At the Television Critics Association Press Tour, PBS KIDS announced the production of Lyla in the Loop, a funny and engaging animated series for kids ages 4-8 from Mighty Picnic and Pipeline Studios. The show stars Lyla, a dynamic 7-year-old Black girl, her close-knit family, fantastical blue sidekick Stu, and a host of relatable and quirky characters living in her community, who together spotlight creative problem-solving and critical thinking skills while working collaboratively with others.
“Lyla in the Loop focuses on the important skills of creative thinking and problem solving through a thoughtful and adventurous approach that meets children in a funny and relatable way,” said Sara DeWitt, Senior Vice President and General Manager, PBS KIDS. “We’re so excited to be partnering with Mighty Picnic and Pipeline Studios to bring this inventive new series to families across the country.”
Lyla in the Loop is created by Emmy-winning producer Dave Peth (Odd Squad, Peg + Cat, Scribbles and Ink, Design Squad), founder of media production and consulting company Mighty Picnic. Pipeline Studios, the Emmy-winning children’s content studio (Elinor Wonders Why, Alma’s Way, Bubble Guppies) is animating the series.
“The message of Lyla in the Loop is that everyone has what it takes to be a creative problem-solver,” says Series Creator and Showrunner Dave Peth. “If you keep asking questions, trying new things, and working together, you’ll find more solutions than you could have imagined – and have a lot of fun along the way.”
Series Executive Producer and Head Writer Fracaswell Hyman adds: “In a world where representation matters, Lyla in the Loop features a Black girl who feels there is no problem too big or too small to solve. Lyla leans in when problems occur or obstacles appear. She is curious, imaginative and although she sometimes dives in head first without looking, her tenacity and creativity when it comes to problem-solving makes it clear that she will eventually resurface triumphant. Lyla’s loving family, friends and fantastical companion, Stu, create a warm environment that will attract viewers and invite them to emulate Lyla when challenges come their way.”
Lyla in the Loop centers on Lyla’s family and diverse community. In addition to Lyla, the show features her mom, dad, 5-year-old brother Luke, 12-year-old twin sisters Liana and Louisa, and best friend Everett Phan, who all live in an apartment building and neighborhood bustling with activity. Stu, a fuzzy blue creature with a big smile helps Lyla tackle all kinds of challenges – like building the best-ever train set for her brother Luke, creating an extra-special sandwich for her family’s restaurant, Loops Lunch, and searching for a missing package sent by an Auntie in Jamaica (with delicious spice buns and other traditional treats inside!). In every adventure, Lyla and Stu introduce and explore foundational computational thinking concepts, leading to some comedic disasters and creative solutions, all while helping others in their community. The series will support a wide range of learners, modeling flexible approaches to finding and designing solutions, and creative self-expression.
“Lyla is a character I would’ve loved to see on television when I was 7,” says series Story Editor Monique D. Hall. “She’s a little Black girl who isn’t afraid to be her full, smart, and silly self. She and Stu get into all kinds of fun messes, but they always manage to find clever ways out of them–even if it takes a few tries. You’ll definitely want to be in the loop for whatever adventure Lyla, Stu, and the rest of the Loops Crew get into next!”
Funding for Lyla in the Loop was provided by a grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and a grant from the U.S. Department of Education as part of the Ready to Learn Initiative, a federal program that supports the development of innovative educational television and digital media targeted to preschool and early elementary school children and their families.
“This animated series introduces our youngest learners to creative problem solving and uses humor to show how these skills apply to everyday life, laying the groundwork for more structured learning experiences at school,” said Debra Tica Sanchez, Senior Vice President, Educational Media and Learning Experiences, Corporation for Public Broadcasting. “CPB is proud to support this series as part of the Ready To Learn Initiative, which aims to ensure that every child develops the basic skills needed to succeed in school.”
“Featuring diverse and lovable characters who are inspired by creativity and the critical thinking skills needed to find solutions, Lyla in the Loop will bring truly charming stories that will keep young minds engaged and entertained,” said Luis Lopez, CEO of Pipeline Studios. “Our world-class artists and technical talent are excited to work with such incredible partners at Mighty Picnic, PBS KIDS, and CPB, to bring Lyla to life.”
Digital content for kids, families, and teachers will launch along with the series and reinforce the show’s core messages, support play and experimentation with central computational thinking skills, and encourage creative expression.
Series advisors for Lyla in the Loop include Dr. Amon Miller, Associate Professor of Computing and Innovation at the Olin College of Engineering directing the Extending Access to STEM Empowerment (EASE) Lab, series Curriculum Director; Nermeen Dashoush, PhD and Clinical Assistant Professor, Early Childhood Education, Boston University, Lead Advisor; Yenda Prado, PhD, Education Researcher at University of California, Irvine, Universal Design for Learning (UDL) advisor; V. Scott Solberg, Professor, Department of Counseling and Applied Human Development, Boston University, Career Pathways and World of Work Advisor; Cosette Strong, Strong Consulting Group, DEIA Advisor.