New Multiplatform Media Property Encourages Families to Go Outside and Explore Nature
Television Critics Association Press Tour, Pasadena, CA, January 19, 2015 – This fall, PBS KIDS will premiere NATURE CAT, a new animated series that encourages children to explore nature. Through NATURE CAT, co-creators and brothers David Rudman (SESAME STREET, The Muppets) and Adam Rudman (Tom & Jerry, SESAME STREET, CYBERCHASE) have teamed up to inspire viewers to get outdoors and develop connections with the natural world. Designed for kids ages 3-8, the multiplatform media property premieres this fall on PBS KIDS, along with integrated digital content and hands-on activities. Inspired by research on the health and educational benefits of spending time outside, NATURE CAT will encourage families to get active and go on their own outdoor adventures. The series will air daily following its premiere (check local listings).
Produced by Spiffy Pictures, NATURE CAT follows Fred, a house cat who dreams of exploring the great outdoors. In each episode, once his family leaves for the day, Fred transforms into Nature Cat, “backyard explorer extraordinaire.” Nature Cat can't wait to get outside for a day of backyard nature excursions and bravery, but there’s one problem: He’s still a house cat with no instincts for nature. Like many of today’s kids, Nature Cat is eager and enthusiastic about outside activities, but is at times intimidated by them. With the help of his animal friends, Nature Cat embarks on action-packed adventures that include exciting missions full of nature investigation, “aha” discovery moments and humor, all while inspiring children to go outside and “play the show.”
“Research shows that children bene?t greatly from playing outside, yet the amount of time kids spend outdoors has been steadily declining over the past several years,” said Lesli Rotenberg, General Manager, Children’s Media, PBS. “PBS KIDS is committed to using the power of media to foster children’s curiosity and inspire them to explore their interests long after the screen is turned off. Through NATURE CAT, our goal is to get kids excited about the wonders of nature and encourage healthy outdoor activities by modeling hands-on exploration with engaging, humorous stories and characters.”
NATURE CAT is a co-production of Spiffy Pictures and WTTW Chicago. Major funding for the series is provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) and the Van Eekeren Family, founders of Land O’Frost.
“NATURE CAT is supported by the American Graduate/PBS KIDS fund, which CPB and PBS established to create content and tools to prepare young children, particularly those from low-income communities, for educational success,” said Deb Sanchez, SVP of Education and Children’s Content at CPB. “Research has shown a strong connection between children’s early experiences and their later success in school and in life. NATURE CAT will spark children’s curiosity and introduce them to science and nature.”
Each episode of NATURE CAT will feature two 11-minute stories, as well as a live-action interstitial. In each 11-minute story, the characters model age-appropriate reasoning skills that can be applied to real-world exploration, such as classifying, counting and measuring. The stories will explore these themes through different lenses, encouraging young children to engage with the subject in different ways. The interstitials will build on the themes as well. Each one will demonstrate a variety of ways to experience nature — from “how to go hiking” to “how to pack a backpack.”
Grounded in a multifaceted science curriculum, NATURE CAT aims to expose children to a variety of nature concepts and systems, encourage shared discoveries and experiences as viewers explore the natural world and give parents and teachers ideas for nature-based activities.
NATURE CAT will demonstrate that discovery can happen anywhere – a backyard, a local park, the beach and even amidst the cracks of a city sidewalk. Nature Cat’s adventures take him through his family’s big backyard, into the woods and then into the “four corners” of his natural world: parks, ponds, caves, gardens, marshes, ravines, swamps, canyons, nature preserves and mountains. As they join Nature Cat and his friends on their adventures, young viewers will learn that to experience nature all they need to do is open the door, step outside and prime their senses.
“Many of today’s children are growing up with less of a connection to nature, so we set out to create a very funny, action-adventure series that will inspire kids to get outside, starting in their own backyards and parks, and explore,” said David Rudman. “Our hope is that our viewers will develop an appreciation and love of nature and will reap the many benefits it has to offer,” added Adam Rudman.
The NATURE CAT television series is part of a multiplatform media experience that will also include interactive content online and on mobile. Spiffy Pictures has teamed up with CloudKid to develop a series of games, hands-on activities and parent resources online at pbskids.org, as well as mobile apps. NATURE CAT’s digital content will help inspire children’s curiosity and excitement about nature. The mobile experience in particular will provide tools to encourage and support exploration and engagement with the natural world. Digital content related to the series will launch in fall 2015.
NATURE CAT is part of PBS KIDS’ ongoing commitment to helping kids build the skills they need to succeed in school and in life. PBS KIDS serves young audiences wherever they live, learn and play — through educational apps, on TV, online and in the classroom.
About PBS KIDS
PBS KIDS, the number one educational media brand for kids, offers all children the opportunity to explore new ideas and new worlds through television, digital platforms and community-based programs. Kidscreen- and Webby-award winning pbskids.org provides engaging interactive content, including digital games and streaming video. PBS KIDS also offers mobile apps to help support young children’s learning. The PBS KIDS Video App is available on a variety of mobile devices and on platforms such as Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire and Chromecast. For more information on specific PBS KIDS content supporting literacy, science, math and more, visit pbs.org/pressroom, or follow PBS KIDS on Twitter and Facebook.
About Spiffy Pictures
Spiffy Pictures, founded in 2003 by David and Adam Rudman, is a creative development and production company specializing in family entertainment. The Emmy award winning creative team has created, produced, written and directed live-action and animated projects for Nickelodeon, Disney, MTV, Comedy Central, Sesame Street and Warner Brothers. Their projects include creating and producing the Emmy & Prix Jeunesse nominated “Jack’s Big Music Show” for Nick Jr, the Emmy-nominated “Bunnytown” for Disney and Nick Jr.’s Parent’s Choice Award-winning “Curious Buddies” brand of home videos. Spiffy Pictures recently produced a puppet adaptation of Scooby Doo for Warner Brothers, titled “Scooby-Doo! Adventures, The Mystery Map.” Visit us at www.spiffypictures.com.
About WTTW Chicago
WTTW Chicago, a division of Window to the World Communications, Inc., is a premier producer and presenter of original, high-quality content for both public and commercial distribution. For almost 60 years, WTTW has introduced a wide array of groundbreaking cross-platform programming — reflecting the world’s rich and diverse arts and entertainment scene, as well as education, politics, public affairs, business and religion — to a national audience. Follow WTTW on Twitter and Facebook.
The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), a private, nonprofit corporation created by Congress in 1967, is the steward of the federal government’s investment in public broadcasting. It helps support the operations of more than 1,400 locally-owned and -operated public television and radio stations nationwide, and is the largest single source of funding for research, technology and program development for public radio, television and related online services. For more information, visit www.cpb.org.