MIMO is in talks with various streaming-video hubs and kid-focused media outlets regarding a trio of 45-minute 3-D animated musical specials based on author Deborah Diesen’s “Pout-Pout Fish” books. The books were first published by MacMillan in 2008 and gave rise to 42 titles in 8 different languages, resulting in 8.5 million copies sold. The series centers on a brave fish with a “frowny face and a big heart.”
The specials are based on the work of Diesen and illustrator Dan Hanna, Each program features three original songs from a wide range of genres, including Broadway, pop and funk. The protagonist faces down obstacles like water pollution or not having a school of friends to swim with by standing up for other characters in need.
The cast of characters includes Millie, a minnow who provides a sunny counterpart to the hero; Cami, a cuttlefish who can disappear almost magically; Squidulus, a vampire squid who isn’t as scary as he looks; and Hex, a bull shark who wants to make friends but doesn’t know how. Their adventures have them burping or escaping from the belly of a whale.
Zarghami launched MIMO in February of last year with an initial focus on developing original movies based on properties she thinks will win over children and their families. She started at Nickelodeon in 1985 as a scheduling clerk and over three decades became one of the most important leaders in children’s television in the U.S. She has expressed interest in in mining the “TV movie” format, one which has gained traction in recent years on both traditional outlets like Disney Channel and Nickelodeon as well as on new streaming outlets. The movies aren’t necessarily the same length as the ones you might see at a theater, but give networks and streaming hubs the chance to break the traditional mold of presenting everything in multi-episode series.