Scholastic Media has annnounced that production has begun on new episodes of WordGirl, the hit educational animated series on PBS Kids Go! The 26 episode order will continue to depict the adventures of the fifth-grade superhero WordGirl, who defeats her opponents through a combination of her super strength and awesome vocabulary. Returning cast members include Dannah Phirman as WordGirl, plus Chris Parnell, Tom Kenny, and Jeffrey Tambor, and Kristen Schaal (Flight of the Conchords) will guest star in the new season.
The full press release follows:
SCHOLASTIC MEDIA STARTS PRODUCTION ON 26 NEW EPISODES OF
ITS HIT ANIMATED SERIES WORDGIRL® ON PBS KIDS GO!sm
Emmy Award®-winning literacy series brings back top voice talent including Dannah Phirman, Chris Parnell, Tom Kenny and Jeffrey Tambor
New character to be voiced by Kristen Schaal
New York, NY – June 8, 2009 – Scholastic Media (www.scholastic.com) announced today a new production order from PBS for 26 additional episodes of its hit Emmy Award-winning animated comedy series, WordGirl® (pbskidsgo.org/wordgirl). Produced by Scholastic Media’s animation studio Soup2Nuts (www.soup2nuts.tv), the show airs daily on PBS KIDS GO!sm — the afternoon programming block for early elementary school kids — and is designed to foster a love for language in children. Adding to the 52 episodes already on order, these additional 26 half-hours bring the total number of episodes on order to 78.
New episodes will further chronicle the adventures of Becky Botsford, a mild-mannered fifth grader who, when duty calls, transforms into WordGirl. In each episode WordGirl defeats quirky villains with her powerful strength and her awesome vocabulary.
Returning voice talent for the third season includes Dannah Phirman (“MadTV”) as WordGirl, Chris Parnell (“30 Rock,” “Saturday Night Live”) as the Narrator, Tom Kenny (“SpongeBob Squarepants”) as Dr. Two Brains and TJ, and Jeffrey Tambor (“Arrested Development”) as Mr. Big. New villains will include Victoria Best, (Kristen Schaal of “Flight of the Concords”), a child prodigy whose parents have taught her she’s the best at everything she does, and Captain Tangent, a misguided teenager recently fired from his job at Blackbeard’s Buffet for his tendency to go off on tangents rather than serve people dinner!
“With its humor, robust curriculum, and engaging characters, WordGirl resonates strongly with children and parents alike.” said Deborah Forte, President of Scholastic Media and Executive Vice President of Scholastic Inc, the global publishing, education and media company. “Our crime-fighting definition dynamo has a rapidly expanding fan base, and we are thrilled about PBS KIDS’ GO! ongoing commitment to — and their support of — the show.”
“WordGirl caused quite a ‘hullabaloo’ when it first launched as a TV series and we are excited to continue building on this as we guide children through vocabulary and literacy skill development in a fun and humorous way,” said Linda Simensky , Vice President for Children’s Programming at PBS.
The show has won numerous parenting and industry excellence awards since its debut, including a 2008 Emmy Award for “Best Writing in Animation,” a Television Critics Award for “Outstanding Achievement in Children’s Animation,” a Gracie Award for its portrayal of a strong female character, and an iParenting Media Award. It was nominated for a 2009 Emmy for Best Direction in an Animated Series.
Scholastic recently released books based on the popular show, and its Scholastic Media division announced plans for further expansion of the franchise with educational board games, puzzles and more.
Designed to enrich children’s vocabulary, instill a love of language, and foster better reading comprehension, WordGirl debuted as on-air and online shorts in November 2006 and has been airing five days a week as a full half-hour series since 2008. A popular Web site, pbskidsgo.org/wordgirl, supports the show’s goals with free interactive games, activities for parents and children, and lesson plans for teachers to enhance their students’ vocabulary development and general literacy. Kids, parents and educators also can view full episodes and clips from the show at pbskidsgo.org/video.
ABOUT SCHOLASTIC MEDIA
Scholastic Media, the entertainment and media division of Scholastic, is a leading producer of quality, family-oriented content across multiple platforms, including feature films, television programming, videos, interactive and audio products, and websites, and is a major developer and marketer of children’s brands worldwide.
Scholastic Corporation (NASDAQ: SCHL) is the world’s largest publisher and distributor of children’s books and a leader in educational technology and children’s media. Scholastic creates quality educational and entertainment materials, as well as products for use in school and at home, including books, magazines, technology-based products, teacher materials, television programming, film, videos and toys. The company distributes its products and services through a variety of channels, including proprietary school-based book clubs and book fairs, retail stores, schools, libraries, television networks and the company’s Internet site, www.scholastic.com.
ABOUT PBS KIDS and PBS KIDS GO!
PBS KIDS for preschoolers, and PBS KIDS GO! for early elementary school kids, offer all children the opportunity to explore new ideas and new worlds through television, online and community outreach programs. With positive role models and content designed to nurture a child’s total well-being, PBS’s children’s media and its family and educator resources — including PBS KIDS online (pbskids.org), PBS KIDS GO! online (pbskidsgo.org), PBS Parents (pbsparents.org), PBS Teachers (pbsteachers.org), PBS KIDS Raising Readers and literacy events across the country — leverage the full spectrum of media, technology and community to build knowledge, critical thinking, imagination and curiosity. For empowering children for success in school and in life, only PBS KIDS and PBS KIDS GO! have earned the unanimous endorsement of parents, children, industry leaders and teachers. PBS is a nonprofit media enterprise owned and operated by the nation’s 356 public television stations, which serve more than 115 million people on-air and online each month.