A simple premise, a blended family and some slapstick comedy prompted Gulli to invest in more Boy Girl Dog Cat Mouse Cheese, says Cloudco’s Karen Vermeulen.
French kidsnet Gulli has commissioned a second season (52 x 11 minutes) of Cloudco Entertainment’s animated series Boy Girl Dog Cat Mouse Cheese ahead of its first season premieres on CBBC this fall.
Produced by California-based prodco Cloudco Entertainment, French prodco Watch Next Media and Irish prodco Kavaleer Production, the show’s first season (52 x 11 minutes) was co-commissioned by Gulli and British kidsnet CBBC in 2018.
Both broadcasters had provided notes during production and asked for a simple premise and kid-friendly humor, says Cloudco’s head of global content strategy and co-production, Karen Vermeulen. Based on the feedback and to help the series stand out, the prodcos kept the show simple so the companies could focus on developing interesting characters, she adds. In the weeks leading up to Annecy, Cloudco showed the first four episodes to the broadcasters and Gulli, impressed by the simple and down-to-earth premise of the show, as well as its use of slapstick comedy, decided it wanted more, Vermeulen says.
Aimed at kids ages six to 12, the series is a comedy about a boy, girl, dog, cat, mouse and a wheel of cheese that learn to live together under one roof. Revolving the show around a blended family makes it relatable for many kids, because it amps up concepts like sibling rivalries as well as comedic scenes like learning how to share the same bathroom, says Vermeulen. The series also features slapstick comedy (courtesy of the character Cat), which appeals to the younger kids in the show’s six- to twelve-year-old demographic, she adds. This is balanced against moments where the characters want to spend time together and explore their emotions, which is something older kids appreciate, she says.
“It doesn’t rely on a lot of gimmicks,” she says of the series. “We know who these characters are, what roles they play in the family and we developed the show around them and the simple concept of a blended family living under one roof.”
The prodcos are beginning pre-production for season two in Q1 2020, and are working on a production schedule now. The new season is expected to be delivered in 2021.
Season one previously presold to British kidsnet CBBC, Irish broadcaster RTÉ and Italian broadcaster De Agostini Networks. CBBC will launch the first season at the end of October/beginning of November, says Vermeulen. RTE and De Agostini will follow, aairing the series close to Christmas, with Gulli launching it early next year.
The budget for the first season is around US$6.7 million to US$8.9 million (EUR$6 million to EUR$8 million), says Vermeulen.
The show is executive produced by Ryan Wiesbrock, Karen Vermeulen, Sean Gorman, Davis Doi , Gene Laufenberg, Philippe Alessandri, Gary Timpson and Andrew Kavanagh.
Looking to the future of the blended family, Cloudco (which handles global distribution for the series, excluding rights in French-speaking Europe, which is held by Watch Next) will reach out to broadcasters for international sales. Cloudco’s focus is on building the show’s audience and awareness before moving into licensing and consumer products.
“We weren’t thinking about how we would sell plush or toys or lifestyle products around the show when we were making it,” says Vermeulen. “But we feel if you have really strong characters then there is always potential for licensing. We’re going to make sure the show builds its audience before rushing in to CP, but we do have ambitions.”