Netflix, DreamWorks Animation produce children’s series ‘Turbo’

By Yvonne Villarreal
Los Angeles Times

Amid all the “House of Cards” chatter (e.g., ‘Hey, Kevin Spacey takes down the 4th wall Ferris Bueller-style!’ and “I watched all 13 episodes in five hours” OK, that was a stretch), Netflix has offered another talking point by announcing its partnership with DreamWorks Animation to produce a children’s series.

The video streaming service will add to its original programming slate later this year with a series based on the upcoming DreamWorks Animation flick “Turbo,” the companies announced Tuesday. The film centers on a snail that dreams big and fast.

The small screen adaptation, titled “Turbo: F.A.S.T.,” marks the first Netflix original series for children and will roll out exclusively on the service in December following the film’s big-screen 3-D release in July. The movie features the voices of Ryan Reynolds and Paul Giamatti no word yet on who will voice the characters in the show, but the series will pick up where the movie plot leaves off.

“Families love Netflix, so creating an original series for kids was a natural for us,” said Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos in a statement. “DreamWorks Animation has a long track record of creating incredibly successful characters and stories that delight people of all ages.”

The streaming service has been expanding its original programming. It presented all 13 episodes of its latest series, “House of Cards,” on Feb. 1 and will roll out the long-anticipated return of cult comedy “Arrested Development” later this spring. Focusing on children seemed only a matter of time. In 2011, it launched a Just for Kids section featuring content aimed at viewers ages 12 and younger (who can work an iPad like no one else). And Netlix said its members streamed more than 2 billion hours of kids content in 2012.

“Netflix boasts one of the largest and fastest-growing audiences in kids’ television. They pioneered a new model for TV dramas with ‘House of Cards,’ and now together, we’re doing the same thing with kids’ programming,” said DreamWorks Animation Chief Executive Jeffrey Katzenberg in the announcement. “DreamWorks is thrilled to be part of the television revolution.”

In addition to the new children’s series, “Turbo” and other new DreamWorks Animation features will become available on the service too, beginning with the studio’s 2013 roster.