Jakers! Makes Weekday Move

Following its highly successful weekend run on PBS for the past two years, CG-animated Jakers! The Adventures of Piggley Winks will hit the Monday through Friday programming scene, it was announced this week at the PBS Showcase in Las Vegas. A shift in line with PBS KIDS-enhanced programming plan, the pubcaster has ordered 12 new episodes of the show, which features 40 x 30 minute episodes as of now produced by Mike Young Productions for Entara Ltd. and presented by PBS member stations. Beyond the show time move, Jakers! will also increase its exploration of intergenerational relationships, one of the series’ themes that makes it popular with kids and parents alike.

Jakers! Transports audiences to the rural village of Tara, Ireland in the 1950s, where the goofs and exploits of Piggley Winks and his best friends Ferny the Bull and Dannan the Duck unfold. Each episode opens with Piggley Winks as a grandpa, recounting his childhood adventures to his three American city-raised grandpigs. Jakers! The VIP cast has certainly contributed to the program’s success, with Mel Brooks as Wiley the sheep and L.A. Galaxy captain Cobi Jones as the host of every episode’s live-action three-minute epilogue, Jakers! Live and Learn.

PBS’ favorite Irish animals received a daytime Emmy nomination this year for Outstanding Achievement in Production Color Design, and in 2004, the playful bunch scored two Daytime Emmys: a Parent’s Choice Award and a Prix Jeunesse for best pre-school website (pbskids.org/jakers).

The launch of Jakers! on weekdays is part of Entara’s strategic domestic licensing program in the U.S., which is handled by United Media. Other previous licensee announcements for the U.S. and Canada include the news from Simon Spotlight, an imprint of Simon and Schuster Children’s Publishing, that they have plans to produce a series of story and novelty books based on the property, as well as the decision to have Paramount Home Entertainment distribute the series on DVD and VHS.