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Mel Brooks Flocks to New PBS Animated Series Piggley Winks

Producer/writer Mel Brooks will provide the voice of Wiley the Sheep, who joins a flock of Irish barnyard characters in a new 3D animated series, JAKERS! THE ADVENTURES OF PIGGLEY WINKS. Produced by Mike Young Productions for Entara, it will be part of the PBS KIDS weekend line-up beginning Sunday, September 7, 2003. PBS affiliate WLIW in New York serves as the presenting station.

The series of 26 half-hour episodes for kids 4-7 follows the adventures of Piggley Winks, a spunky eight-year-old pig, and his friends Dannan the Duck and Ferny the Bull on Raloo Farm in Ireland. While the intrepid trio are enjoying their escapades (Jakers! is their oft-used Irish expression of delight and amazement), American transplant Wiley offers wild and woolly advice to his all-too-sheepish flock. Each story opens and closes with Piggley Winks as a granddad, telling these tales of childhood shenanigans and life lessons to his three very contemporary, rambunctious city-dwelling grandpigs.

Following each of Grandpa Piggleys animated tales, soccer great Cobi Jones stars in a series of live-action educational shorts called "Live and Learn."

With Mike Young Productions tradition of educational and engaging childrens programming, we are delighted to introduce JAKERS! with its unique cultural and life lessons for children to our PBS KIDS line-up, says John Wilson, svp of PBS programming.

This is the most fun Ive had in years, says Mel Brooks. I get to play a sheep with a ba-a-ad attitude, and I get to impress my five-year-old granddaughter. What more could a guy want from a part!

Rounding out the cast are some of the industrys most well-know voice actors, including Maile Flanagan as Piggley (MEN IN BLACK, THE SERIES); Russi Taylor (the official voice of Minnie Mouse) as Ferny the Bull and as Mrs. Winks; Tara Strong (Bubbles in POWER PUFF GIRLS) as Dannan the Duck and Molly (Piggleys little sister); Paeder Lambe as Grandpa Piggley; Nika Futterman (Catdog) as twin grandpigs Sean and Seamus; Melissa Disney (Ginger in AS TOLD BY GINGER) as Meg (the twins older sister); Charlie Adler (RUGRATS IN PARIS: THE MOVIE) as Da (Dad) Winks and as schoolteacher Mr. Hornsby; Fernando Escandon (THE PAGEMASTER) as Don Toro (Fernys father); and Pamela Segall Adlon (Bobby in KING OF THE HILL) as Hector (Piggleys teasing schoolmate).

PBS, headquartered in Alexandria, Virginia, is a private, nonprofit media enterprise, owned and operated by America's 350 public television stations, serving nearly 100 million people each week. WLIW New York is the fourth most-watched public television station in the U.S., with an average weekly cumulative audience of 1.9 million households in the New York metropolitan area. As a resource for public television stations, WLIW distributes live daily broadcasts of BBC World News and LOUIS RUKEYSERS WALL STREET.

Based in London, Entara is a relatively new but rapidly growing company, which holds the rights to and manages the JAKERS! franchise worldwide. Its basic principle is to develop evergreen childrens programming, enhanced through innovative educational materials online and compelling interactive initiatives developed and produced by an in-house team. To accompany the series, Entara will also release a range of books, toys and games featuring Piggley and his friends as they translate the values of the series across a variety of platforms.

One of the most prolific independent animation studios in the U.S., Woodland Hills, California-based MYP produces two other PBS Kids series, including Scholastics Emmy-nominated CLIFFORD THE BIG RED DOG and the recently announced Scholastic spin-off, CLIFFORDS PUPPY DAYS. Other recent credits include Cartoon Networks HE-MAN AND THE MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE and Nickelodeons BUTT-UGLY MARTIANS.