October 04, 2013 2:00am PT by Kimberly Nordyke
Sprout and Scholastic Media Team Up for Animated Series 'Astroblast!' (Exclusive)
Preschool network Sprout has teamed up with Scholastic Media to create and launch a new animated series set in outer space.
Astroblast! -- the first collaboration between Scholastic and Sprout -- is described as an interplanetary comedic television series for kids ages 2-5 that's inspired by the books of the same name by author and illustrator Bob Kolar.
Astroblast! follows the zany adventures of a crew of space animals who run the Astroblast Space Station -- the coolest hangout in the galaxy. The team of animals who run it -- Comet, Halley, Sputnik, Radar and Jet -- are the best of friends, all under the watchful eye of Sal the Octopus. They have very different personalities, which leads to messy situations. Through it all, the Astroblast! crew learn to accept their differences, help one another and make new friends.
The series is set to debut in summer 2014.
"Our Emmy Award-winning team of writers and animators are delighted to bring Bob Kolar's endearing Astroblast! characters and stories to life for Sprout," said Deborah Forte, president of Scholastic Media and executive producer of the series. "We're delighted to introduce this series, which supports Sprout's mission of using the familiar framework of a young child's relationships and experiences to further learning opportunities in everyday moments."
Added Sprout president Sandy Wax: "Sprout is committed to discovering the best original content and delivering it to preschoolers and their families. We are incredibly privileged to be able to work with Scholastic Media on Astroblast! It is going to be a great family viewing experience."
Sprout touts itself as the first 24-hour preschool destination available on TV, on demand and online for children ages 2-5 and their parents and caregivers. Its programming includes original series like top-rated The Chica Show, which debuted in November, and Pajanimals, a Sprout co-production with The Jim Henson Co. It also rebroadcasts episodes of beloved shows including Sesame Street, Barney & Friends, Caillou and Thomas & Friends.
Sprout currently holds the longest streak of month-over-month audience growth among all cable networks, for 23 consecutive months, and has recorded the highest composition of women 18-49 across all children’s cable networks for 2013.
Scholastic has been producing shows for 30 years. Among its TV productions are animated series WordGirl, Clifford the Big Red Dog, The Magic School Bus and I SPY, as well as the live action shows Goosebumps and Animorphs.
Meanwhile, Sprout also is adding to its original programming lineup with a new original series called Floogals, just put into production.
Floogals, which is co-produced by Sprout and The Foundation and distributed by Zodiak Kids, is a mix of CGI and live action. The 11-minute episodes follow the wild comedic adventures of three diminutive aliens who land on Earth and move in with a family to find out everything they can about human interactions. Through their journey, children learn how to confront and conquer everyday problems, gaining a greater appreciation and understanding of the uniqueness of the world around them. The series will premiere on Sprout in 2015.
"We are committed to delivering the very best of children's television to our families, and the addition of Floogals is extremely exciting for all of us," Sprout senior vp programming Andrew Beecham said. "Floogals brings to our mix an elevated cinematic quality along with comedic genre."