HOLLYWOOD — Merv Adelson, the force behind “The Waltons” and “Dallas,” is returning to producing after a 15-year break to release in January a series of direct-to-DVD titles aimed at helping tweens boost self-esteem through hip-hop and other current dance crazes.
The Lorimar co-founder has locked a deal via his Lightforce Entertainment with Warner Home Video for a series of direct-to-DVD interactive titles aimed at the tween set.
Last year, Adelson, 75, and his son Andrew launched Lightforce Entertainment to develop live-action programs for the market (Daily Variety, May 25, 2004).
First up is “JammX Kids,” a skein centered on a nine-member dance troupe of young do-gooders that Adelson describes as a mix of “The Mickey Mouse Club” and “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers.” He’s already taped several specials — some of which will air in the fourth quarter on Kids’ WB — that he hopes will motivate kids to “get off the couch and move.”
Directed by Kevin Tancharoen, discs feature an interactive element — which breaks down the dances into a step-by-step sequence — that tweens can access by hitting a button on their remote control.
Adelson turned his attention to the younger market when he realized his own kids, ages 4 and 9, were “hypnotized” by animation.
“The only time they’d get up was for this old show called ‘Kid Songs.’ They would sing and dance, and I thought to myself, I really ought to do something that will encourage kids to become more active,” Adelson said. “I started perusing the shelves at Target and Wal-Mart and noticed there wasn’t much for tweens, especially with the Olsen twins and Hilary Duff all grown up.”
Adelson will trot out the JammX Kids, who range in age from 9 to 16, during this week’s Licensing Show in New York, armed with plans for CDs and an assortment of other extras he hopes will accompany the release of the DVDs. Among the JammX members is Alyson Stoner (“Cheaper by the Dozen”), Monica Anne Parales, Jazz Domingo, Anna Gabriel Gonzalez, January Malkus, Evan Saucedo, Chancelor Miller, Jonathan Erasme and Bobbe J. Thompson.
First episode of “JammX Kids” spec revolves around the team helping a clueless teen work on his hip-hop moves so he can attend the school dance.
“(The JammX Kids) love to dance to Eminem and Missy Elliott. The show, of course, will be clean hip-hop. Parents will approve,” he said.