Fred Rogers Productions, the award-winning children’s entertainment company behind multiple well-loved, Emmy®-winning PBS KIDS series, including Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, has named Jada Toys the Master Toy Licensee for Donkey Hodie, the new puppet series from Fred Rogers Productions and Spiffy Pictures. Licensing Street, recently appointed as licensing agent for the brand, facilitated the partnership. The new agreement with Jada Toys, which follows closely on the heels of the May 2021 series premiere on PBS KIDS, covers the U.S., Canada, Europe, Middle East, Africa, Australia, and New Zealand. The company’s debut Donkey Hodie toy range is set to start arriving at retail in spring 2023.
“We are thrilled to work with Jada Toys and Licensing Street to extend the Donkey Hodie experience far beyond the screen,” said Matt Shiels, Vice President, Business and Legal Affairs, Fred Rogers Productions. “Licensing Street’s expertise combined with Jada’s track record of success in the U.S. and international markets present an exciting opportunity for this special brand inspired by Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.”
“We are honored to be part of the Fred Rogers legacy and thrilled to base our toys on this charming, new property that introduces children to the wonderful and valuable themes of resilience and optimism through catchy songs, meaningful dialogue, and outstanding puppetry,” said Amy Austin, VP Licensing and Marketing, Jada Toys.
“Donkey Hodie is a standout series, and we’re pleased to partner with Fred Rogers Productions to help grow the brand in creative ways,” said JJ Ahearn, Managing Director, Licensing Street. “We’re delighted to be working with Jada Toys to bring Donkey Hodie and her pals to life for preschoolers and look forward to introducing the toys and announcing additional new partners soon.”
The debut line of Donkey Hodie toys from Jada Toys will include figures, plush, playsets, vehicles, dolls and doll accessories, electronic learning aids, and musical toys.
Inspired by the funny, quirky side of children’s television pioneer Fred Rogers, Donkey Hodie is set in the whimsical land of Someplace Else. The imaginative puppet series follows the adventures of Donkey Hodie, an enthusiastic and charming go-getter who takes on each day with curiosity, resilience, and sincerity, and her pals: Purple Panda, her loyal and empathetic best friend who wears his big heart on his sleeve; Duck Duck, a practical, quick- witted young mallard who loves to figure things out; and Bob Dog, an energetic and eager canine who is always ready to fetch a ball or boogie to music.
The social-emotional series is designed to empower children ages 3-5 to dream big and overcome obstacles in their own lives, to work hard and persevere in the face of failure, to be resourceful and discover they can solve problems on their own—and to laugh themselves silly along the way.
During the first 20 days of its May premiere, Donkey Hodie content generated 32.6 million streams, the most for any PBS KIDS series launch in the past five years. On-air, the series posted the highest Kids 2-8 ratings and reach of any PBS KIDS series during its premiere week, reaching 2.7 million TV viewers.*
Donkey Hodie is created by Adam Rudman and David Rudman, co-founders of Spiffy Pictures, and developed by Ellen Doherty, Chief Creative Officer of Fred Rogers Productions. Executive producers are Ellen Doherty, Adam Rudman, and David Rudman.
About Jada Toys
Jada Toys is a privately held leading toy manufacturer. Founded in 1999, Jada has developed a worldwide presence at retail. Their strong focus on pop, trend, and car culture has grown their portfolio from die-cast vehicles and radio control to include collectible and action figures, dolls, preschool toys, and more. Partnering with best-in-class entertainment studios allows collaboration that has resulted in extensive lines of licensed product that appeals to collectors, kids, and families. Proprietary lines accompany the licensed product to round out Jada Toys' offerings. Jada Toy's is the US based division of the Simba Dickie Group. Visit Jada Toys at jadatoys.com
About Licensing Street, LLC
Licensing Street, LLC, is a NY-based licensing and consulting firm whose experience includes work on some of the most successful and beloved entertainment properties of all-time. The firm specializes in strategically developing licensed properties across all retail channels. www.LicensingStreet.com
About Fred Rogers Productions
Fred Rogers Productions was founded by Fred Rogers in 1971 as the non-profit producer of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood for PBS. In the years that followed, it created hundreds of episodes of this much-loved program and extended Fred’s values and approach to other efforts in promoting children’s social, emotional, and behavioral health while supporting parents, caregivers, teachers, and other professionals in their work with children. Fred Rogers Productions continues to build on Fred’s legacy in innovative ways through a wide variety of media and engages new generations of children and families with his timeless wisdom. The company’s highly-rated children’s series, including Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, Peg + Cat, Odd Squad, and Through the Woods, have earned 30 Emmy® Awards among other important honors. Newly launched in 2021 on PBS KIDS is Donkey Hodie, the innovative puppet series inspired by characters from Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood; and most recently Alma’s Way, an animated series created by Sonia Manzano, known to generations of children and adults as “Maria” on Sesame Street. For more information, visit www.fredrogers.org or follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn.
Grand Communications (for Fred Rogers Productions)
*Source: Nielsen NPOWER L+7, 5/3-5/9/2021, R&F, Std wk unif, 1+ min.