‘Seuss Tales’ and ‘Uncle Wiggily’ up for PBS

Jun 24, 2002  •  Post A Comment

Mindrocket Media, a newly bannered San Francisco kids programming company, has more than a cat in its hat.
The producer of preschool-age educational programming, formerly known as JP Kids, has acquired the rights from Theodor Seuss Geisel’s estate to develop a TV series based on 15 popular Dr. Seuss books.
The company has also secured the rights from the estate of notable children’s author, Howard Garis, to develop his classic “Uncle Wiggily” book series.
Rick Hawkins, Mindrocket’s senior VP of television and film, said the company is teaming with leading PBS affiliate WTTW-TV in Chicago to produce “Seuss Tales,” which his company will pitch for either network or ad hoc syndicated clearances on PBS stations beginning in 2004.
Mr. Hawkins said “Seuss Tales,” a hybrid live-action/ animated series, will incorporate a variety of Dr. Seuss-originated characters, with stories to be created by children participating in the series. For example, Mr. Hawkins said, the kids will prompted by hosts to develop stories and songs based on the Dr. Seuss characters, then animated segments will be produced shortly thereafter for the complete half-hour episode.
“There have been some very good shows that promote children’s literacy, but we thought we’d take it one step further to use their minds to write the stories as well,” Mr. Hawkins said.
Mr. Hawkins said a production budget has to be determined on the series, which will also be factored in once an outside “ink-and-paint” production house is brought in to do the animated segments.
Because the show carries the Dr. Seuss imprimatur, Mr. Hawkins is confident of getting other funding and grants from PBS, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, educational foundations and other corporate sponsors.
In a similar vein, Mr. Hawkins said Mindrocket is aiming “Uncle Wiggily” at children age 2 to 8, with a live-action puppet series based on the “grandfatherly” rabbit. The stories, which are being developed with Twin Cities Public Television in Minneapolis-St. Paul, is based on books Mr. Garis wrote from 1910 to 1961.
Mr. Hawkins said Mindrocket hopes to secure clearances for “Uncle Wiggily” on PBS stations, but he stressed the show could also be pitched to the Nickelodeon or Disney Channel cable networks.