By Todd Spangler
October 11, 2017
Butch Hartman, creator of Nickelodeon shows including “Fairly OddParents,” “Danny Phantom,” “T.U.F.F. Puppy” and “Bunsen Is a Beast,” is teaming up again with former Nick president Albie Hecht on three new animated series.
The series are in development at Pocket.watch, the kids’ multiplatform media startup for which Hecht serves as chief content officer. Of the three shows, one is based on an original idea by Hartman; one is based on an original idea from Pocket.watch’s existing development slate; and the third will feature the kids from HobbyKidsTV, the YouTube family of channels which signed on as the startup’s first creator partner.
In “HobbyKids Adventures,” cartoon versions of the channel’s kids — HobbyPig, HobbyFrog and HobbyBear (and his alter ego, HobbyHuge) — will go on different adventures, able to transport anywhere in their time-traveling Giant Egg. That’s a nod to the YouTube channel’s signature “giant surprise eggs,” which the kids open to find toys and other stuff.
Under his non-exclusive, three-year deal with Pocket.watch, Hartman also is being named senior creative consultant. In that role, he’ll provide creative input for the startup’s digital channels, creator partnerships and premium content. Pocket.watch’s target audience is kids 2-11.
“In my long-spanning animation career, I’ve been able to bring so many different stories to life, and I can’t wait to be able to do the same for ‘HobbyKids Adventures,’” said Hartman. “What Pocket.watch is creating is a true testament to what entertainment kids love today, and I am thrilled to be a part of it.”
Hecht called Hartman “a creative force” who has “an uncanny ability to develop worlds that make kids stop, take notice and laugh out loud.” Added Chris M. Williams, founder and CEO of Pocket.watch, “Butch’s passion for creating content across all platforms that resonates with kids is palpable.”
Williams, formerly chief audience officer at Maker Studios and ex-GM of Disney Online Originals, founded Pocket.watch in March 2017. In addition to Hecht, the management team includes chief strategy officer Jon Moonves and David B. Williams, previously with Maker Studios and Endemol Beyond USA.
The company’s investors include Allen DeBevoise’s Third Wave Digital; UTA; CBS chairman and CEO Leslie Moonves; film producer Jon Landau; Robert Downey Jr.’s Downey Ventures; Chris Jacquemin, head of digital media at WME; and Defy Media CEO Matt Diamond.