Kids round-up: Netflix revs up ‘Sonic’ series; Youtube hires Hunter to oversee preschool originals; ‘Donkey Hodie’ gets $3m funding

Sonic Prime

Netflix revs up ‘Sonic’ series

Netflix has commissioned a new animated series, Sonic Prime, based upon SEGA’s iconic video game franchise about a speedy blue hedgehog.

The 24-episode series will be produced at Canadian company WildBrain’s Vancouver studio, with SEGA and WildBrain working together across production, distribution and licensing. Ben 10 creators Man of Action Entertainment have meanwhile been brought on as showrunners and executive producers for the series.

Sonic Prime, which is set to premiere worldwide in 2022 will see the fate of a strange new multiverse rest in the gloved hands of the hedgehog hero, while he embarks on a journey of self-discovery and redemption.

“Sonic is a beloved character and holds a special place in everyone’s heart including my own,” said Dominique Bazay, director of original animation at Netflix.

“I spent many hours with the blue blur as a kid and it’s a privilege to be able to bring this character everyone knows and loves on a brand new adventure with Netflix – one that a generation of loyal fans and brand new fans around the world can enjoy.”

Craig Hunter

Youtube hires Hunter to oversee preschool originals

YouTube has hired Craig Hunter, former Sony Pictures Television director of kids’ networks, to a new role overseeing its preschool content.

Joining the LA-based originals team this summer, Hunter will become the new global head of preschool, reporting into head of family learning and impact Nadine Zylstra. In his new role, he will be responsible for the AVOD’s original kids and family content across both scripted and unscripted and take oversight of projects already currently underway for YouTube and YouTube Kids.

At Sony Pictures Television, Hunter led the company’s UK kids business for linear and AVOD brands, including Pop, Tiny Pop, Pop Max and Pop Fun.

Donkey Hodie

‘Donkey Hodie’ gets $3million funding

US-based Fred Rogers Productions has secured a $3 million multi-year funding grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting to finance upcoming preschool puppet series Donkey Hodie.

The series, which is produced by Fred Rogers Productions and Spiffy Pictures, is set to debut on 3 May on PBS Kids. This funding agreement covers series production, digital content, station engagement, and promotional activities.

“The Corporation for Public Broadcasting has been an invaluable partner in helping us fulfill our mission of bringing exceptional children’s programming to kids and families across the country every day, and we’re excited to expand our relationship to include Donkey Hodie,” said Paul Siefken, president and CEO of Fred Rogers Productions.


Turkish co-pro preps ‘Dollyphant’

Turkey’s TRT Kids has ordered a pilot for Dollyphant, a new preschool animated series from local production companies Gig Production and Siyahmarti Animation Studios.

Currently in development, the 30 x 7-minute series follows the adventures of the world’s most joyful elephant Dollyphant and friends Heart, Himbo, Bono and Anka.

Istanbul and LA-based Famelog Content will distribute Dollyphant, with the company’s MD Fahriye Şentürk commenting: “We have already started to look for international partners and we will be ready soon for presenting the show in following important industry showcase events.”

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