Mike Young Prods. (MYP), producer of the hit animated PBS preschool series Jakers! The Adventures of Piggley Winks, will animate MGA Ent.’s popular Bratz line of fashion dolls for TV and direct-to-video releases. Aimed at kids 6-13, the animated tween lifestyle productions are expected to launch in September of this year.
For the uninitiated, the Bratz pack is a diverse group of multi-cultural, fashion-conscious girls who love shopping and everything else the average tween or teen girl values. The dolls were introduced to the toy market in 2001 and have gone on to sell more than 70 million units worldwide. With more than 300 licensees around the globe, the brand has expanded to everything from apparel to school supplies. There’s even a line of Bratz video games on the way from publisher THQ. The property has been so successful, it has already spawned a number of spin-offs, including Lil’ Bratz, Bratz Babyz and Bratz Petz.
The first Bratz home video release, the 2D-animated Starrin’ and Stylin’, was put out by Fox Home Entertainment last September.
Since hairstyles are important aspects of fashion, MYP will focus a lot of attention to capturing the look of real, wavy, full-motion hair for the series, which will require frequent style changes. "Up until now, hair has been one of the most challenging aspects of CG, only produced in mega-budgeted movies," says Mike Young, founding partner at MYP. He goes on to say that the detailed CG sets also proved a challenge for the animation crew, which is striving to push the limits of CG on TV.
The Bratz series and video productions will feature the voices of Soleil Moon Frye (The Proud Family, Punky Brewster), Lacey Chabert (The Wild Thornberrys, Party of Five) Wendie Malick (Fillmore!, Just Shoot Me), Tia Mowry (Sister, Sister, The Hot Chick), and Kaley Cuoco (Brandy & Mr. Whiskers, 8 Simple Rules). Malick is also joining David Spade and John Goodman in the voice cast for Kronk’s New Groove, the upcoming sequel to Disney’s The Emperor’s New Groove.
According to Liz Young, the show’s supervising producer and partner at MYP, the producers have hired teenage consultants on the production team to ensure that the series accurately reflects today’s tweens and teenagers.
Ellen Levy-Sarnoff, senior creative director for Bratz Ent. at MGA, will serve as a producer on the show, along with Jay Fukuto, VP of entertainment for MGA. Mike and Liz Young will oversee production for MYP, along with fellow partner and Bill Schultz, an Emmy-winning producer of The Simpsons.