PBS KIDS has announced Xavier Riddle and the Secret Museum, a new animated series that will introduce kids 4-7 to inspiring historical figures, based on the children’s book series Ordinary People Change the World by New York Times best-selling author Brad Meltzer and illustrator Christopher Eliopoulos. The multiplatform series is being produced by 9 Story Media Group’s award-winning animation shop Brown Bag Films, and will debut nationwide on PBS stations, PBS KIDS 24/7 and PBS KIDS digital platforms in Fall 2019.
9 Story Distribution International has worldwide distribution rights outside Canada, while 9 Story Brands is managing global licensing and merchandising rights. The pilot episode of Xavier Riddle and the Secret Museum will premiere at MIPJunior.
“At PBS KIDS, our approach is deeply rooted in the belief that every child has unlimited potential,” said Linda Simensky, Vice President, Children’s Programming, PBS. “We’re thrilled to extend this mission with the debut of Xavier Riddle and the Secret Museum. With Brad Meltzer’s vision, the series will reinforce the idea that anyone can accomplish amazing things. Introducing our young viewers to iconic figures that have done just that will help them realize that they too can change the world.”
The 37 x half-hour (two 11 min. stories) series follows the adventures of Xavier Riddle, his sister Yadina and their friend Brad. In each episode, they face a problem and turn to the Secret Museum, a hidden room under an ordinary museum, through which they can travel back in time to meet real-life historical figures when they were kids. They witness pivotal moments that shaped each of these iconic people and learn social-emotional lessons – such as being resilient in the face of adversity, and setting and accomplishing goals. Each episode is designed to help viewers make the connection between the attributes that made each historical figure a hero, and those same attributes within themselves, while approaching history in an engaging, age-appropriate manner.
An hour-long special is also in the works.
“For me, Xavier Riddle and the Secret Museum isn’t just a show – it’s my dream for my daughter and my sons,” said Meltzer. “My dream is for all of us to witness how the most ordinary person can become truly extraordinary through their actions. I want to show kids that there is potential in each of us. Every hero in the show was once a kid – smart, curious and full of adventure – just like them. They too can be heroes.”
Xavier Riddle and the Secret Museum will be produced at Brown Bag Films’ Toronto studio. Exec producers are Vince Commisso, Meltzer, Eliopoulos, Fonda Snyder and Rob Weisbach. The series is directed by Cory Bobiak (Peg + Cat), with Meghan Read (Dot., Dino Dan) in the role of executive story editor. The look of the show is based on Eliopoulos’ illustrations for the book series.
Launching with the series will be a range of digital content for kids as well as their parents and teachers. This will include games on pbskids.org and the PBS KIDS Games App, as well as clips and full episodes on PBS KIDS’ video platforms including the PBS KIDS Video App. Parent resources, hands-on activities, etc. will be available on PBS KIDS for Parents, and PBS LearningMedia will offer printable and multimedia classroom materials.