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Amazon Studios Has More Plans for Kids

Variety logo Variety 6/5/2017 Brian Steinberg
© Provided by Variety

Amazon Studios has more in store for kids.

After recently winning Emmys for series focused on younger viewers such as “Lost in Oz” (pictured, above), “The Snowy Day,” “Little Big Awesome” and “Tumble Leaf,” the company’s video arm has plans to expand, says Tara Sorensen, head of kids’ programming for Amazon Studios.

“We are continuing to look at different formats and trying to sort of grow and build on what we have done to date,” she said in an interview. “You will see us going into a slightly older space with series like ‘Dangerous Book for Boys,’ as well into the family space.” The former program is a comedy series from Bryan Cranston and Greg Mottola. The company also hopes to build out its comedy offerings beyond the pre-school set, she says.

Amazon is also looking at launching specials and then determining whether series can be built around them, Sorenson says.  Executives are exploring whether they might do more with “Snowy Day,” which was based on the famous 1962 Ezra Jack Keats illustrated kids’ book. “We are exploring the characters, how to expand them into a world that’s not specific to ‘Snowy Day,’” she says. “It’s really an exploration of a neighborhood, a snapshot of a certain time and a certain place. The beauty of his work is that is really celebrates diversity. We are really looking at trying to figure it out.”

Amazon intends to launch a special based on the popular James Dean character “Pete the Cat.” It will come out as a New Year’s special this year, said Sorensen, and then “we will sort of build a series around it, which will come out later in 2018.”

The company continues to develop current series as well, and has new episodes of its award-winning “Tumble Leaf” in the pipeline, as well as new episodes of “Wishenpoof.”  The first full season of “Lost in Oz” will debut this summer, while the fall will see the launch of a revival of the Sid & Marty Krofft series “Sigmund and the Sea Monsters.”

“Part of the beauty of my job is that Amazon didn’t have a brand when I first got here. We were able to experiment and to figure out what we wanted it to be,” says Sorensen. “Now that we have a couple of shows, our biggest challenge is not to replicate what we have done already.”

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