The Jim Henson Company: Family Time


Halle Stanford on The Jim Henson Company’s animation development pipeline.

Working across preschool and prime time, Halle Stanford, the president of television at The Jim Henson Company, sees commonalities in delivering for these different targets. “Overall, the strategy when developing is: Is this transformative television?” she says. “Will this project be able to build a fan family? Are we taking you away to a magical world that you can’t wait to go back to?”

In terms of the way The Jim Henson Company approaches development, Stanford says the team is always looking to work with creators and dreamers who want to bring their “hope-and-dream project” to life. “I don’t think there’s one show I have on the slate that isn’t somebody’s hope-and-dream project, including my own. That is a must at Henson. We approach it from: What is in your heart? What does your voice have to say in this world? Does it resonate with our company? And if it does, we’ll get behind it a thousand, million percent. That’s what we’re all about.”

In the kids’ department, the company is looking to develop unique voices and perspectives with its characters. “We always have our war cry,” Stanford says, “which is: What do kids need now? That’s been our guiding star. One of the things that kids need right now is to be able to come together and have meaningful conversations, even if they’re completely different in their identities. So, we’re looking for stories in this area.”

Stanford is also identifying programming that can grow up with kids. “Whatever our programming is, we need to have the next story for the next generation,” she says. “We need to constantly be giving everyone joyful, magical, thoughtful and entertaining experiences. If we can do that at all levels, from preschool all the way through prime time, we’ve done our job at Henson.”