(Cannes, France) Today at MIPTV 2006, Nick Jr., Nickelodeon’s preschool programming block and Nelvana jointly announce the production of a second season for 3-D musical preschool series The Backyardigans. 20 new episodes of The Backyardigans have commenced production and season two is slated to kick off in October 2006 on Nick Jr.
“This series is one of the most interesting and unique concepts that Nelvana has had the pleasure to be involved with,” said Scott Dyer, Nelvana’s Executive VP of Production and Development. “Creator Janice Burgess’ creative vision and playful storytelling is the ideal match for Nelvana’s dynamic team of animators. We are thrilled to team with Nickelodeon for another season of what we hope will become a perennial preschool property.”
“The creators of i>The Backyardigans have spread their imaginative net to include musical genres like Kenyan Highlife, Tango, and Jug Band Music. Combined with great storytelling and choreographed dance moves, The Backyardigans inspires and enchants our preschool audience and their parents,” said Brown Johnson, Executive Creative Director, Nickelodeon Preschool Television. “We are excited to be working with Janice Burgess and her creative team on an excellent new set of adventures which encourage preschoolers to stretch their imaginations.”
In every episode of The Backyardigans, five high-spirited neighbors meet in their adjoining backyards and use their imaginations to transform themselves into different locations for epic adventures. The Backyardigans are: Pablo, an energetic, enthusiastic and excitable penguin; Pablo’s best friend Tyrone, an easy-going, confident young moose; Uniqua, a one-of-a-kind character with an adventurous nature; Tasha, a deceptively sweet and girlish hippo; and Austin, a resourceful and shy kangaroo. Each half-hour episode of The Backyardigans features a unique music/dance genre with four original songs, along with real choreographed movements recreated in animation. The animated dance steps are choreographed by Beth Bogush, a former director of the Alvin Ailey Dance School’s children’s program and performed by real dancers whose movements are then recreated in animation. The show’s rich animation style features lush, fantasy backgrounds created with CGI and 3D techniques.
The Backyardigans was created by Janice Burgess, who joined Nick Jr. in 1995 as a production executive for the award-winning series Blue’s Clues and Little Bill. Burgess also serves as Executive Producer. Robert Scull is Executive Producer and Supervising Director, and Jonny Belt is Co-Executive Producer and Supervising Creative Director. Scull and Belt also teamed up for Little Bill and Whoopi’s Littleburg, both on Nick Jr. The Backyardigans original music is composed by accomplished musician Evan Lurie, one of the original members of the eclectic musical group “The Lounge Lizards.”
The Backyardigans is a co-production with Nick Jr. and Corus Entertainment’s Nelvana. Nick Jr. is a specially designed programming block airing on Nickelodeon weekdays from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. (ET/PT) and weekends on CBS (check local listings).
Completely dedicated to preschoolers ages 2-5, Nick Jr.’s Emmy, Peabody and Parents’ Choice Award-winning programs are curriculum based, fun and commercial free. At Nick Jr., kids play to learn with innovative, original shows created just for them. Nickelodeon, in its 26th year, is the number-one entertainment brand for kids. It has built a diverse, global business by putting kids first in everything it does. The company includes television programming and production in the United States and around the world, plus consumer products, online, recreation, books, magazines and feature films. Nickelodeon’s U.S. television network is seen in 89 million households and has been the number-one-rated basic cable network for more than ten consecutive years. Nickelodeon and all related titles, characters and logos are trademarks of Viacom International Inc.
About Nelvana Limited Nelvana Limited is one of the world’s leading international producers and distributors of children’s programming and products. Its current stable of franchise properties includes Emmy Award®-winning and globally renowned brands such as Rolie Polie Olie, Babar, Franklin and Beyblade. Nelvana is owned by Corus Entertainment, a Canadian-based media and entertainment company. Corus is a market leader in both specialty TV and Radio. The company’s other interests include music, television broadcasting and advertising services. A publicly traded company, Corus is listed on the Toronto (CJR.NV.B) and New York (CJR) Exchanges.