One of my favorite childhood toys is coming back to television after a successful relaunch last year. Wicked Cool Toys and their partner Alchemy II, Inc. have teamed up with The Jim Henson Company to develop an animated fantasy adventure series for kids ages 3-7 based on Teddy Ruxpin.
The crew bringing Teddy Ruxpin to life includes John Tartaglia (Splash and Bubbles, Johnny and the Sprites) as showrunner; producer Russell Hicks, the Original Head Illustrator for Alchemy II during Teddy Ruxpin’s initial launch; global master toy partner Wicked Cool Toys; and the team at The Jim Henson Company led by executive producers Lisa Henson and Halle Stanford.
“We are absolutely thrilled at this brilliant collaboration for an animated series with our partner Alchemy II and The Jim Henson Company. The timing is perfect and imperative in all of our efforts to furthering the extension of this monumental brand,” says Michael Rinzler and Jeremy Padawer, Co-Presidents and Partners, Wicked Cool Toys.
World-renowned Jim Henson’s Creature Shop will bring the series to life with its Emmy Award-winning Henson Digital Puppetry Studio (Sid the Science Kid, Word Party), which allows performers to puppeteer animated characters in real time allowing for more organic and natural movement.
“Teddy Ruxpin started out 35 years ago as a puppet created by Ken Forsse. He is returning to his roots with this dynamic form of puppetry and I am so excited to start this creative adventure with The Jim Henson Company,” said Jan Forsse, President of Alchemy II. Mary Becker, Vice President of Alchemy II, adds, “Fortune continues to smile upon us. Wicked Cool Toys has been hugely successful with Teddy Ruxpin and now we are in Henson’s gifted hands. I foresee nothing short of greatness.”
As a huge fan of Teddy Ruxpin, the folks at Wicked Cool Toys and the creative output of The Jim Henson Company, I’m very excited to see this news today. I am, however, still extremely disappointed in The Jim Henson Company for continuing to take advantage of unpaid writers and bloggers in the family space via their “Jim Henson Family Hub” (The Hubub), which I first reported on during the announcement of the IAmElemental series last fall. A “Brand Ambassadorship” is a mutual privilege that should be a paid position, and my biggest point of contention with The Jim Henson Company was that they were essentially burying a consulting agreement within a contract for unpaid work. There’s a right way and a wrong way to do things, and The Jim Henson Company’s approach to Ambassadors is the wrong way. For some words on how to do things right, check out this feature that I penned for the 2018 Toy Fair issue of The Toy Book.
P.S. – Grubby is coming back! Here’s a couple of new plush toys that were shown as part of the Teddy Ruxpin line extension that made its debut at the 115th North American International Toy Fair this year…
Pictured Top: The 1980s World of Teddy Ruxpin.