HIT Entertainment to adapt popular kiddie book series

HIT Entertainment is developing animated series “Diary of a Worm, Spider and Fly,” based on a trifecta of popular kid stories, for auds ages 3-5.

The series will be adapted from books “Diary of a Worm,” “Diary of a Fly” and “Diary of a Spider,” each written by Doreen Cronin and illustrated by Harry Bliss, with combined sales totaling 3.5 million copies. Cronin and Bliss will serve as series consultants.

“From digging in the soil to the stage and screen,” said Bliss, a syndicated cartoonist and cover artist for the New Yorker. “Who would’ve thunk it?”

The three main characters are unlikely best friends who have a series of adventures, with the show emphasizing an earth-science curriculum, one that could make “Diary” a natural for PBS as well as broadcasters worldwide, according to HIT exec veep of development and production Karen Barnes.

“I think what attracted us to (the books) is the humor in them,” Barnes added. “While they’re written for children, (Doreen’s) her writing is quite clever, and it’s very childlike rather than childish. You really do feel like it’s a kid writing in their diary about what’s going on, and it’s done in a very clever way.”

Though it hasn’t been decided, Barnes said that HIT is leaning toward producing the show in CGI rather than 2D animation. Given the 12-18 months needed to produce the series after development, a premiere won’t come until fall 2012 at the earliest, with 2013 perhaps more likely.

The books have also recently been developed into a touring stage show originated by the Oregon Children’s Theater.

HIT is the producer or rights-owner behind such properties as “Barney,” “Bob the Builder,” “Thomas & Friends” and “Angelina Ballerina.” Coming sooner down the pike from HIT is “Mike the Knight,” with 52 12-minute episodes due for this fall, and “Pandz,” which officially began development in October, with Nick Cannon as exec producer.

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