Dr. Seuss’ beloved kids books — for the first time — are getting podcast adaptations under a partnership with Amazon’s Wondery podcast studio and network.
Wondery Kids & Family inked an expansive deal with Dr. Seuss Enterprises for a slate of podcasts. The first title under the pact is “The Cat in the Hat Cast,” described as a “fantastical variety show-style podcast series hosted by everyone’s favorite red and white hat-wearing Cat.” The weekly series, set to premiere Sept. 18, will be available exclusively on the Wondery+ subscription service through the Wondery app and Wondery Kids+ on Apple Podcasts.
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“The Cat in the Hat Cast” will transport listeners to “a world full of delightful mix-ups and exhilarating mayhem,” in which the mischievous Cat takes the reins and enlightens the ever-cautious Fish on the art of hosting a perfectly poised podcast, the companies said. The podcast will feature alphabet sing-a-longs, tongue-twisters and wordplay. The Cat in the Hat is voiced by Andrew Barbato, a singer, writer, artist and comedian based in New York City, and the Fish is voiced by Brandon Zelman, an actor, improviser, filmmaker and writer from Brooklyn.
The companies expect to announce additional series in the coming weeks, with varying distribution models for each depending on the title.
Susan Brandt, president and CEO of Dr. Seuss Enterprises, said the company saw a jump in listening of children’s podcast content during the pandemic and realized it had an opportunity to enter the space. “We looked at all the big names in podcasting, and I was really struck with the creativity that Wondery brings to their projects,” she said.
“Wondery Kids & Family has an incredible vision for how to bring to life our characters and stories in podcasting form,” Brandt said. “We believe this collaboration not only builds upon Dr. Seuss’ incredible legacy but also plays a key part of our bigger entertainment strategy for the Dr. Seuss franchise.”
Dr. Seuss Enterprises’ other major entertainment partners include Warner Animation Group, Netflix and Amazon’s Prime Video. Founded in 1993, Dr. Seuss Enterprises donates all profits to charitable organizations that focus on causes such as education, health, animal conservation and the arts. Dr. Seuss, the pen name of Theodor Geisel, died in 1991 at the age of 87.
Wondery had made a short list of potential partners with which to develop children’s podcasts and Dr. Seuss Enterprises was at the top, said Nicole Blake, GM of Wondery Kids & Family and Wondery’s head of franchise development. Then, before Wondery even reached out, “they called us,” she said. “The stars aligned.”
“This deal with Dr. Seuss Enterprises is a milestone moment in establishing Wondery Kids & Family as the premiere destination for engaging family content,” said Blake. “Both Wondery Kids & Family and Dr. Seuss are all about unlocking kids’ curiosity, imagination and wonder. This is truly a natural fit and we are looking forward to creating an array of programming that entertains and inspires the minds of tomorrow.”
Aimed at families with kids 3-12, Wondery’s lineup of kids and family shows includes science podcast “Wow in the World” hosted by Guy Raz and Mindy Thomas; weekly story-time podcast “Little Stories Everywhere”; and “Whose Amazing Life,” a puzzle-format podcast that presents facts about a renowned figure and invites listeners to guess the subject at the conclusion of each episode.
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