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Upfronts: Sprout To Launch Interactive Show For Kids

Kiddie net to burnish connection to moms in new trade marketing effort

Kiddie-cabler Sprout said it would launch one new original series that would let kids play a game along with the show via tablet or mobile device, as well as three acquired series in the months to come, all part of the net’s upfront development slate.

Sprout, which is owned jointly by NBC Universal, PBS and Apax Funds, aims to cultivate an audience of kids between the ages of 2 and 5 as well as their parents and caregivers. The network does not accept commercials that make their pitches directly to children, only taking those that talk to the parents who presumably watch the programs with them. “We are creating a really meaningful connection with moms and we’re proud of having the highest concentration of moms among kids’ networks,” said Sandy Wax, president of Sprout.

As such, the network is launching a trade marketing campaign aimed at spotlighting its relationship with mothers. Ads will talk about how Sprout makes it possible for moms and kids to share moments together, whether they come from playing an online game or using a mobile app.

The network will renew its “The Chica Show,” all about an animated chicken, for a second season, while launching “ Ruff-Ruff, Tweet and Dave,” billed as “the first ever pre-school game show where kids can play along on a smartphone or tablet.” The three characters are a puppy, a bird and a blue panda, and each episode takes place in a new land, and new questions to the audience help move the action along. Audio watermarking technology is tapped to activate smart phones and tablets so kids can use their devices to select the right answers to the questions. “Ruff-Ruff, Tweet & Dave” is a co-production with Collingwood O’Hare in association with Sparky Animation, Bejuba! Entertainment. It will debut on Sprout in 2014.

Acquired series include “Boj,” an animated series about a five year old Australian marsupial; “Driftwood Bay,” an animated program about a special island existing in the imagination of a little girl named Lily; and “Tree Fu Tom,” an adventure series about a boy who straps on a power belt and transforms into a superhero. “Tree Fu Tom” debuts on Sprout April 22, while the other two are slated to launch in 2014.

Sprout has renewed “LazyTown” for a third season. The show aims to get preschoolers to take part in activity.

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