The creator of Arthur creates another world of anthropomorphic animals for TV.
Max has given the go-ahead for a preschool series called Hop from Marc Brown, whose many Arthur books were the source material for the beloved and long-running PBS series, and Arthur series veterans Peter K. Hirsch and Tolon Brown. The serial order comes a year later Arthur concluded a 25-year run on PBS.
HopAimed at preschoolers, it will focus on characters with disabilities, including the title character, a 6-year-old frog with one leg shorter than the other.
“Even before Arthur ended, I was nurturing a new project about a little frog named Hop, for a younger audience,” Brown said in a statement. “As the world of Hop grew in my imagination, I was inspired by the great work my friend Fred Rogers had done. Of Arthur, we occasionally introduced characters with disabilities, but they never meaningfully became part of the ensemble cast. But the characters in it Hop reflect many children who are under-represented in the media. Some of our characters have disabilities, but they never define who they are or what they can achieve. Children are children and each one is unique and full of potential. And kids love to have fun, that’s what Hop it’s all about.”
Epic Story Media (Pocoyo) will produce the series, with animation by Loomi Animation. RespectAbility, a disability advocacy group, will be discussing the show.
Hop is voiced by stage actor David Connolly, the first amputee to perform on Broadway. The show’s characters also include Hop’s older sister Penny (Moneesha “Misha” Bakshi); a jolly owl named Hoot (Makeda Bromfield); a fiercely intelligent squirrel named Filipa (Charlotte Walker) who is neurodivergent; a shy gator named Benny (Jake Shannon); and a wide-eyed young beaver named Alfred (Bromfield). They all live in the community of Fair Village, where they have adventures “to discover they can overcome any obstacle with persistence, creativity and teamwork,” according to the show’s description.
“We are extremely proud of our work and partnering with industry experts to portray characters in an inclusive way,” said Ken Faier, Founder of Epic Story Media. “It is an honor to have developed myself Hop with Marc, Peter and Tolon who know how to engage not only today’s youth, but also parents looking for quality content. We believe Hop will have a long life on the market for many years to come.”
Michael Ouweleen, president of Cartoon Network, Adult Swim and Boomerang added, “Marc is a legend in children’s programming, creating one of television’s most iconic shows that has won almost every honor imaginable. Hop exudes everything that families love Arthurbut with a fresh cast of modern characters that authentically represent the many little eyes that watch TV.