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PBS Kids Sets February 5 ‘Lyla in the Loop’ Debut

Coming next month, the 2D animated kids' series, produced by Mighty Picnic and Pipeline Studios, centers on the dynamic and curious 7-year-old Lyla, who, along with family and friends, solves a range of everyday problems using creative and strategic problem-solving skills and critical thinking. 

PBS Kids has announced the February 5 debut of Lyla in the Loop, a new 2D animated series for kids ages 4-8. Produced by Mighty Picnic and Pipeline Studios, the show follows Lyla, a dynamic and curious 7-year-old girl, who lives in a big city with her close-knit family, fantastical blue sidekick Stu, and a host of relatable and quirky characters in her community who use creative and strategic problem-solving and critical thinking skills to address a range of everyday problems together. The new series will be presented in both English and Spanish.

“Lyla is curious and resourceful, and when it comes to figuring out solutions to everyday problems, she doesn’t give up, even when it takes several tries to get it right,” said Sara DeWitt, senior vice president and general manager, PBS Kids. “We know audiences will quickly be drawn to Lyla’s determination and can-do attitude, and we’re excited to introduce this warm, funny, and smart series to our viewers.”

The show centers on Lyla and her family, including mom Lydia and dad Louis, who run Loops Lunch diner; older twin sisters Liana and Louisa; younger brother Luke; and sidekick Stu, who always does exactly, literally, what is asked. With her family and best friend Everett Phan, Lyla tackles all sorts of challenges, from building homemade carnival games using repurposed materials, riding along and lending a hand on the neighborhood trash and recycling route, to making a puppet show that recreates the Jamaican folktale, “Anansi and the Goat.” Lyla even helps her sister navigate the ethics of creating an art project with the help of Stu, showcasing an age-appropriate example of current questions surrounding the use of real-world AI tools.

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 supports a wide range of learners, modeling flexible approaches to finding solutions and creative self-expression.

“Kids are natural creative problem-solvers, experimenting and investigating the world around them with joyful curiosity,” said series creator, showrunner, and Emmy-winning producer Dave Peth. “Lyla in the Loop celebrates and encourages kids and the grownups in their lives to recognize those innate abilities and see them as a powerful tool to help others, express themselves, and solve all kinds of problems in everyday life.”

The series setting is inspired by Peth’s home base, Philadelphia, with the theme song featuring vocals by students from the public School District of Philadelphia. The song is composed and performed by Grammy-nominated musician Divinity Roxx.

“Finding stories and issues our audiences can relate to is paramount to creating the relatable world of Lyla Loops,” added executive producer and head writer Fracaswell Hyman. “When viewers can connect to and identify with characters, they’re more likely to absorb and retain the curriculum. Working with a diverse group of writers who share authentic stories and interrelationships that ring true is where we find inspiration, humor, and heartfelt moments that may spark new ways of looking at ourselves and our friends.”

In the works are interactive episodes that incorporate AI-assisted conversation with the main character, Lyla. In these episodes Lyla will ask viewer questions, use responsive AI technology to understand what is asked, and respond accordingly. The episodes will undergo efficacy research to assess children’s learning and engagement and will be released to audiences later. In the meantime, digital content for kids, families, and teachers will launch in tandem with the series to reinforce its core messages, support play and experimentation with computational thinking skills, and encourage creative expression.

Peth (Odd Squad, Peg + Cat, Scribbles and Ink, Design Squad) is the series’ creator, executive producer, and founder of media production and consulting company Mighty Picnic.  The animation is produced by Emmy-winning children’s content studio Pipeline Studios (Elinor Wonders Why, Alma’s Way, Bubble Guppies). Hyman is the series executive producer and head writer, with Monique D. Hall serving as story editor, Huy Tran as director, Laurie Rabin as supervising producer, Trina Sanyal as associate producer, Joon Chung as script coordinator, and Nneka Bolden as digital producer.

The series is voiced by Liyou Abere as Lyla Loops; Izzy Woodbury as Stu; Isaac Ng as Lyla’s best friend Everett Phan; alongside Eden Cupid; Elijah Lindo; Joseph Motiki; Shechinah Mpumlwana; and Morrissa Nicole.

Funding was provided by a grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and a grant from the U.S. Department of Education as part of the “Ready to Learn Initiative.”

Source: PBS Kids

Debbie Diamond Sarto's picture

Debbie Diamond Sarto is news editor at Animation World Network.