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PBS wool-gathers with Brooks-voiced toon

Actor to play a sheep in 'Jakers'

HOLLYWOOD — PBS will have a rather sheepish producer on its hands, picking up toon “Jakers! The Adventures of Piggley Winks,” featuring Mel Brooks, for its Saturday morning kidvid lineup.

The 26-show series stars Brooks as a sheep named Wiley who comes from the U.S. to join a group of impish animals on an Irish farm. U.S. soccer star Cobi Jones will star in a series of live-action educational shorts at each show’s end called “Live and Learn.”

“PBS Kids is the perfect home for Piggley and his friends,” said Mike Young, the show’s exec producer. “PBS, perhaps more than any other network, appreciates the importance of good stories to engage and educate children.”

Young’s Los Angeles studio created the project in 3-D computer-generated animation with London-based Entara. PBS affil WLIW in New York will be the show’s presenting station.

Brooks, the comic mind behind “The Producers” and much else, said the project was “the most fun I’ve had in years. I get to play a sheep with a baa-a-ad attitude, and I get to impress my 5-year-old granddaughter. What more could a guy want from a part?”

Other voice talent includes Maile Flanagan, Russi Taylor, Tara Strong, Peadar Lambe, Nika Futterman, Melissa Disney, Charlie Adler, Fernando Escandon and Pamela Segal Adlon.

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