WASHINGTON (June 19, 2007)–Beginning in September, PBS KIDS will debut 26 half-hour episodes of “Mama Mirabelle’s Home Movies,” a warm-hearted, high-spirited show about a sassy, soulful elephant host named Mama Mirabelle and the young animal characters she cares for on the African savanna. Starring Vanessa Williams as the voice of Mama, the series combines an animated world that preschoolers will want to explore with stunning wildlife movies from the National Geographic and BBC award-winning archives. The series premieres on PBS KIDS the weekend of Sept. 8 (check local listings).
A co-production of National Geographic Kids Entertainment (NGKE), BBC/CBeebies and King Rollo Films, “Mama Mirabelle’s Home Movies” represents the first time National Geographic Kids Entertainment and PBS KIDS have teamed up to bring a children’s show to television.
“Mama Mirabelle’s Home Movies” features a cast of animated baby animal characters from the savanna, including Mama’s ever-awed elephant calf, Max; a know-it-all cheetah named Bo; a sweet and curious zebra named Karla; and three rambunctious monkey brothers, Kip, Flip and Chip. The animals might not look like they have much in common on the outside, but on the inside they all share a curiosity about themselves and the world they live in.
In each episode the animals gather around the maternal Mama Mirabelle to watch home videos of themselves and other amazing creatures of the natural world.
Whatever the young animals want to know — whether it’s why they need to sleep at night, or why they can’t go to the watering hole by themselves, or when it’s OK to trumpet at full blast — Mama helps them find answers by showing them footage from the amazing collection of wildlife movies she has gathered along her travels.
Using live-action footage from the National Geographic and BBC archives, the show illuminates the real world for preschoolers, helps them to find their place in it and provides insight into understanding animal customs and behaviors. The series also features original African and world-inspired music, including songs performed by Vanessa Williams.
Interactive Web content for “Mama Mirabelle’s Home Movies” at pbskids.org/mamamirabelle provides a rich multimedia experience of games, music, animated video clips, animal-related video and sounds that encourage preschoolers to learn about their world through the characters and themes from the series. The series will air on PBS KIDS with additional interstitial content, including hands-on “Monkey Minutes” and original music videos to encourage and support early learning. A companion book, “When Mama Mirabelle Comes Home,” published by National Geographic Children’s Books and authored by Doug Wood, will accompany the series and will be packaged with a special DVD release.
“‘Mama Mirabelle’s Home Movies’ combines the best of what you would expect from National Geographic — stunning wildlife imagery and credible content, with a whole new twist — a beautifully animated world filled with great characters and stories that preschoolers will relate to,” said Donna Friedman Meir, president, NGKE, and series executive producer. “This will be a show that kids will love to watch and their parents will be thrilled to let them!”
This breakthrough series comes with an A-list creative and production team, including King Rollo Films’ director Leo Nielsen; BBC CBeebies, the premier children’s public service channel in the United Kingdom; National Geographic’s Tara Sorensen, co-executive producer of the series and vice president of development for NGKE (“Dragon Tales,” “Harold and the Purple Crayon” and “Rolie Polie Olie”); and supervising producer and story editor Andy Yerkes (“Bear in the Big Blue House” and “House of Pooh”).
About National Geographic Kids Entertainment
National Geographic Kids Entertainment is an independent production and U.S. distribution entity of National Geographic Ventures. Established in 2003, NGKE brings the renowned National Geographic brand to children’s entertainment through the development, production and distribution of quality animated and live-action, entertainment-driven programming that excites kids to explore their world. NGKE will work with all major broadcast outlets in the United States and abroad. For more information about National Geographic, visit www.nationalgeographic.com.
Renowned for its quality informational programming, the BBC provides a wide range of distinctive programs and services that include television, radio, national, local, children’s media, educational, language and more. The CBeebies channel is the BBC’s public service children’s channel offering the best of BBC programming for children up to six years old with access to digital television.
About King Rollo Films
King Rollo Films (U.K.) has been producing children’s animation for over 20 years, working with BBC, ITV, Universal, Discovery Kids, Nickelodeon, Egmont, Telescreen, Penguin Books and Walker Books. Their films have been shown in over 100 countries around the world. Director Leo Nielsen has led a team of dedicated and talented artists bringing to life “Spot,” “Maisy” (BAFTA) and the Emmy-nominated “Paz.”
About PBS KIDS and PBS KIDS GO!
PBS KIDS, for preschoolers, and PBS KIDS GO!, for early elementary school kids, are committed to providing the highest quality non-commercial content and learning environment for children across the country. Providing age-appropriate, diverse programming for kids, PBS KIDS and PBS KIDS GO! programs consistently earn more prestigious awards than any other broadcast or cable network. Only PBS KIDS and PBS KIDS GO! have earned the unanimous endorsement of parents, children, industry leaders and teachers. With additional PBS resources to complement its programming, including PBS KIDS online (pbskids.org), PBS KIDS GO! online (pbskidsgo.org), PBS Parents (pbsparents.org), PBS Teachers (pbs.org/teachers), PBS Ready To Learn services and literacy events across the country, PBS is providing the tools necessary for positive child development. PBS is a nonprofit media enterprise owned and operated by the nation’s 355 public television stations, serving nearly 90 million people each week and reaching 99 percent of American homes.