Former PBS Kids and Cartoon Network development executive will lead company’s development of scripted and character-driven stories featuring the language learning company’s original cast of characters.
Veteran children’s television executive Linda Simensky has joined language learning company Duolingo as Head of Animation and Scripted Content. In the newly created position, Simensky will lead the company’s efforts to create scripted and character-driven stories featuring Duolingo’s original cast of characters, from original animation to the writing efforts for Duolingo’s hit Stories product and its childhood literacy app, Duolingo ABC. Simensky will report to VP of Studios + Content, former YouTube executive Timothy Shey.
“There are few people, if any, who know more about animation than Linda, and who have spent their careers thinking about what makes stories funny, and how people learn through them,” noted Shey. “We’re so excited to have Linda’s expertise and talent on board as we pursue our mission to develop the best education in the world and make it universally available.”
“Over the past few years, Duolingo has been busy adding a whole cast of characters and hundreds of stories to their app, and it’s astonishing how many millions of people in countries all over the world are engaging with them every day,” said Simensky. “I’m excited by the storytelling opportunities that are possible as Duolingo creates stories for learners of all ages around the world.”
Projects from Duolingo’s Studios + Content team include their popular Duolingo Stories, original short fiction for learners of all levels featuring Duolingo’s cast of characters; a number of hit podcasts in Spanish, French, and English that have reached #1 in the podcast charts in over 20 countries; handsfree audio lessons in Spanish and French, teaching speaking and listening skills; and original stories in the award-winning Duolingo ABC app, aimed at teaching kids ages 2-8 to read in English, and soon, Spanish.
Simensky joins Duolingo from PBS Kids, where she oversaw the development of a diverse lineup of shows like Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, Wild Kratts, Molly of Denali, and Alma’s Way. Before joining PBS, she was Senior Vice President of Original Animation for Cartoon Network, where she oversaw development and series production of The Powerpuff Girls, and other top shows. She began her career working for nine years at Nickelodeon, where she helped build the animation department and launch the popular series Rugrats, Doug, and The Ren & Stimpy Show.