YouTube today announced a 2021 slate of more than 30 kids’ originals produced by the $100 million fund it established in response to its 2019 child privacy settlement with the Federal Trade Commission.
The slate includes numerous animated series, a Kid President spinoff from SoulPancake, a new iteration of BookTube specifically for young readers, and a Studio71/Mainframe series starring popular kids’ creator Guava Juice.
In total, the slate–set to premiere throughout 2021–comprises 34 projects. The first project to debut will be Super Sema, an Afrofuturist animated series based on real-life creator Sema and her science-smorgasbord YouTube channel (6.21K subscribers). The series reimagines Sema as a young superhero who uses “her ‘technovating’ powers to save her village from the villainous Tobor and his army of mischievous Bongalala robots,” per YouTube.
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The series is being written by four-time BAFTA winner Claudia Lloyd (Charlie & Lola, Mr. Bean), and directed by Lynne Southerland, who was the first Black female director to helm a Disney film (Mulan II). It’ll debut on Sema’s channel March 8, which is International Women’s Day.
YouTube’s sizzle reel for the slate.
“Coming from an incredible caliber of creators, our new roster of shows celebrates the diversity of kids and empowers them to pursue their dreams and care for each other and the world around them,” Nadine Zylstra, YouTube Kids & Family’s head of family, learning, and impact, said in a statement.
Each of the shows were chosen because they are “entertaining, compelling, embrace big ideas, have strong takeaways and ultimately bring the positive spirit of YouTube to life for our youngest audience,” Zylstra added.
YouTube will continue to disburse money from its $100 million fund through 2022. As evidenced by several of the newly announced projects, YouTube is sourcing shows from creators, and previously said it aims to produce content aimed at viewers age three to eight.
You can see a selection of shows from the slate below (with descriptions provided by YouTube):
In Production (Premiering Q3/Q4):
- BookTube Jr.: Building on the success of “BookTube,” where viewers saw the world’s biggest authors (Michelle Obama, Malcolm Gladwell, Margaret Atwood) come together to discuss their books, “BookTube Jr.” will have the biggest children’s book authors who will talk about their books and their process. They will hear real kids’ questions about their books and inspire them to continue their exploration of the author off screen. “BookTube Jr.” will launch on the YouTube Kids app.
- The Eggventurers: From the producers of the popular GoldieBlox YouTube Channel, this new preschool animated series brings an eggs-citing machine building format featuring a zany cast of thrill-seeking egg characters. A wacky crew of eggventurers will jump into grand engineering adventures, building spectacular Rube Goldberg machines to help them overcome obstacles and achieve their goals. This dialogue-minimal show can be enjoyed by young viewers globally. “The Eggventurers” is produced by GoldieBlox, the media and entertainment company using storytelling to make STEM fun and empower young girls.
- The Guava Juice Show: Imagine if YouTube superstar Guava Juice’s Roi Fabito was a cartoon character and he could do all the amazing things he wants and project his positive energy…times a million! In this animated series, Roi is 14 years old and he works with fellow teenager Jenny and a neurotic talking Guava at a curio shop where a magical bathtub transports them to parallel dimensions full of danger and fun. Using his signature enthusiasm, Roi helps everyone find something way more meaningful than the thing they were actually looking for. “The Guava Juice Show” is produced by Studio71 and Mainframe Studios.
- Kid Correspondent: From SoulPancake and the team behind the beloved Kid President brand, this school-age series centers around the next generation of kid journalists dedicated to making the world a better place and helping other kids develop the necessary skills to one day become more informed and involved grown-ups. The show follows up on a four-part election-themed special which premiered in October 2020 and explored topics like making tough decisions and working through disagreements in the broader context of the democratic process and November elections with guest appearances from “celebrity grown-ups” like Robin Roberts, Mandy Moore and Kristen Bell.
- Lottie Dottie Mini: This preschool scripted learning series based on the wildly popular Brazilian kids’ channel “Galinha Pintadinha Mini” (Lottie Dottie Chicken Mini in English), follows the beloved chicken and a colorful collection of friends, while they navigate life lessons, learn fun activities, and enjoy beloved kids’ songs together. The series will be released in English, Portuguese and Spanish. “Lottie Dottie Mini” is from Bromelia Productions.
- Millie and Lou: Deep in the forest lives Millie, a friendly, fearless young girl and her best friend Lou, a clever cautious little cat. Millie and Lou share the forest with exciting creatures, the Forest Folk, all based on mythical folklore. Together, these BFFs are on a magical mission to meet every single one. This enchanting preschool animated series delights in the magic of making new friends and finding common ground, no matter who you are or where you come from. “Millie and Lou” is directed by award-winning Evgenia Golubeva and produced by the BAFTA Award-winning Blue Zoo Animation Studio.
- Supa Strikas: Rookie Season: Go back in time with Shakes to find out how he made the world’s greatest soccer team, the Supa Strikas! This school-age prequel animated series will uncover some earth-shattering revelations for fans of the popular show and the pan-African team, including the mystery of Shakes’ missing father and how his biggest on-field nemesis was once his best friend. “Supa Strikas: Rookie Season” is produced by Moonbug Entertainment, the global entertainment company behind popular YouTube channels like Moonbug Kids and Little Baby Bum.
- The Workout Badges: The new series coming out of the UK teams up Hey Duggee with Joe Wicks of popular The Body Coach TV YouTube channel, whose at-home kids workout series have become a favorite for millions of families in lockdown. Together, Joe and Hey Duggee encourage their young audience to join them in different exercise routines. Each instructional video is guided by Joe and a group of school kids that “interact” with Hey Duggee animation. The show will feature animation of Hey Duggee characters responding to, and copying the exercise moves. The preschool series is a mix of live-action and animation, and is produced by BBC Studios.
“Featured projects in development,” per YouTube:
- Jam Van: From the Oscar, Emmy, Grammy and Tony Award-winning team of Believe Entertainment Group (“Dear Basketball”) and composer/producer Bill Sherman (“Hamilton,” “In the Heights,” “Sesame Street”) comes a road-tripping, original music series for kids and families. Each episode, hosted by best friends Lamb and Anne the Alligator, travels to a new location around the country, straight to the homes and cities of some of your favorite musicians, culminating in a new music video with positive messages and lessons.
- Corpse Talk: A lethally entertaining, animated, comedy-led chat show, hosted by history-loving Adam, who is very much alive, although his famous guests are not! Based around the format of a late-night talk show, Adam will dig the dirt on some of the most famous, infamous and incredible figures in history, unearthing the unknown and surprising stories from these amazing characters. The diverse lineup of guests include Dr. James Barry, Amelia Earhart, Ching Shih, Cleopatra, Frida Kahlo and many more. This school-age series is produced by Tiger Aspect.