Netflix is turning 1980s-era toy line Popples, a species of fluffy, multicolored bear/rabbit/marsupial-like creatures, into an original episodic animated series set to debut in late 2015 as it continues to beef up its lineup of children’s programming.
The company has ordered 26 half-hour episodes under a licensing pact with Saban Brands. The Popples toy line debuted in 1985, followed by a Saturday morning cartoon show that aired on U.S. television from 1986-87. Saban Brands is producing the new “Popples” series with ZAG Entertainment exclusively for Netflix.
“Saban Brands has made history producing iconic and globally recognizable kids’ shows like ‘Power Rangers,’ ‘Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation’ and the new ‘Julius Jr.’ series,” said Ted Sarandos, Netflix chief content officer. “We are excited to expand the relationship we enjoy together around the world with the launch of ‘Popples’ as a new Netflix original series for kids.”
Series takes place in the world of Popplopolis and features a core set of characters, the Best Popple Pals (BPPs): Bubbles, Sunny, Lulu, Izzy and Yikes.
Netflix in July hired Brian Wright, previously Nickelodeon’s senior VP of live-action development, to head up acquisition of kids and family programming.
The company has cut licensing deals for kid-oriented fare with DreamWorks Animation, Scholastic Media and Mattel. The DWA deal encompasses more than 300 hours of original programming, including series “Turbo FAST” and new seasons of “DreamWorks Dragons.” In addition, under a pact with Disney, Netflix will get pay-TV window rights to future theatrical releases from Pixar and Disney Animation starting in 2016.