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‘Fairly OddParents: A New Wish’: Unlimited Wishes on a Limited Budget

Co-executive producers Ashleigh Crystal Hairston, Lindsay Katai, Dave Stone, and Daniel Abramovici discuss their all-new series that brings the design aesthetic and bold colors of the iconic 2D original into a 3DCG world that forced them to get really creative and keep close count of every single asset while continuing to deliver all sorts of new wishes that go terribly wrong; debuts today, May 20 on Nickelodeon.

When it came to creating a new Fairly OddParents show, co-executive producers Ashleigh Crystal Hairston, Lindsay Katai, Dave Stone, and Daniel Abramovici knew plenty would have to change. But there was a feature they couldn’t do without. 

“I like the aspect of a wish gone wrong,” says Stone. “Be it a good intention, something kind of mundane or just saying something you might have said without thinking too hard about it, and then this weird result comes out of that, and all goes awry. It’s a core concept of the show and just so fun to work with. We didn't want to lose that random excitement of wondering ‘What’s going to happen?’ because a wish got made.”

The all-new series, Fairly OddParents: A New Wish, extends and expands the world from Nickelodeon’s original 2001 series, The Fairly OddParents, created by Butch Hartman and Bob Boyle, where a 10-year-old boy, Timmy, is put under the care of two fairy godparents, Cosmo and Wanda, who can grant him almost any wish. The wishes, often inspired by Timmy’s incompetent parents or vindictive babysitter, lead to dire consequences.

The new show, which releases on Nickelodeon today, May 20, centers on 10-year-old Hazel Wells, who has just moved to the big city of Dimmadelphia because of her dad’s new job. On top of being in an unfamiliar environment, it’s the first time she’s been without her brother, Antony, who’s just left for college, leaving her lonely and unsure of herself. All that changes when the pink-and-green-haired neighbors next door reveal that they are no ordinary neighbors…they’re fairy godparents Cosmo and Wanda! And they’re coming out of retirement to make all of Hazel’s wishes come true. Lucky girl?

In addition to executive producing and serving as story editor, Hairston voices Hazel, with Daran Norris and Susanne Blakeslee returning as Cosmo and Wanda.

Check out the trailer:

The Fairly OddParents had a cynical sort of comedy approach to it,” notes Hairston of the original. “This series is a lot more heartfelt. It's still wacky and zany. But it's a little more grounded and we see Hazel’s wishes are different. And I'm excited for parents to be able to watch it with their kids. Parents and kids today are a little closer due to external factors like the pandemic and just the state of the world. So, I'm looking forward to parents and kids taking moments to learn together and grow together watching this sweet series.”

The Fairly OddParents ran on Nickelodeon for 10 seasons - with 172 episodes - between 2001-2017. The series also spawned three live-action films starring Drake Bell as a 23-year-old Timmy Turner. In 2022, Paramount+ released a live-action sequel series Fairly OddParents: Fairly Odder, which saw Timmy gift Cosmo and Wanda to his cousin Viv (Audrey Grace Marshall) before he left for college.

Fairly OddParents: A New Wish will be the sixth adaptation in the franchise, but the only animated adaptation outside the original series. And it’s the first to be fully 3DCG. 

“I really wanted to make sure that we kept the design aesthetic the same, even though it was converted to 3D,” says Abramovici, who also served as CG supervisor on the new series. “I wanted to make sure that we were staying true to the original vision with the bold colors, camera angles, making sure characters moved like they were in 2D, and all that. The biggest challenge was keeping everything in budget. We had to keep count of every prop that was created.”

Katai, also a story editor with Hairston, adds, “It’s true. The scope of the wishes change based on the CG budget. We would joke a lot about the fact that we're making a show about a kid with unlimited wishes but on a very limited budget.”

While the 2D series, in Stone’s words, used a “kitchen sink approach,” where they could throw any amount of wild and wacky ideas at the show, Fairly OddParents in 3D meant the team had to be selective and, as Stone says, “commit to our wishes.” And it was a tradeoff. CG animation could give the show’s magic more tangibility, more life, and more eye-popping magnitude. But there was a cap on which aspects of Hazel’s world got that kind of attention. 

