PBS KIDS Announces New Toons ‘Lyla in the Loop’ & ‘Weather Hunters’

Today at the Television Critics Association Press Tour, PBS KIDS announced the production of two new engaging and educational animated series: Lyla in the Loop, a comedy introducing youngsters to computational thinking concepts, and STEM series Weather Hunters, starring Al Roker.

Lyla in the Loop focuses on the important skills of creative thinking and problem solving through a thoughtful and adventurous approach that meets children in a funny and relatable way,” said Sara DeWitt, Senior Vice President and General Manager, PBS KIDS. “We’re so excited to be partnering with Mighty Picnic and Pipeline Studios to bring this inventive new series to families across the country.”

DeWitt added, “We’re so excited to be working with Al Roker and his team to bring important weather and Earth science lessons to kids through Weather Hunters. We know that parents and kids are looking for content about weather and climate; this show is fresh, funny and forward-thinking, and will help kids understand how weather affects their lives every day.”

Lyla in the Loop
Lyla in the Loop

Aimed at kids 4-8,  Lyla in the Loop is created by Emmy-winning producer Dave Peth (Odd SquadPeg + CatScribbles and InkDesign Squad), founder of media production and consulting company Mighty Picnic. Pipeline Studios, the Emmy-winning children’s content studio (Elinor Wonders Why, Alma’s WayBubble Guppies) is animating the series. Funding was provided by a grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and a grant from the U.S. Department of Education as part of the Ready to Learn Initiative. The series will be complemented by digital content for kids, families and teachers.

“The message of Lyla in the Loopis that everyone has what it takes to be a creative problem-solver,” says Peth. “If you keep asking questions, trying new things, and working together, you’ll find more solutions than you could have imagined – and have a lot of fun along the way.”

Series executive producer & head writer Fracaswell Hyman adds: “In a world where representation matters, Lyla in the Loop features a Black girl who feels there is no problem too big or too small to solve. Lyla leans in when problems occur or obstacles appear. She is curious, imaginative and although she sometimes dives in head first without looking, her tenacity and creativity when it comes to problem-solving makes it clear that she will eventually resurface triumphant. Lyla’s loving family, friends and fantastical companion, Stu, create a warm environment that will attract viewers and invite them to emulate Lyla when challenges come their way.”

Synopsis: Lyla in the Loop centers on Lyla’s family and diverse community. In addition to Lyla, the show features her mom, dad, 5-year-old brother Luke, 12-year-old twin sisters Liana and Louisa, and best friend Everett Phan, who all live in an apartment building and neighborhood bustling with activity. Stu, a fuzzy blue creature with a big smile helps Lyla tackle all kinds of challenges — like building the best-ever train set for her brother Luke, creating an extra-special sandwich for her family’s restaurant, Loops Lunch, and searching for a missing package sent by an Auntie in Jamaica (with delicious spice buns and other traditional treats inside!).

In every adventure, Lyla and Stu introduce and explore foundational computational thinking concepts, leading to some comedic disasters and creative solutions, all while helping others in their community. The series will support a wide range of learners, modeling flexible approaches to finding and designing solutions, and creative self-expression.

“Lyla is a character I would’ve loved to see on television when I was seven,” says series story editor Monique D. Hall. “She’s a little Black girl who isn’t afraid to be her full, smart, and silly self. She and Stu get into all kinds of fun messes, but they always manage to find clever ways out of them — even if it takes a few tries. You’ll definitely want to be in the loop for whatever adventure Lyla, Stu and the rest of the Loops Crew get into next!”

Series advisors for Lyla in the Loop include Dr. Amon Millner, Associate Professor of Computing and Innovation at the Olin College of Engineering directing the Extending Access to STEM Empowerment (EASE) Lab, series Curriculum Director; Nermeen Dashoush, PhD and Clinical Assistant Professor, Early Childhood Education, Boston University, Lead Advisor; Yenda Prado, PhD, Education Researcher at University of California, Irvine, Universal Design for Learning (UDL) advisor; V. Scott Solberg, Professor, Department of Counseling and Applied Human Development, Boston University, Career Pathways and World of Work Advisor; Cosette Strong, Strong Consulting Group, DEIA Advisor.

Weather Hunters
Weather Hunters

Weather Hunters is a new animated science series for kids ages 5-8 from Al Roker Entertainment (ARE), the production company led by beloved Emmy-winning TODAY weatherman and host, Al Roker. The series is designed to support kids’ understanding of weather through adventure and comedy as it follows eight-year-old Lily Hunter, a weather detective who shares her investigations with her family — including dad Al Hunter, voiced by Roker.

Weather Hunters has been a labor of love and a passion project for more than a decade and I cannot think of a better partner than PBS KIDS to make this dream come true,” says Roker. “When it comes to Weather Hunters , I predict increasing animation with downpours of family friendly storytelling and a rising understanding of weather and climate on your local PBS station, pbskids.org, and the PBS KIDS Video and Games apps.”

Each 22-minute episode of Weather Hunters will explore kid-relatable STEM-based activities and themes, highlighting the wonder of weather within the broad field of science in terms that all learners can understand. Topics include observing and tracking weather patterns, exploring why weather changes can be different around the country and the world, and the connection between humans and the environment. The series will reinforce key weather, climate, and environmental concepts to provide building blocks for further learning. Digital content for kids, parents and teachers will launch along with the series to reinforce the show’s key messages and encourage further engagement.

Created by Roker, Weather Hunters  is being produced by New York-based Al Roker Entertainment. Tracie Brennan and Lisa Tucker (ARE) serve as executive producers, along with four-time Emmy Award-winning animation industry veteran, Bill Schultz (The Simpsons, Garfield, Clifford the Big Red Dog). The original series brings together an amazing team of artists and writers for the new 40 half-hour series, including notable animation director Tyree Dilihay (Bob’s Burgers), animation producer/director Jerry Brice, head writer John Semper (Static Shock, Fraggle Rock) and three-time Emmy winner and writer, Carin Greenberg (Tumbleleaf). The production is made possible with funding from Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropies and PBS.

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