The Jim Henson Company has finalized an agreement with PBS KIDS to debut the all-new CGI-animated series, DINOSAUR TRAIN, in fall 2009. The new series embraces and celebrates the fascination that preschoolers have with both dinosaurs and trains while encouraging basic scientific thinking and skills as the audience learns about natural science, natural history and paleontology. The announcement was made today by Lisa Henson, co-CEO of The Jim Henson Company, and by John Boland, Chief Content Officer, PBS, at the PBS portion of the Television Critics Association January Press Tour.
Created by Craig Bartlett (HEY ARNOLD!), DINOSAUR TRAIN is currently in production for 40 half-hour episodes (80 x 11 minute episodes). The series will join other top-ranked PBS KIDS preschool series including The Jim Henson Company's series SID THE SCIENCE KID, which premiered in fall 2008. Bartlett, Brian Henson, Lisa Henson and Halle Stanford will exec produce.
The Jim Henson Company will oversee all ancillary exploitation of the property, including licensing and merchandising. PBS will handle DVD distribution to consumer and education markets. DINOSAUR TRAIN is co-produced with Singapore animation company BIG Communications, with the participation and assistance of the Singapore Media Development Authority. U.K. production and financial support is being provided by Ingenious Media.
DINOSAUR TRAIN is seen through the eyes of Buddy, a preschool-aged Tyrannosaurus Rex. Buddy and his adoptive family of Pteranodons go for adventures on the Dinosaur Train to meet all kinds of dinosaurs in different eras and learn fascinating new facts about these incredible creatures.
"Based on input from paleontologists, science educators and early childhood education experts, DINOSAUR TRAIN has developed an ambitious and creative curriculum that harnesses children's enthusiasm for and curiosity about dinosaurs, sparking children's interest in life science and natural history," Henson said. "PBS KIDS has been an incredible partner with our current series SID THE SCIENCE KID, and our new project DINOSAUR TRAIN extends our mutual vision of creating quality, educational preschool programming by encouraging even more young viewers to get excited about science and the role it plays in our lives every day."
In addition to the series' on air presence, DINOSAUR TRAIN will also have a robust component at pbskids.org, including games, learning tools and more, as well as parent and teacher resources on PBS Parents (pbsparents.org) and PBS Teachers (pbsteachers.org). Created in partnership with multimedia design studio FableVision, the Web site will extend the curriculum themes of the show and further explore Buddy's world and its inhabitants.