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Kate McKinnon Is the New Ms. Frizzle for Netflix’s ‘Magic School Bus’ Revival

Variety logo Variety 2/8/2017 Oriana Schwindt
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Seatbelts, everyone: Kate McKinnon will be your new Ms. Frizzle.

The “SNL” and “Ghostbusters” star will be voicing Ms. Frizzle for Netflix’s revival of the classic kids cartoon “The Magic School Bus,” titled “The Magic School Bus Rides Again.” Lily Tomlin — currently starring in Netflix’s “Grace & Frankie” opposite Jane Fonda — had voiced the character in the show’s original incarnation, which earned several Emmy nominations and a win for Tomlin.

The “reimagining” was first announced by Netflix in 2014, and conceived then as 26 episodes made using CG instead of traditional animation. “Magic School Bus” was just one of several Scholastic Books titles optioned by Netflix at the time, including “Clifford the Big Red Dog” and “Goosebumps.”

As with many a Netflix revival, “Magic School Bus” resides in the sweet spot of nostalgia-evoking series and children’s programming. Shows like “Fuller House” and the “Gilmore Girls” revival, along with originals like “Stranger Things,” have proven big enough draws to become part of the cultural zeitgeist (though exact viewership figures remain elusive), so it makes sense to dip back into the ’90s nostalgia well. Adding McKinnon, currently earning high praise for her portrayal of presidential advisor Kellyanne Conway on “SNL,” gives the show yet another adult-attracting element to encourage co-viewing.

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