewers will notice an all new show open and close as well as a new 'block' format hosted by "Word on the Street" Muppet, Murray, from real-world locations. In addition, resident fairy-in-training, Abby Cadabby, takes on a brand new look in the CGI animated segment "Abby’s Flying Fairy School" which aims to boost preschoolers’ critical thinking skills.

As always, the new episodes will feature well-known celebrity guests including: Oscar nominated actor Jake Gyllenhaal, Today Show host Meredith Vieira, former New York Giants football player Tiki Barber, NBA superstar Kobe Bryant, NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon, Late Night host Jimmy Fallon, comedian Ricky Gervais, and actors Paul Rudd, Judah Friedlander, Adam Sandler and Sarah Jessica Parker. New music meets the classic Sesame style with Grammy nominee Jason Mraz performing alongside Elmo and friends the appropriately rhymed song "Outdoors" to his hit-tune "I'm Yours." In addition, 26 new words will be introduced in the "Word on the Street" segments featuring explanations and definitions by celebrities like: Cameron Diaz, Julianna Marguiles, Hugh Jackman, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Elisabeth Hasselbeck, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Adrian Grenier, Eva Longoria, and of course, the Sesame Street Muppets.

But the celebration doesn’t stop there! Fans will be able to get nostalgic with a commemorative two-disc compilation DVD, Sesame Street: 40 Years of Sunny Days. The DVD set includes classic clips from the past 40 years. In addition, a fully illustrated coffee-table book entitled A Celebration: 40 Years of Life on the Street will also be available November 10th.

So mark your calendars and be sure to tune in for the gigantic 40th season of Sesame Street. I will be sure to keep you updated as more details on the 40th season and anniversary celebration become available.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

The Muppets Sing a Christmas Classic with Andrea Bocelli

Opera singer Andrea Bocelli has performed with the likes of Celine Dion and Christina Aguilera but this Christmas he'll be pairing up with far more seasoned performers - The Muppets.

Bocelli, who has sold 65-million albums to date, is currently in the studio with Kermit and pals recording a cover of "Jingle Bells" for his upcoming Christmas-themed album.

The album, set for release this November, is expected to contain Bocelli's interpretations of "White Christmas", "Silent Night", "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town", "Oh Holy Night" and others; plus appearances by such stars as Natalie Cole and Mary J Blige.

The idea to sing with the Muppets was inspired by an appearance Bocelli made on Sesame Street in 2005 singing "Time To Say Goodnight" with Elmo. It was the amusing Sesame Street footage, which can be found on Sesame Street's YouTube channel, that gave Bocelli's team the idea for recording "Jingle Bells" with The Muppets.

I will be sure to keep you updated with more details of this upcoming holiday collaboration and release as soon as more information becomes available.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Sesame Street Helps Families During Tough Economic Times

Al Roker, Deborah Roberts, Elmo and Grover are teaming up for a new prime-time special entitled "Families Stand Together: Feeling Secure in Tough Times." The new hour-long special is scheduled to air on September 9, 2009 at 8:00PM on PBS - check your local listings for details. This original program is designed to help families communicate during tough economic times.

In today's economic climate, approximately two out of three middle class families are at high risk of sustaining or losing their economic security. Moreover, increases in job loss and income cuts have made families struggle with basic costs like housing, medical care, transportation, food, clothing, and child care. Too often, parents are being forced to make difficult decisions that affect their children's well-being. In response to these recent changes in family economics, Sesame Workshop produced "Families Stand Together: Feeling Secure in Tough Times". The all-new special aims to help families with children, ages two to eight, experiencing difficult economic circumstances by offering strategies and tips that can lead to positive outcomes for their children’s physical and emotional well-being during this tough economic climate.

The special features Al Roker and Deborah Roberts alongside Sesame Street's Elmo, Chris, Grover, Elmo's family, and others. The special also features advice from financial expert Jean Chatzky and parenting and relationship expert Dr. Joshua Coleman.

"For nearly 40 years, Sesame Workshop and our beloved Sesame Street Muppets have addressed educational and community needs through the creative use of media. We have never shied away from delving into deep and complex issues and finding accessible and age appropriate ways to talk about these issues with children and families," said Gary E. Knell, President and CEO, Sesame Workshop.

Beyond the primetime special, Sesame Workshop will extend the initiative by providing additional resources online, in print and into local communities to help guide families during these tough times. Resources and materials will be available online at beginning September 9, 2009 so that families everywhere can view the videos and download the information.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

The Jim Henson Company's Wilson & Ditch Explore America Online

The Jim Henson Company and PBS Kids are partnering to produce an all-new original webseries to teach history, culture, and geography. "Wilson & Ditch: Digging America" will launch this fall on Produced by The Jim Henson Company, the series invites kids ages 6 to 10 on a cross country adventure with two comical gophers as they explore America's most famous (and perhaps not-so-famous) destinations. While learning about American culture, history and geography, brothers Wilson and Ditch ride in style in their green-powered van, sharing experiences and real world resources for families as they visit some of the country's top cities, national parks and attractions.

Animated webisodes will star Wilson and Ditch (performed by Brian Henson and Paul Rugg) and will be brought to life using the Emmy Award-winning Henson Digital Puppetry Studio, the proprietary technology that allows performers to puppeteer and voice digitally animated characters in real time. In addition to the webisodes, travel blog and on-location audio podcasts, Wilson and Ditch's new site will also feature original comics from the brothers' adventures.

"Wilson & Ditch: Digging America" was created by Joe Purdy and Craig Bartlett. The web content will be written by Purdy and the HDPS-animated segments will be directed by Bartlett. Bartlett will also create the site's original comic strip material.

I will be sure to keep you updated as details on this exciting new Henson project as more information becomes available.