HANDY MANNY, Disney Channel's acclaimed multi-cultural series for preschoolers, will introduce a new Spanish-speaking character, a curious young flashlight named Flicker, who's now learning to speak English.
Country singer, songwriter, actress and voiceover artist Grey DeLisle is the voice of the new character, which will debut on the series in spring 2009.
"I think our cast is complete," said Nancy Kanter, SVP of Playhouse Disney Worldwide. "We've really got the creme de la creme of voice talent in Hollywood working on this show." The announcement was made Tuesday evening at a press event held to celebrate the voice cast's last day of work on the show's second season.
HANDY MANNY airs weekdays at 9 a.m. ET/PT and weekends at 10 a.m. ET/PT during Disney Channel's Playhouse Disney programming block for preschoolers.
Wilmer Valderrama stars as the voice of handyman Manny Garcia, a helpful, determined young man who, with the assistance of his eclectic set of talking tools, is Sheet Rock Hills' expert when it comes to repairing all that's not working, even friendships among neighbors. The curriculum of HANDY MANNY is designed to infuse young viewers with an enthusiasm to take on life's challenges while teaching them basic Spanish words and phrases and exposing them to aspects of Latin culture.
The youngest of Manny's tools, Flicker is learning how to speak English by listening and repeating what the other tools say. While he is always quick to greet everyone with "Hola," he doesn't always understand his English-speaking friends. With their encouragement and his determination, he becomes a valued member of the toolbox family by shining his light where they can't see.
A veteran voiceover artist, DeLisle's credits include RUGRATS, THE REPLACEMENTS, THE NEW ADVENTURES OF SCOOBY DOO, CLIFFORD THE BIG RED DOG and THE FAIRLY ODD PARENTS.
The voice cast also includes Tom Kenny (SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS, FOSTER'S HOME FOR IMAGINARY FRIENDS), Carlos Alazraqui (THE FAIRLY ODD PARENTS, RENO 911!), Dee Bradley Baker (BEN 10: ALIEN FORCE, AMERICAN DAD), Nika Futterman (MY GYM PARTNER'S A MONKEY, AVATAR: THE LAST AIRBENDER), Fred Stoller (EVERYBODY LOVES RAYMOND, NED'S DECLASSIFIED SCHOOL SURVIVAL GUIDE), Nancy Truman (HALLOWEEN) and Kath Soucie (THE SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN, MY FRIENDS TIGGER AND POOH).
When asked Tuesday exactly how "handy" he was, veteran voice actor Kenny said, "In two words, path-etic. I'm the worst. I'm third generation unhandy. My grandfather couldn't fix anything, my father can't fix anything and I can't fix anything." Kenny plays both Pat the hammer and candy store owner and also-unhandy Mr. Lopart. "There's an inner sadness to Mr. Lopart. He's very close to his mother and he can't fix anything, which I can totally identify with. Handy Manny can fix anything; he's Mr. Look At The Problem And Fix It Instantly. I know I'm Mr. Call A Guy. If there's a problem, I call a guy. If I need a lightbulb changed, I might decide to tackle it myself but I'll have to work out first."
Equally ironically unhandy is Stoller, who plays Rusty the neurotic monkey wrench. "My father can [fix things] and didn't teach my anything. He would build train sets and was like the mad scientist in the garage with the trains going through tunnels. I didn't inherit anything. People say, 'It's easy, you can do it,' like tech support people, but I can't. This show has helped me. I know, a hammer, you hit it. But if anything goes wrong, you call a handy man."
Kenny added, "My daughter loves [the show], she has a good time. And the weird thing is, I think she's actually picking up some Spanish phrases."
--By AWN News Editor Annemarie Moody