The Jim Henson Co. has partnered with Los Angeles-based PBS affiliate KCET to produce a new animated TV series titled What’s the Big Idea? Set to debut on PBS KIDS in 2008, the educational sketch-comedy show will be the first series to utilize the Henson Digital Performance Studio (HDPS), a real-time digital puppetry pipeline currently employed on Henson’s web property, The Skrumps.
What’s the Big Idea? Is hosted by an inquisitive youngster named Josh, who tackles questions preschoolers may have about the things around them, such as why bananas go bad and how birds fly without airplanes. Forty half-hour episodes will be produced with Brian Henson, Lisa Henson and Halle Stanford of The Jim Henson Co. serving as exec producers. Mary Mazur is exec in charge of production for KCET, and Joyce Campbell is exec producing for the broadcaster.
‘We are thrilled to continue our legacy of creating entertaining educational programming by partnering with KCET and PBS KIDS on this project,’ says Lisa Henson. ‘We recognize that we have a unique opportunity to excite and educate our youngest viewers about science and we are looking forward to meeting that challenge in a fun and irreverent way.’
The show is part of KCET’s KCEd initiative, which was started to develop entertaining and educational programs designed to enrich the lives of children. Through a partnership with the multimedia design studio FableVision, the series’ online component at pbskids.org will feature experiences that further develop the show’s world of wonder and pre-science discovery. Production on the series will begin this fall with The Jim Henson Co. handling all ancillary exploitation of the property including licensing, home video and merchandising.