Fred Rogers Productions named Jada Toys the master toy partner for its new preschool puppet series Donkey Hodie. Licensing Street, Donkey Hodie’s newly appointed licensing agent, helped broker the agreement.
Jada Toys plans to debut its product for the series at retail starting spring 2023. The collection will include figures, plush, playsets, vehicles, dolls, doll accessories, electronic learning aids, and musical toys.
“We are honored to be part of the Fred Rogers legacy and thrilled to base our toys on this charming, new property that introduces children to the wonderful and valuable themes of resilience and optimism through catchy songs, meaningful dialogue, and outstanding puppetry,” said Amy Austin, VP of licensing and marketing at Jada Toys.
A spinoff of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, Donkey Hodie premiered on PBS Kids in May 2021. It follows the adventures of the titular character — the granddaughter of the original Donkey Hodie puppet character created by Fred Rogers — and takes place in the Land of Someplace Else from Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. The social-emotional series is aimed at children ages 3 to 5.
“Donkey Hodie is a standout series, and we’re pleased to partner with Fred Rogers Productions to help grow the brand in creative ways,” said Licensing Street managing director JJ Ahearn. “We’re delighted to be working with Jada Toys to bring Donkey Hodie and her pals to life for preschoolers and look forward to introducing the toys and announcing additional new partners soon.”
Within the first 20 days of its premiere, Donkey Hodie garnered 32.6 million streams (the most of any PBS Kids series launch in the past five years). On-air, it delivered the highest kids 2-8 ratings and reach of any PBS Kids show during its premiere week, reaching 2.7 million TV viewers according to Nielsen ratings.
“We are thrilled to work with Jada Toys and Licensing Street to extend the Donkey Hodie experience far beyond the screen,” said FRP vice president of business and legal affairs Matt Shiels. “Licensing Street’s expertise combined with Jada’s track record of success in the U.S. and international markets present an exciting opportunity for this special brand inspired by Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.”