William H. Macy to Narrate the Series
Los Angeles, CA; January 15, 2005 -- Universal Home Entertainment Productions (UHEP), Imagine Entertainment and WGBH Boston today announced that PBS KIDS has committed to airing 30 half-hour episodes of the animated preschool television series based on the children's classic, Curious George. William H. Macy will narrate the series, which is currently in production and targeted to launch on PBS KIDS in the fall of 2006.
CURIOUS GEORGE will use George's insatiable curiosity as a way of acquainting preschoolers with key concepts in math, science and design engineering technology. The series will encourage inquiry and curiosity, promote hands-on exploration, and show parents and caregivers how to support children's science and math-related play. George's memorable misadventures from dismantling clocks to rounding up errant bunnies will offer a perfect vehicle for motivating kids to expand their own investigations of the world.
Louis Feola, President of Universal Worldwide Entertainment, said, "The Curious George character is naturally associated with a great heritage of curiosity-driven adventures. Our partnership with WGBH and Imagine Entertainment affords us an excellent opportunity to bring lessons of global application and importance to young viewers via the leader in children's television, PBS."
Executive Producer for WGBH, Carol Greenwald, said, "We're thrilled to be working with Universal and Imagine Entertainment to introduce this literary legend to public television. It's very exciting to be bringing H.A. and Margret Rey's wonderful characters to life and to new generations of children."
In addition to the television series on PBS KIDS, Universal Pictures and Imagine Entertainment are also in pre-production on an animated feature film scheduled for release in early February, 2006. The Brian Grazer-Ron Howard production stars Will Farrell (Old School, Elf) as the voice of The Man with the Yellow Hat. Dick Van Dyke, David Cross, Eugene Levy and Joan Plowright will also be among the distinguished cast of voices. Matt O'Callaghan will direct from a screenplay by Michael McCullers (Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me, Austin Powers in Goldmember and Thunderbirds) and Daniel Gerson & Rob Baird (Monsters Inc.) and Joe Stillman (Shrek, Shrek 2).
Eight years ago, Universal Studios acquired the rights to Curious George and has transformed the brand into a global franchise. With over 100 worldwide licensees since 1997, the Curious George entertainment franchise continues to grow across all categories such as apparel, accessories, interactive games, collectibles, fine art, home furnishings, health and beauty aids, food and beverages, gifts, stationery products and wireless communication devices and accessories.
Originally published in 1941, the book has never been out of print since. Authors H. A. Rey and his wife Margret, creative partners who fled Europe during the Nazi occupation and settled in Cambridge, Massachusetts, eventually wrote seven Curious George tales. Curious George titles have sold more than 27 million copies worldwide and have been published in 14 languages, making the little monkey who left the jungle with The Man With the Yellow Hat one of the best-selling and most enduring characters in children's literature.
Curious George and related characters, created by Margret and H.A. Rey, are copyrighted and trademarked by Houghton Mifflin Company and used under license. Licensed Universal Studios Licensing LLLP. All rights reserved.
Universal Worldwide Entertainment Group is a unit of Universal Pictures, a division of Universal Studios (www.unistudios.com). Universal Studios is a part of NBC Universal, one of the world's leading media and entertainment companies in the development, production, and marketing of entertainment, news, and information to a global audience. Formed in May 2004 through the combining of NBC and Vivendi Universal Entertainment, NBC Universal owns and operates the No. 1 television network, the fastest-growing Spanish-language network, a valuable portfolio of news and entertainment networks, a premier motion picture company, significant television production operations, a leading television stations group, and world-renowned theme parks. NBC Universal is 80%-owned by General Electric, with 20% controlled by Vivendi Universal.
WGBH Boston is America's preeminent public broadcasting producer, the source of nearly one third of PBS's primetime lineup as well as the award-winning children's series Arthur ,Between the Lions, and ZOOM. Under the leadership of vice president Brigid Sullivan, the WGBH children's lineup leads the field in educational multimedia (including the Web, broadband, and interactive television) and in technologies and services that make media accessible for people with disabilities. WGBH's current children's series have been recognized with some of the world's most prestigious awards, including 11 Emmys, the George Foster Peabody award, three Prix Jeunesse awards, a BAFTA, and more than half a dozen Parents' Choice awards. For more information, visit www.wgbh.org.
PBS KIDS is committed to providing the highest quality commercial-free content and learning environment for children across the country. Providing age-appropriate, diverse programming for kids, PBS KIDS' programs consistently earn more prestigious awards than any other broadcast or cable network. Only PBS KIDS has 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 Parents (www.pbsparents.org), PBS TeacherSource, PBS Ready To Learn services and literacy events across the country, PBS KIDS is providing the tools necessary for positive child development. PBS is a nonprofit media enterprise owned and operated by the nation's 349 public television stations, serving nearly 90 million people each week and reaching 99% of American homes.
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Susan Barrett, WGBH Boston, 617/300-5302; email@example.com
Debra Jackman,Universal Studios, 818/777-3188; firstname.lastname@example.org
Natalie Zadeh, Universal Studios, 818/777-4918; email@example.com