Netflix is going deep on Dr. Seuss. The streamer has ordered three animated series and two specials inspired by classic works from the beloved author that will anchor an expanded slate of content aimed at preschoolers.
Netflix has ordered series based on “One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish,” “Wacky Wednesday” and “Horton Hears a Who!” from Dr. Seuss Enterprises, the San Diego-based company that manages the canon of timeless children’s books. Animated specials are in the works for “The Sneetches” and “Thidwick the Big-Hearted Moose.”
Dustin Ferrer, an alum of PBS’ “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood” and HBO’s “Esme and Roy,” will serve as a supervising showrunner for the five projects. She will work with showrunners to be named later for each of the series and specials.
Netflix is amping up its offerings for the sippy-cup set because success in this arena can be a good way to keep engagement and multi-generational usage high among families.
“Netflix is a trusted home for characters kids love, and generations of kids love the characters imagined by Dr. Seuss,” said Heather Tilert, Netflix’s director of preschool content. “These beloved stories have been a core part of families’ libraries for many years and it gives me great pride that we are bringing them to our catalog of Netflix shows, in a fresh and modern way that resonates with audiences today.”
The pact for five high-profile new projects comes at a busy time of growth for Dr. Seuss Enterprises, the company that manages the Dr. Seuss canon of distinctive children’s books. The company is working on new movies with Warner Bros., and it is launching a new book imprint for works from emerging authors inspired by unpublished writings and drawings by Dr. Seuss, aka Theodor Geisel. Geisel died in 1991 at the age of 87.
Dr. Seuss Enterprises previously partnered with Netflix and Warner Bros. TV on the animated series “Green Eggs and Ham,” based on the enduring 1960 book that is the epitome of Geisel’s sui generis, silly but profound, rhythmic literary voice. The “Green Eggs” series debuted in 2019 after a long development process. Season 2 is set to drop on April 8.
“Dr. Seuss Enterprises is proud of the collaborative relationship we share with Netflix,” said Susan Brandt, president and CEO of Dr. Seuss Enterprises. “We are always looking for new and engaging ways to share our stories, characters and messages with the next generation of fans, and Netflix has a unique ability to create original, delightful adaptations of our timeless classics with an emphasis on imagination, fun and education.”
The new Netflix slate is in keeping with Dr. Seuss Enterprises’ goal of keeping the spirit and ethos of Seuss’ works alive through new interpretations. “One Fish, Two Fish” revolves around the friendship of two very different fish. A goal of the series will be to introduce “oppositional language” in the same spirit that the book helps introduce young minds to the concept of opposites and classifications. The series will consist of seven-minute episodes and two-minute music videos, per Netflix.
“Wacky Wednesday” revolves around a 10-year-old Wacky Expert who helps solve the strange problems that crop up every Wednesday in an otherwise placid town. The series will feature 11-minute episodes.
“Horton,” also set for 11-minute episodes, will follow the sweet-natured young pachyderm as he explores the jungle with friends and learns to stand up for what is right.
“The Sneetches” will be a 45-minute special featuring star-belly and moon-belly creatures who form a friendship and realize their differences are to be celebrated, not a source of conflict. Also coming as a 45-minute cartoon special is “Thidwick the Big-Hearted Moose,” based on a 1948 Dr. Seuss title, who helps a grumpy moose leader find his way to happiness.