Amazon Orders 4 ‘American Girl’ Live-Action Specials

Under Mattel pact, Amazon Studios also has options to for TV series based on doll franchise

Amazon Studios American Girl Mattel
Courtesy of Mattel

Amazon, stocking up on programming aimed at tween femmes, inked a multiyear pact with Mattel for four live-action specials based on the toymaker’s popular American Girl doll franchise.

In addition, Amazon Studios has the option to produce multiple seasons of TV series with American Girl characters.

Two of the Amercian Girl specials will feature characters from the BeForever franchise of historical dollas, and one of the specials will feature characters from American Girl’s Girl of the Year franchise. The first special is scheduled to premiere on Amazon Prime Video in the U.S., U.K., Germany and Austria later in 2016.

For Amazon, the American Girl deal will expand its allure to families with young kids, as rival Netflix has also been steadily ramping up its original content for children of all ages.

“American Girl resonates strongly with kids and parents alike through its message of self-confidence, adventure, exploration and learning,” said Tara Sorensen, head of kids’ programming for Amazon Studios.

“Amazon Studios has differentiated itself by creating shows that bring more than just entertainment to families,” added Mattel chief content officer Catherine Balsam-Schwaber. “Their focus on creating positive role models that both inspire and educate was an absolute perfect fit with Mattel’s mission of creating purposeful play.”

The relatively pricey American Girl dolls, first introduced in 1986, have been adapted for several movie projects. Those include the 2008 theatrically released film “Kit Kittredge: An American Girl” and HBO’s “An American Girl: Chrissa Stands Strong.” Last year’s “An American Girl: Grace Stirs Up Success,” based on the 2015 Girl of the Year, Grace Thomas, starred Olivia Rodrigo.

Amazon’s original kids programming slate includes live-action series “Just Add Magic,” which the e-commerce company said recently set a record as the most-watched Amazon original kids’ premiere weekend in terms of U.S. Prime Video streams and hours.

Other shows include live-action series “Gortimer Gibbon’s Life on Normal Street,” “Annedroids” from Sinking Ship Entertainment; and three preschool series, including the animated “Tumble Leaf” from Bix Pix Entertainment and “Creative Galaxy” and “Wishenpoof” from Angela C. Santomero and Out of the Blue Enterprises, the creators of “Blue’s Clues.”

Pictured: American Girl’s 2016 Girl of the Year doll, Lea Clark.