Stone Newman, the president of global consumer products, worldwide content sales and marketing at Genius Brands International, talks to TV Kids about the new animated preschool series Rainbow Rangers and how it fills a need in programming for young girls.
Last year, Genius Brands International offered up a tease of Rainbow Rangers, and since then, the mission-based action-adventure series for preschool girls has taken flight. The show comes from Rob Minkoff (The Lion King); Shane Morris, co-writer of Frozen; Ruben Aquino, designer for The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast; and Emmy-nominated writer Elise Allen (Dinosaur Train, The Lion Guard, Barbie specials), who is serving as head writer and co-creator. It follows the adventures of seven magical girls from Kaleidoscopia, a fantastical land at the other end of the rainbow. The Rangers are protectors and defenders of the people, animals, resources and natural beauty of Earth, and whenever there’s trouble, they ride a rainbow across the sky to save the day. Each girl represents a different color of the rainbow and boasts her own unique personality and power. Genius Brands’ chairman and CEO, Andy Heyward, serves as executive producer on the series, which seeks to teach viewers the importance of working together.
“We are proudly unveiling Rainbow Rangers,” says Stone Newman, the president of global consumer products, worldwide content sales and marketing at Genius Brands International. He explains that the company’s strategy when creating new IP is to examine key play patterns and segments it can pursue. Newman says Genius Brands looks at “what are the right consumer demographics, and what does Disney have or not have; and not only what don’t they have, but what are they not actively pursuing or pushing? That space is where we try to live. We focus on original IPs that are areas of consumer interest that Disney doesn’t play in.”
The concept for Rainbow Rangers came out of this strategy. Newman explains: “Despite Disney having so much for preschool girls, the properties are all about the princess phenomenon and the princess fantasy, but then there are also shows about real-life aspiration with Doc McStuffins and Sheriff Callie’s Wild West. So, what we saw in the marketplace consistently was how much PAW Patrol was over-indexing with girls, how much The Octonauts was over-indexing with girls. We addressed that by saying, There’s a demand in the marketplace for a non-princess, non-traditional role-play series, and that’s what Rainbow Rangers is. It is a mission-based action-adventure series for little girls. They are first responders, they are showing girls female empowerment and [how to] take charge and work as a team, and it’s something very different from what is out there.”
He adds, “That’s why, from broadcasters like Nickelodeon and toy companies like Mattel, and apparel companies like Bentex and everyone else in the market that we’ve shared it with, it’s been received so extremely well.”
Indeed, Nickelodeon has licensed exclusive broadcast rights for season one of the CGI-animated series in the U.S. and Caribbean Basin. It is expected to air on Nickelodeon’s preschool channel, Nick Jr., next year.
According to Newman, Genius Brands has also built “a comprehensive U.S. licensing program already,” with Mattel’s Fisher-Price as global master toy partner for the brand. Additionally, The Bentex Group is on board for Rainbow Rangers apparel, while Jay Franco is working on bedding and home décor. H.E.R. Accessories will be creating new branded accessories.
Newman adds: “By the time we get to BLE, I anticipate that we’ll have upwards of 20 licensees for the U.S., and with the level of interest we’re now seeing from the European broadcast marketplace, we’ve accelerated our plans and are looking to launch a licensing program for Rainbow Rangers in Europe coinciding with the launch in the U.S.”