The Jim Henson Company is preparing a new adaptation of Dr Seuss that could not only serve as a remedy for the isolation children experience during the pandemic, but also help them re-engage socially long after the lockdown. At the start of development, Come to my house is a live unscripted series for children ages five to eight based on the 1966 children’s picture book of the same name by Theodor (Dr. Seuss) Geisel.
The book tells the story of an American boy who travels around the world and learns about the homes and customs of children from different countries. According to the chairman of Henson television, Stanford Hall, the Bridge docuseries will redefine the lead role as a traveling puppet (tentatively named Katie) and will be filmed as a documentary with real children in their real homes.
“We hope to capture the joy of a day of unfettered, unstructured play between a child and a puppet,” says Stanford.
The idea for the project leaked to Kidscreen Summit 2020 when Stanford and executive producer Michael Lewis (Splashes and bubbles) met the President of Dr. Seuss Enterprises, Susan Brandt. Having previously collaborated on Nickelodeon’s ’90s live-action puppet series Wubbulous World of Dr. Seuss, Henson wanted to reinvent another book together, but one that didn’t feature Seuss’ familiar whimsical characters.
“These aren’t the classic Cat in the Hat fantasy characters,” she says.
To help bring Come to my house to life, Stanford enlisted emerging documentary director Tiffanie Hsu to direct.
“Because we’ll be using real kids and loose scripts, and not filming on sets, I went into the doc world to find a creator,” she says.
Although an estimated delivery date has not been set, Stanford plans to launch the series in early spring. Despite the fact that unscripted content tends not to travel as well as animation, which is easier to dub, she is confident that broadcasters will be interested in the stories and attracted to the potential speed of the production to market. .
“We’re hoping for 20 half-hours, and if we put it together with the right partners, the show will be released at a time when children and families around the world need to reconnect as we begin to emerge from the pandemic.” , says Stanford.
The series will also have a small crew, so Stanford says production could begin as early as this summer and be delivered quickly to networks that need to put new live-action content into their lineup.
She says the biggest challenge will be figuring out where the show can shoot and how to safely do it if filming begins this year.
“It will be doable, but we have to unbox this puzzle in advance in pre-production,” says Stanford.