Television

Nick US introduces interactivitity for preschoolers

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MUMBAI: American Pre-schoolers will “just press play.” Noggin, the commercial-free, educational preschool network from US kids firm Nickelodeon, is introducing a new form of interactive viewing for preschoolers, on its new, original, live-action series, The Upside Down Show.

Starring comedy duo, The Umbilical Brothers (David Collins and Shane Dundas), the 13-episode half-hour preschool series developed by Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit educational organisation behind Sesame Street and Dragon Tales, will debut on Noggin on 16 October.

Set in a fantastical living room with more doors than walls, The Upside Down Show stars David and Shane, two brothers who live with their fun-loving sidekick Puppet, their invisible pet fly Fido, and the Shmuzzies, adorable fluff balls who speak “Shmuzzish” and love to rhyme. Each episode begins as the brothers “hand” an imaginary remote control to the viewers at home so they can “control” the duo’s physical motion by fast forwarding, rewinding or pausing their movement.

Breaking 'the fourth wall' of the television set, the brothers encourage their audience to participate in their antics and accompany them on their excursions. Every week, the duo embarks on a journey to explore new infinite worlds like the Very Hairy Room, Wind Room or Puppy Room, and everyday destinations like the beach, the airport or the movies. But Shane and David need help from their friends and viewers at home, as they don’t know where their destination is or how to get there!

They take detours through magical doors in their apartment which allow the brothers -- and the preschoolers playing along -- to investigate the world around them.

Nick says that The Upside Down Show provides a fresh new way for preschoolers to interact by learning critical thinking skills, rich vocabulary and relational concepts and life skills through pretend play. The series elevates the concept of imaginative play to a new platform in which children build valuable reasoning skills, develop creative problem solving abilities and enhance their understanding of and joy in the world around them.

The remote control featured on the series becomes a fun tool to help children learn unique vocabulary and relational concepts, as well as to play along with these completely original, imaginary stories.

The following preschool platforms will also kick off the launch of The Upside Down Show:

Noggin.com is also streaming a ‘sneak peek’ clip from the premiere episode.

Nickelodeon Preschool Television executive creative director Brown Johnson says, “David and Shane may be the two funniest men on the planet. They are silly, spontaneous, ridiculous, amazing and on the perfect wavelength for preschoolers.

“The Brothers make ordinary things extraordinary -- from taking a trip to the art museum or the beach to visiting wacky places like the sticky room, the no-room room, or the sandwich room, where they achieve ‘total sandwich.’ They make me laugh every time!”

Sesame Workshop executive VP, creative director Liz Nealon says, “We’re very excited about the debut of The Upside Down Show, which is very different than other preschool shows. Pairing the irresistible antics of the Umbilical Brothers with the Workshop’s understanding that young children learn best through imaginative play has created a special kind of alchemy.

"We've worked hard to make sure that this offbeat and funny show also serves up serious school readiness – teaching and reinforcing cognitive thinking and language skills, and fostering a sense of mastery and self-confidence, all while keeping kids laughing and engaged.”

In the first episode Art Museum Shane creates an artistic masterpiece to hang on the refrigerator, until he and David discover they don’t actually have a refrigerator! At the suggestion of their neighbor Mrs. Foil and with help from Puppet and their pet fly Fido, The Brothers look for an art museum to hang the piece of art. Along the way, Shane and David get stuck in the Sticky Room, lost in the Fog Room, and meet a young talented finger painter in the Museum of Finger Painting. The Brothers introduce “Pause,” “Rewind,” “Fast Forward” and “Instant Replay” buttons on the imaginary remote, and the viewers at home press the “Humongous” and “Minute” buttons to help Shane and David reach their final destination.

In the second episode Farm Shane and David have a band called The Talking Airheads, which features Shane on guitar; David on drums and a cowbell; Fido the fly on trumpet; and The Shmuzzies on the Marimba. But the band faces a setback when David’s cowbell -- which happens to be attached to an imaginary cow named Clarabelle – disappears! On their journey to find the cow, The Brothers spend time in the Great Big Bell Room, fish for the cowbell in the Boat Out At Sea Room and go for a ride in the Bicycle Room. Viewers help Shane and David along by pressing the “Seesaw” and “Steady’ buttons on the remote control.

Noggins's site will feature a variety of content to complement the premiere of The Upside Down Show, including an online game where preschoolers can personalize an imaginary play experience with Shane and David by creating their own interactive video. The site will also feature downloadable clips from the series and several activities including The Upside Down Show printables, crafts, E-cards and more. Nick Jr.’s award-winning website (www.nickjr.com) will also launch The Upside Down Show interactive game and activities, in addition to featuring a dedicated playlist of clips from series on Nick Jr. Video.

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