6:00am PT by Kimberly Nordyke
Huckleberry Pie Joins 'Strawberry Shortcake's Berry Bitty Adventures' (Exclusive Video)
Berry Bitty City is getting a little bit bigger.
When the third season of The Hub's Strawberry Shortcake's Berry Bitty Adventures premieres Saturday, there will be one new (and familiar) face: the show's first boy character, Huckleberry Pie. The CG animated series introduces the happy-go-lucky animal lover as he opens a dog shelter, with Strawberry and her friends adopting some puppies from him.
While Huckleberry Pie is no stranger to the more than 30-year-old Strawberry Shortcake universe (and appeared in previous Strawberry Shortcake series), he has yet to make his appearance on The Hub's show -- and that was by design, says executive producer Sarah Finn.
"We always knew we wanted to bring Huckleberry Pie back [for the new series]," she says. "We wanted our viewers to get to know all the little girls in the cast, and so we spent time on that for two seasons, just really showing the different characters. We were just waiting for the right time to bring him in and freshen up the stories a bit."
When the idea of introducing the puppies arose, it was decided that Huck would be the perfect person to bring them to Berry Bitty City.
"He finds himself trying to fit in with the girls and ultimately realizing that all he has to do is be himself," Finn says of the message his introduction sends to viewers. "And for us, humor is very important, and Huck and the pups enabled us to continue telling fun, comical stories."
Another story line will feature Huck as a prince in a fairytale-themed three-parter. Meanwhile, the puppies also feature prominently in several of season three's 13 episodes.
As for the viewers -- the show's sweet spot is 4- to 6-year-old girls -- Finn adds that the character sends a message that it's OK to be friends with someone of the opposite gender. As a bonus, she adds, introducing a boy into the mix also might broaden the show's appeal to young male viewers.
"Every little girl has a boy in their lives, whether it's siblings or classmates," she adds. "And at that age, they really start being more aware, so we love this opportunity to show that age demo it is fine and fun to have a little boy friend."
Strawberry Shortcake's Berry Bitty Adventures, which is produced by American Greetings Properties, kicks off its new season at 8 a.m. ET Saturday on The Hub with two back-to-back episodes. Beginning March 2, new episodes will air at 8:30 a.m. ET.
Watch an exclusive clip from season three's second episode above.