Q&A: NBCUniversal Global Distribution’s Chloe Van den Berg


The kids and family slate from NBCUniversal Global Distribution features a bevy of brands, including those based on iconic DreamWorks IP. From Dragons to Madagascar, Trolls to Jurassic World, core film franchises have been given new life through animated series that are resonating with kids across the globe. Alongside this known IP, there are fresh, original properties creating legions of fans all their own, Gabby’s Dollhouse among them. Chloe Van den Berg, senior VP, head of kids and family entertainment at NBCUniversal Global Distribution, shares insights about the boundary-pushing animation and storytelling found at the heart of these properties and more.

TV KIDS: How has NBCUniversal’s kids and family programming pushed boundaries?
VAN DEN BERG: DreamWorks is consistently pushing boundaries in animation and storytelling with its breadth of style and constant innovation of its original content and core franchises. The immensely popular Gabby’s Dollhouse is taking the world by storm with its magical and adorable world of cat characters, and its live-action/animated hybrid style is a first for the studio. Kids are loving Gabby in both forms, and we can’t wait to share more of her cat-tastic adventures with audiences around the world.

In regard to core franchises, Dragons and Madagascar come to mind. In Dragons: The Nine Realms, DreamWorks has catapulted the franchise into modern times for the first time ever, expertly weaving the adventure and heart at the core of How to Train Your Dragon with the modern-day hopes and dreams of a diverse teenage cast. In Madagascar: A Little Wild, we’ve aged the four dynamos from the films down to their younger selves and opened up the big world of New York City for them to explore and chase their even bigger dreams. The series is effortlessly inclusive through its representation of deaf characters, both animal and human, as well as meaningful LGBTQ+ storylines, sharing messages of acceptance and positivity throughout.

Peacock is also breaking new ground with its original kids’ programming. Featuring a foot-tapping, handclapping, sing-along world of music, dance and play, Babble Bop! is a one-of-a-kind musical jamboree, bringing a new take on classic nursery rhymes for the preschool set. The series uses motion capture in the animation to get the characters dancing and moving like real kids.

Take Note is a scripted dramedy/musical talent show that is truly different from anything we’ve ever seen before. The series showcases a loving family that sticks together and a young boy who gets to live out his dreams, showing audiences that dreams can come true.

Peacock and Sky Kids’ co-production The Makery is a live-action and CGI combination series, which gives it a very different feel. Each themed episode shows the host taking viewers on a baking and creative adventure—whether it be scribbling in a sketchpad or cooking up tasty treats in the kitchen—that educates children through play and inspires them to explore their imagination and creativity.

TV KIDS: What is driving the growth and gains within this segment?
VAN DEN BERG: There are so many different platforms now to produce for—not just linear or global streamers and AVOD, but new local streamers and platforms too. The great thing is that everyone is looking for amazing, fresh content to help their platform stand out from the rest and reach their key audience. Additionally, co-viewing during (and coming out of) the pandemic has increased drive for our partners. Making “TV time” a moment when the entire family can come together to watch a really strong, uplifting and entertaining program.

TV KIDS: What are some of the new TV properties that continue to build from DreamWorks film franchises?
VAN DEN BERG: Dragons: The Nine Realms is new for 6- to 11-year-olds and co-viewing, and Dragons Rescue Riders: Heroes of the Sky is for preschoolers. [There are also] The Croods: Family Tree; Madagascar: A Little Wild, which has been really successful for us; and, of course, TrollsTopia, following on from Trolls World Tour.

TV KIDS: Tell us about some of the original IP.
VAN DEN BERG: Gabby’s Dollhouse was a phenomenal success and a global brand for NBCUniversal; it was treated with as much love and focus as, say, Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous, which was a global brand based on known IP.

TV KIDS: What do you look for in a broadcast or streaming home for one of your beloved properties?
VAN DEN BERG: Partnership. We want to work with our partners to make sure we’re supporting them [to] drive awareness of the shows to help deliver ratings for their platforms. When our beloved franchises stay with our long-standing partners, this is incredibly important to us—and to our partners. Kids know where to find the shows, and we know what our partners need to support them.