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PBS KIDS Announces New Animated Series ‘Lyla in the Loop’

The kids' show from Mighty Picnic and Pipeline Studios, premiering early 2024, aims to boost problem-solving skills and showcase benefits of working collaboratively.

During the Television Critics Association Press Tour, PBS KIDS announced the production of Lyla in the Loop, an animated series for kids ages 4-8 from Mighty Picnic and Pipeline Studios, set to premiere early 2024. The show stars Lyla, a dynamic 7-year-old Black girl, her close-knit family, fantastical blue sidekick Stu, and a host of relatable and quirky characters living in her community, who together spotlight creative problem-solving and critical thinking skills while working collaboratively with others.     

The series centers on Lyla’s family and diverse community. In addition to Lyla, the show features her mom, dad, 5-year-old brother Luke, 12-year-old twin sisters Liana and Louisa, and best friend Everett Phan, who all live in an apartment building and neighborhood bustling with activity. Stu, a fuzzy blue creature with a big smile helps Lyla tackle all kinds of challenges – like building the best-ever train set for her brother Luke, creating an extra-special sandwich for her family’s restaurant, Loops Lunch, and searching for a missing package sent by an Auntie in Jamaica. In every adventure, Lyla and Stu introduce and explore foundational computational thinking concepts, leading to some comedic disasters and creative solutions, all while helping others in their community. The series will support a wide range of learners, modeling flexible approaches to finding and designing solutions, and creative self-expression.

Lyla in the Loop received its financing from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and U.S. Department of Education, as part of the Ready to Learn Initiative, a federal program that supports the development of innovative educational television and digital media targeted to preschool and early elementary school children and their families.  Digital content for kids, families, and teachers will launch along with the series and reinforce the show’s core messages, support play and experimentation with central computational thinking skills, and encourage creative expression.

Series advisors for Lyla in the Loop include Dr. Amon Millner, Assistant Professor of Computing and Innovation at the Olin College of Engineering, director of the Extending Access to STEM Empowerment (EASE) Lab, as series Curriculum Director; Nermeen Dashoush, PhD and Clinical Assistant Professor, Early Childhood Education, Boston University, as Lead Advisor; Yenda Prado, PhD, Education Researcher at University of California, Irvine, as Universal Design for Learning (UDL) advisor; V. Scott Solberg, Professor, Department of Counseling and Applied Human Development, Boston University, as Career Pathways and World of Work Advisor; and Cosette Strong, Strong Consulting Group, as DEIA Advisor.

Emmy-winning producer Dave Peth (Odd SquadPeg + CatScribbles and InkDesign Squad), founder of media production and consulting company Mighty Picnic, created Lyla in the Loop. Pipeline Studios, the Emmy-winning children’s content studio (Elinor Wonders Why, Alma’s WayBubble Guppies) is animating the series.

Lyla in the Loop focuses on the important skills of creative thinking and problem solving through a thoughtful and adventurous approach that meets children in a funny and relatable way,” said Sara DeWitt, Senior Vice President and General Manager, PBS KIDS. “We’re so excited to be partnering with Mighty Picnic and Pipeline Studios to bring this inventive new series to families across the country.”

Series Executive Producer and Head Writer Fracaswell Hyman stated, “In a world where representation matters, Lyla in the Loop features a Black girl who feels there is no problem too big or too small to solve. Lyla leans in when problems occur, or obstacles appear. She is curious, imaginative and although she sometimes dives in headfirst without looking, her tenacity and creativity when it comes to problem-solving makes it clear that she will eventually resurface triumphant. Lyla’s loving family, friends and fantastical companion, Stu, create a warm environment that will attract viewers and invite them to emulate Lyla when challenges come their way.”

“Lyla is a character I would’ve loved to see on television when I was 7,” said series Story Editor Monique D. Hall. “She’s a little Black girl who isn’t afraid to be her full, smart, and silly self. She and Stu get into all kinds of fun messes, but they always manage to find clever ways out of them–even if it takes a few tries. You’ll definitely want to be in the loop for whatever adventure Lyla, Stu, and the rest of the Loops Crew get into next!”

Source: PBS KIDS

Whitney Whitener's picture

Whitney is a freelance writer focusing on VFX-driven fantasy film & TV as well as preschool animation.