Canada’s Nelvana Greenlights Ashley Spires’ ‘Millie Magnificent’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Corus Entertainment’s Nelvana has greenlit “Millie Magnificent,” a new original CG animated preschool series inspired by Canadian author and illustrator Ashley Spires’ “The Most Magnificent Thing.”

The 52-episode series kicked off production with a planned launch for next year, following up on Nelvana’s first animated short, the award-winning “The Most Magnificent Thing.” According to the company there is already strong interest from international broadcasters for “Millie Magnificent” and the series is “set to deliver in 2024.”

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“The Most Magnificent Thing” revolves around a little girl who perseveres through tough situations. It was designed to promote creativity and teach children how to regulate emotions through difficult scenarios, while reminding them that it’s okay to make mistakes.

The picture book was released in 2014 and has since sold close to 800,000 copies. It has also been translated into 21 languages and a sequel, “The Most Magnificent Idea,” released in 2022.

“Millie Magnificent” follows eight-year-old Millie (Kaia Oz) — an avid inventor, creator and problem solver. In each episode she and her Creato-crew friends, Maya (Tianna SwamiNathan) and Ben (Ian Ho), along with her canine assistant Wallace, work together to find solutions to their neighborhood challenges.

Ruth Ramirez directs and Sheila Rogerson boards as the head writer. Jillianne Reinseth is the supervising creative producer, Laurie Handforth produces, Jelena Sisic is the series’ art director and Eva Zhou joins as design supervisor.

“As a child, I dreamed of working in animation, and having published with Kids Can Press, who have a unique relationship with Nelvana, that dream became a reality — not once, but twice! Now my role as an author-illustrator has expanded to television writer and producer,” Spires said in a statement.

“Both Ashley Spires’ book and Nelvana’s short film have received tremendous accolades as it captured the hearts and minds of audiences around the world and motivated them to be like Millie — a creative thinker who always goes out of her way to help others,” added Athena Georgaklis, head of development at Nelvana.

“We’re delighted to kick off production and onboard a female-led team to work on the series. The initial interest for this series has been nothing short of magnificent.”

Previously, Nelvana teamed with Warner Bros. Discovery to adapt Spires’ Binky Adventure graphic novels, “Agent Binky: Pets of the Universe,” which is currently in its third season.

The “Millie Magnificent” announcement comes in conjunction with Kids Can Press’ 50th anniversary year. The publisher also revealed the cover of the third book in “The Most Magnificent Thing” franchise, “The Most Magnificent Maker’s A to Z,” which launches in fall 2023.

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