The streamer will launch the animated preschool series inspired by the Quebec-based circus troupe as a Netflix original series for kids worldwide in Fall 2016. “With Saban Brands’ history of developing iconic characters that resonate with children, combined with the artistic creativity of Cirque du Soleil, we know Luna Petunia will introduce an engaging world that will have strong appeal across our global members,” Erik Barmack, vp global independent content at Netflix, said in a statement Wednesday.
Netflix also announced Wednesday another three upcoming animated series for kids, Kulipari: An Army of Frogs, Edgar Rice Burroughs Tarzan and Jane and Puffin Rock, also a preschool show.
Cirque du Soleil — Luna Petunia follows the adventures of a little girl named Luna Petunia ?who? plays ?in ?a ?dreamland where she ?learns ?how ?to ?make ?the impossible ?possible. Netflix will debut 11 half-hours of the Canadian series simultaneously in the U.S. and international territories. Bradley Zweig (Sid the Science Kid, Krypto) will serve as the showrunner.
Plans are also in the works for a consumer products line from Saban Brands, interactive digital content and a potential live tour. “The Netflix debut of Cirque du Soleil — Luna Petunia will kick off a comprehensive franchise rollout of numerous off-platform extensions,” Saban Brands president Elie Dekel added.
Saban Brands, an affiliate of Saban Capital Group, in February 2014 pacted with Montreal-based Cirque du Soleil Media to co-produce kids TV series with online content and merchandising spinoffs. “Cirque du Soleil — Luna Petunia is our first television series for kids and, with distinguished partners like Saban Brands and Netflix, we have no doubt this property will elevate kids’ entertainment by empowering preschool boys and girls to use their own creative potential to make the impossible possible,” Jacques Methe, Cirque du Soleil Media president, said.
Saban Brands, best known for its Power Rangers franchise, was launched in 2010 to acquire and develop kids properties with consumer brand potential. Cirque du Soleil Media is a joint venture between Cirque du Soleil and Canadian media giant Bell Media, and is charged with creating film, TV, digital and gaming content for worldwide distribution.
The Netflix acquisition is just the latest move into Canadian original series. The U.S. video streaming giant earlier nabbed the preschool show Justin Time: The New Adventures from Guru Studio, also for a 2016 bow. And Netflix last month started streaming the Jennette McCurdy-starring survival thriller Between from Toronto-based Don Carmody Television.
Netflix on Wednesday also set a Sept. 1, 2015 launch date for Puffin Rock, an animated preschool series narrated by Chris O’Dowd. Penguin Random House Children’s, Dog Ears and Cartoon Saloon partnered on the 13-parter about Oona, a young pufflin, her little brother Baba and friends.
The streamer also announced a 2016 debut for Kulipari: An Army of Frogs, another 13-parter based on a book trilogy by former NFL star Trevor Pryce and produced by Splash Entertainment and Outlook Company. And Netflix will premiere in 2016 Edgar Rice Burroughs Tarzan and Jane, an eight episode series from 41 Entertainment and executive producer Avi Arad.
June 3, 7:00 a.m. Updated with details on three additional original animated kids series announced by Netflix.