“We were always looking at what things we could save money on and reuse so we could give more to the wishes,” says Hairston. “There’s a comb that gets used every chance we got.”

Katai agrees, “Yeah, we can’t have water or crowds but, man, does that comb get a lot of screen time.”

Hairston adds, “Well, we do have water, but it’s way off where you can’t touch it or interact with it.”

Another budget-friendly trick the team used was modeling and rigging each character’s hair as if it was a character itself.

“We didn’t use the typical hair simulation,” explains Abramovici. “It was the cheaper way of doing it. But it looked unique. It didn’t look cheap. And we were able to develop some unique looks within that limitation.”

The restraints imposed by using 3DCG animation actually loosened the chains on the team’s creativity, forcing everyone to come up with imaginative solutions to getting around roadblocks. It’s very in line with the essence of a series that’s all about wishes and problem solving the results once those wishes are granted. 

“We took advantage of some of the stuff that CG gives you, like really cool lighting and depth of field, but we also integrated 2D effects,” shares Stone. “It’s a cool mishmash and CG has come to a place now where you can do that kind of stuff. You can tackle shows and characters with these unique looks, which was a lot harder to do a few years ago.”

Fairly OddParents: A New Wish is not the first time Nickelodeon has attempted to transform one-of-a-kind caricatured 2D creations into 3D. Their series Rugrats got a 21st Century facelift back in 2021. 

“I was coming from working on Infinity Train, a 2D show about a train where each car has its own universes,” notes Katai. “Being limited like this was very challenging for me, but Daniel was very kind and patient in instructing our writers' room on what we could and could not do.”

Hairston – who had written on Wolfboy and the Everything Factory, Craig of the Creek, Craig Before the Creek and Jessica’s Big Little World – also had to adjust from a fantastical 2D mindset to something much more strategic. 

“This is my first 3D show and, honestly, I viewed it as being in a grocery store,” says Hariston. “We had a running list of assets that we could go to the store, grab, then pull out for an episode. It was definitely a learning curve. But I do feel like the magic is bigger here. Patrick Morgan, our art director, just kills it with painting. Sometimes I'd be able to go in and watch him paint in his studio and that would inspire me for story ideas.”

Katai concurs, noting, “The whole art crew created such a beautiful and lush visual language for the show that brings forward the original feel while still being its own thing altogether. It’s gorgeous. You'd never know that we had a limited budget.”

Along with keeping the nostalgic aesthetic of the 2001 series, original characters – other than Cosmo and Wanda – make an appearance, along with some more musical numbers that, like Icky Vicky, will be forever stuck in a viewer’s brain. 

“One joke from the original series that I always would reference when we were working on the new show was when Timmy is trapped in an alley and it seems like he's about to die, Cosmo says, ‘Well, you had a good life,’ and Timmy goes, ‘I'm only 10,’ and Cosmo replies, ‘I said it was good, not long,’” shares Katai. “There’s also one where Timmy’s crush ripped up a picture of her best friend and it cuts to the best friend feeling the pain from it. I was really excited to work in that tone of absurdist wit and humor.” 

Viewers of Fairly OddParents: A New Wish will be a mix of kids who have seen the original, those who have not, and those whose parents grew up with Timmy and who are now introducing their kids to Hazel. No matter where they’re coming from, the team believes those who watch the new series will be entertained by the timeless story of a kid navigating their coming-of-age with two loyal but unpredictable fairy godparents. 

“This is probably one of the easiest properties to create multiple iterations of, just by changing the kid and changing how it all goes wrong,” says Katai. “We have a completely new field of stories to tell, and I could see this show going on forever.”

Victoria Davis's picture

Victoria Davis is a full-time, freelance journalist and part-time Otaku with an affinity for all things anime. She's reported on numerous stories from activist news to entertainment. Find more about her work at