(Burbank, CA ) – HBO Max and Cartoon Network announced three new projects today with New York Times best-selling children’s book author, illustrator, and playwright Mo Willems: greenlights for a hilarious animated series “Unlimited Squirrels!”; a CGI animated rock special “Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed: The Rock Special”; and a pilot order for a live-action immersive series, “Cat the Cat’s Show the Show Show with YOU the YOU!” These projects are designed for unlimited fun and laughter, while encouraging kids (and former kids) to feel comfortable in their own skin. Joining the most recent live-action special, “Mo Willems and The Storytime All-Stars Present: Don’t Let the Pigeon Do Storytime!,” and a collection of Weston Woods Studios animated films adapted from his award-winning books, “Mo Willems Storytime Shorts!,” the new orders, which will be executive produced by Greg Silverman’s Stampede Ventures, will expand an innovative content slate that is part of the streamer’s multi-year deal with Mo Willems.
“Mo’s creative vision and profound legacy is a remarkable force that has the power to shape the future of kids and family programming,” said Tom Ascheim, President of Global Kids, Young Adults and Classics at Warner Bros. Entertainment. “This collaboration is integral to reaching children and adults simultaneously in different and unique ways that are also incredibly fun for everyone.”
“Thanks to my pals at Stampede Ventures and HBO Max I have been given an exciting opportunity to innovate with spectacular creative teams. It’s a joy collaborating and discovering how to bring these characters to the screen in fun, new ways,” said Mo Willems. “While each of the upcoming projects is different in scope and approach, they all focus on my guiding principle to always think of my audience, but never think for my audience.”
In collaboration with Stampede Ventures as his producing partner, Mo Willems signed on with HBO Max to create live-action Storytime Specials and multiple animated and live-action series based on his wildly popular children’s books, which are adored by kids and adults alike. His beloved characters have garnered three Caldecott Honors, two Theodor Geisel Medals and five Geisel Honors between them. Mo Willems began his career as a writer and animator on “Sesame Street,” where he won six Emmy® Awards for Writing. He is the most produced children’s playwright in America and his art has been exhibited in major museums across the country. Mo Willems is also the education artist in residence at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, where he is developing multi-disciplinary performance projects with the National Symphony Orchestra, Washington National Opera, Dance, Jazz, Comedy and Theatre for Young Audiences. “Mo Willems and The Storytime All-Stars Present: Don’t Let The Pigeon Do Storytime!” and “Mo Willems Storytime Shorts!” are available now on HBO Max.
“Mo is an unparalleled talent and his ability to connect with kids and parents alike has been our great pleasure to support. We are thrilled to deepen our relationship with HBO Max as we help Mo bring to life three exciting worlds brimming with character that will delight audiences of all ages,” said Greg Silverman, Founder/CEO of Stampede Ventures.
About the upcoming projects:
Based on Mo Willems’s New York Times best-selling books for early readers, “Unlimited Squirrels!” centers around Zoomy and an unlimited ensemble of Squirrel Friends who help Zoomy navigate new encounters and learn cool things along the way. Each episode will feature big stories, big facts, squirrely songs, and acorn-y jokes to keep young kids amused and stocked with an unlimited supply of fun, facts, and giggles.
Tim McKeon who is attached as showrunner, will cowrite with Mo Willems. Mo Willems is also executive producer with Stampede Ventures’ Greg Silverman and Jay Judah.
“Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed: The Rock Special”
Based on Mo Willems’ New York Times best-selling book and the sold-out theatrical rock experience, “Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed” is a CGI animated rock music special that wears its heart on its sleeve. Wilbur Mole Rat and all his Fellow Mole Rats in the Tunnel have always been, well...naked. But when Wilbur discovers clothing and a love for style, the Tunnel turns upside down! An animated hour of “underground” music and comedy about being comfortable in your own skin, this adaptation of the popular theatre experience will knock your socks on!
Mo Willems and Mr. Warburton co-wrote the script with original tunes by Mo Willems and composer Deborah Wicks La Puma. Mo Willems will executive produce alongside Stampede Ventures’ Greg Silverman and Jay Judah, with OddBot Animation Studios serving as animation house.
“Cat the Cat’s Show the Show Show with YOU the YOU!”
This live-action, immersive performance series is for the very young and the very, very curious. Based on Mo Willems’ New York Times best-selling “CAT the CAT” book series, this show introduces Cat the Cat and her friends as they create, rehearse and perform with YOU the YOU! A show that is focused on the performers at home, as well as on the screen, “Show the Show” is a chance for YOU to show how special YOU are!
Kristen McGregor is showrunner, and also cowriter with Mo Willems. Mo Willems is executive producing alongside Stampede Ventures’ Greg Silverman and Jay Judah.
About HBO Max
HBO Max is WarnerMedia’s direct-to-consumer offering, which debuted May 27, 2020. With 10,000 hours of curated premium content, HBO Max offers powerhouse programming for everyone in the home, bringing together HBO, a robust slate of new original series, key third-party licensed programs and movies, and fan favorites from WarnerMedia’s rich library including Warner Bros., New Line, DC, CNN, TNT, TBS, truTV, Turner Classic Movies, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, Crunchyroll, Rooster Teeth, Looney Tunes and more. Website: HBOMax.com
About Cartoon Network
Cartoon Network is a division of WarnerMedia and the #1 global animated series network, offering the best in original content for kids and families with such hits as “Ben 10,” “Craig of the Creek,” “DC Super Hero Girls,” “Steven Universe,” “The Amazing World of Gumball,” “Teen Titans Go!,” “Victor and Valentino” and more. Seen in more than 185 countries, over 450 million homes and in 33 languages, Cartoon Network inspires the next generation of creators and innovators by engaging its audience at the intersection of creativity and technology. Its award-winning pro-social initiatives, “Stop Bullying: Speak Up” and CN Buddy Network are acknowledged and often used resources for kids and adults looking for tools that can assist in dealing with the ongoing issue of bullying.
Mo Willems Workshop
Mo Willems Workshop is a media workshop where all Mo Willems’ characters get ready for their close ups! Author, illustrator, playwright Mo Willems is the Excecutive Producer.
About Stampede Ventures
Stampede Ventures is an independent entertainment media company founded by Greg Silverman, the former President of Warner Bros. Pictures. The company’s lead investor and co-chairman is Gideon Yu, former CFO of Facebook and YouTube, and co-owner of the San Francisco 49ers. Additional investors include leaders from Silicon Valley, Asia and the U.S. media space. Stampede Ventures is on the forefront of content creation across the divisions of film, television, international and alternative programming. Their debut feature, “Pink Skies Ahead,” was just acquired by MTV Studios ahead of its world premiere at AFI Fest 2020. Stampede Ventures also recently inked an international First Look deal with CBS Studios.
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Jean Yoo, Cartoon Network