Since 1941, children and parents around the world have delighted in Curious George's adventures in Houghton Mifflin's best-selling Curious George book series. Following the success of the original "monkey see, monkey do" chimp on the big screen, Imagine Entertainment, WGBH Boston and Universal Studios Family Productions, with the support of Curious George publisher Houghton Mifflin, are now bringing Curious George to the small screen through a new public television partnership. The series is set to premiere on Labor Day, September 4, 2006 on PBS KIDS.
Just like Curious George, preschoolers are incredibly curious-and curiosity is one of the important foundations of all scientific investigation and discovery. The new Curious George television series uses George's insatiable curiosity as a way to introduce preschoolers to key concepts in science, math and engineering in a way that is fun for kids and accessible to parents, caregivers and educators.
Stripped five days a week in the PBS KIDS preschool block, the series features William H. Macy (Fargo, Seabiscuit, Pleasantville) as the narrator, which allows for a storybook feel and supplies a fun, wry, matter-of-fact take on George's adventures as well as interpretations of George's thoughts when necessary.
The series expands George's world to include a host of colorful new characters and original locales, while maintaining the charm of the beloved books. The result is a three-dimensional, fully developed world that will resonate with young viewers, while still appealing to the grown-ups in their lives who are fond of the Curious George book illustrations.
UNIVERSAL STUDIOS FAMILY PRODUCTIONS (USFP)
PBS KIDS will air 30 episodes starting September 4, 2006. Each episode consists of two 11-minute segments and two live-action interstitials that showcase a diverse group of children who are investigating the world in much the same way that George does - exploring materials, making observations, developing and testing hypotheses and applying their knowledge to new situations.
Universal's Home Entertainment team has a full slate of releases to support Curious George in 2006 and beyond.
WAL-MART EXCLUSIVE DVD
Capitalizing on the February 10, 2006 Curious George film launch, an exclusive DVD featuring three full shows from the Curious George television series was released on February 7, 2006 in a Wal-Mart exclusive. The DVD also contains an hour of kid-friendly games and activities.
THEATRICAL DVD RELEASE
Taking advantage of the September launch of the Curious George television show, the theatrical DVD release is slated for release Fall 2006. A variety of national promotions will support the launch.
TV EPISODE RELEASES
Leveraging awareness from the television series and Curious George merchandise at retail, two DVDs containing episodes from the television series will be released per quarter starting in 2007. The launch dates will be timed to key DVD-purchasing seasons: Easter, Back-to-School and Holiday.
NEW FULL-LENGTH ADVENTURES
All-new full-length movies are planned on a direct-to-DVD basis once per year.
More than 45 worldwide licensees and promotional partners across all categories are on board for the television series; many TV licensees were also film licensees. Product tied to the new TV series is scheduled to launch in Q1 2007.
· Master Toy Partner Toy Biz will expand its Curious George product line to include educational-based toys and activities in support of the television series following its successful launch in January 2006 for the Curious George film. Toy Biz has experienced strong sales at national mass-market retailers including Wal-Mart, Target and Toys "R" Us.
o To continue awareness between the film and DVD windows, Toy Biz is planning a television ad campaign featuring a :30 spot for its Tickle 'n Giggle plush. The campaign will run on Cartoon Network's Tickle U block and on Nick Jr. (including the CBS Saturday block) from February 27 through March 19 and then again from March 27 through April 9 to correspond with the Easter season.
· Curious George publisher Houghton Mifflin will create a line of books inspired by the television series for with seven titles releasing in Fall 2006 and seven new titles hitting the market in Spring 2007. The television titles will include readers, board books, novelty books and a sticker book. Houghton Mifflin also released a series of books - a junior novelization, a sticker book, a touch and feel book and other kid-friendly titles - inspired by the 2006 film release. Currently, the Deluxe Movie Storybook is the No. 6 title at Target; overall retail sales of two of the movie tie-in books quadrupled one week after the movie opened.
· Fruit of the Loom experienced strong sales during the film window, with Curious George becoming the No. 1 selling licensed underwear at Target. They will support the television series along with returning licensees Kids' Headquarters and NTD Apparel, both of which achieved strong sales at mass-market retailers like Wal-Mart, Target, Toys "R" Us, Kohl's and Kmart/Sears during the film window.
· Curious George was given the Parents Television Council "Seal of Approval." This award is given to worthy motion pictures, television programs, made-for-TV movies, video games and advertisers that help parents by providing/sponsoring entertainment suitable for the entire family.
· "Thumbs up! This movie succeeds at being a very charming and sweet children's film." (Roger Ebert, Ebert and Roper at the Movies)
· "Impossible to resist…refreshing, funny and sweet." (Christy Lemire, Associated Press)
· "A lovingly crafted adaptation of the children's classic." (Joel Siegel, Good Morning America)
· "Curious George is fabulous family entertainment. Buckle up for this amusing, exciting and hilarious adventure." (Janet Stokes, Film Advisory Board, Inc.)
· "An unexpected delight." (Dana Stevens, New York Times)
Jack Johnson and Friends Sing-a-Long Songs and Lullabies for the film Curious George streeted February 7, 2006. The album took the No. 1 position on the SoundScan chart in its first week with 163,000 units sold, beating out new albums by artists like Mary J. Blige and Barry Manilow. It's the first soundtrack to debut at No. 1 on the SoundScan chart in three years. It continued strong in its second week, selling an additional 117,000 units making it the No. 1 Soundtrack and the No. 2 overall album.
· The album as sold 280,000 copies to date.
· Debut single, "Upside Down," has reached more than 30 million listeners on the radio on the strength of 6,200 spins to date making it the No. 1 most-played track at AAA radio format; the video is in large rotation on VH1 - 70 total spins to date - and it has become a Top 10 Video.
· The album is currently No. 1 on Amazon.com. Amazon's music site is promoting the album on the homepage through February via a streaming music featurette. It is currently No. 2 at iTunes.
· Jack Johnson's "AOL Sessions" live performance is streaming on the AOL music site now.
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Curious George movie © Universal Studios.
Curious George and characters, created by
Margret and H.A. Rey, are copyright and trademarked by Houghton Mifflin Company.