The Jim Henson Company first launched Pajanimals as a short-form musical series in 2008 for the preschool-oriented channel Sprout. The shorts revolve around the adventures of four young creatures preparing for bed; each teaches young kids about the ways of the night through song. Sprout has announced the development 26 half-hour episodes of Pajanimals that will debut in fall 2011. This fall is a big season for the Jim Henson Company: Disney is rebooting the flagship franchise The Muppets on November 23.
Hit the jump for the official announcement and a clip from one of the Pajanimals shorts.
Here’s the full press release:
The Jim Henson Company, Sprout® and Sixteen South Limited Team Up to Co-Produce PAJANIMALS for Sprout Network
Newly Developed Full-Length Series Debuted to the International Market at MIP-TV 2011
LOS ANGELES, April 6, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — World-renowned family entertainment producer and distributor The Jim Henson Company has partnered with 24-hour preschool television channel Sprout and Northern Ireland’s Sixteen South Limited for the co-production of 26 half-hour episodes (52 x 11′) of the new preschool series, PAJANIMALS , which will air exclusively in the U.S. on Sprout. The innovative series, featuring four cuddly musical puppets, will premiere on Sprout in the U.S. in fall 2011 and debuted to the international market at MIP-TV for television, digital and DVD distribution.
PAJANIMALS characters—Sweetpea Sue the pony, the excitable duck Squacky, the creative cow CowBella and the optimistic puppy Apollo—were designed and built by the world-famous Oscar® and Emmy® Award-winning Jim Henson’s Creature Shop™ from original concepts by Los Angeles-based toy and clothing designer, artist Jeff Muncy (Pet Alien).
The PAJANIMALS series will follow the amazing adventures of the four sweet and gentle characters. Through their imaginary journeys, the PAJANIMALS will model the skills preschoolers need to move through their days and nights successfully. Along the way, the PAJANIMALS discover how cozy and safe nighttime can really be when accompanied by friendship and songs.
Production on PAJANIMALS will begin immediately in Northern Ireland, with funding assistance from Northern Ireland Screen. The Jim Henson Company’s CEO Lisa Henson and Executive Vice President of Children’s Entertainment Halle Stanford will serve as Executive Producers for the series, along with long-time Henson producer, Alex Rockwell (Bear in the Big Blue House, Elmo in Grouchland) and Jeff Muncy. Serving as Executive Producer for Sprout will be Senior Vice President of Programming Andrew Beecham, while Lisa O’Brien, Sprout’s Vice President of Original Programming and Development, will serve as Executive in Charge of Production. Sixteen South’s Colin Williams (Big City Park, Sesame Tree) will serve as producer for the series, with Michael and Patty Silversher (Winnie the Pooh, Animal Jam, Dinosaur Train) composing the music. The Jim Henson Company is handling all ancillary use of the property including licensing, video and merchandising.