Mattel Names Margaret H. Georgiadis as CEO
Mattel announced that Margaret “Margo” H. Georgiadis has been named as chief executive officer (CEO), effective February 8. Georgiadis, who will also join Mattel’s board of directors (BoD), most recently served as president, Americas at Google.
She will succeed Christopher A. Sinclair as CEO. Sinclair, who has led the company as chairman and CEO since early 2015, joined Mattel’s BoD in 1996 and has served previously as independent lead director and chair of the executive and audit committees. Going forward, he will serve as executive chairman of the BoD.
Jakks Pacific Launches Cuppatinis
Jakks Pacific has launched Cuppatinis, a line of 3.5-inch dolls that children can transform from dolls into teacups and back again. The line is now available exclusively at Walmart throughout North America.
Characters in the line include Cha Cha Chai, Carmela la Crème, Rose Hippensip, Mocha Lisa, Lola Vander, and Jasmint. In addition to the dolls and accessories, the Cuppatinis Spin Tea Party Playset is also available.
Kids can also watch new Cuppatinis webisodes on the Jakks Pacific YouTube channel as well as engage in four different modes of play with The Cuppatinis Tea Party app. There they can play Tea Party, Dress Up, Games, and Crafts. The app is free to download and available on Android and iOS.
Nickelodeon To Debut New Preschool Series
Nickelodeon will launch a brand-new animated preschool series, Nella the Princess Knight. The series follows Nella, an unconventional 8-year-old who possesses the royal qualities of a princess while also embodying the courage and determination of a brave knight. Whenever a problem arises, Nella embarks on quests to save her kingdom through her ability to transform from a princess into Nella the Princess Knight. The series will premiere on February 6. Following its U.S. launch, Nella the Princess Knight will debut internationally in spring.
Leading up to the series premiere, NickJr.com and the Nick Jr. app will feature exclusive content, which includes a full-length episode and original short-form content. NickJr.com and the Nick Jr. App will also launch a game inspired by the show.
Robert Vargas (head writer, Zack and Quack) serves as an executive producer. The series was created by Christine Ricci (curriculum advisor, Blaze and the Monster Machines, Dora the Explorer).
ASTRA Partners with Hot Diggity Awards
The American Specialty Toy Retailing Association (ASTRA) is collaborating with the Hot Diggity Awards, a national program that posts products for children and families on Cozi, a family organizer app. ASTRA’s Best Toys for Kids award winners will be included on the app.
In addition to providing a new platform for introducing parents to the category, ASTRA’s commitment to healthy, developmentally appropriate play materials will be reflected in toys that earn a Hot Diggity award. Child development and play expert Ahren Hoffman, CTRS, CPE, who serves as ASTRA’s Director of Education & Training, will be part of the judging process for Hot Diggity’s toy and game submissions.
ASTRA members interested in submitting products for Hot Diggity consideration can find information about the process here.
PBS and Stations Launch 24/7 PBS KIDS Channel
PBS launched its PBS KIDS channel yesterday, a free service provided by member stations across the country on TV and via live streaming on digital platforms.
108 PBS licensees, listed here, are expected to launch on the PBS KIDS channel’s TV stations by the end of the year. 75 licensees debuted with the channel’s launch, and additional licensees will roll out in the coming months. The channel will also be available as a live stream on pbskids.org and on the free PBS KIDS Video App for mobile and tablet devices.
Later this year, the live stream will introduce an integrated games feature, enabling children to toggle between a PBS KIDS show and an activity that extends learning – all in one seamless digital experience. The games will align with the learning goals of each TV series.
The PBS KIDS 24/7 channel’s launch schedule includes 21 PBS KIDS series, which includes Arthur, Bob the Builder, Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, Odd Squad, Wild Kratts, and more.
Beginning April 21, the new channel will debut PBS KIDS Family Night, weekly family viewing events featuring movie specials or themed programming every Friday from 7—9 p.m., and repeating on Saturday and Sunday evenings. Family Night will kick off with films such as Odd Squad: The Movie; Splash and Bubbles: One Big Ocean; and Sesame Street: The Cookie Thief, and will include world premiere movie events such as Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood: Tiger Family Trip, Wild Kratts Alaska: Hero’s Journey (w.t.), Ready Jet Go!: Return to Bortron 7, and Arthur and the Haunted Treehouse. A full list is available on PBS PressRoom.
Stations will provide the PBS KIDS 24/7 channel in addition to their current primary PBS channel, which will continue to feature a PBS KIDS day part combined with dramas, documentaries and investigative journalism. The schedule of children’s programming on the primary PBS channel will be different from the 24/7 channel, offering families a variety of options. Viewers can find local station schedule information here.