marblemedia and The Jim Henson Company Team Up On New Live Action Preschool Series Hi Opie!

Award-winning content creator marblemedia and The Jim Henson Company, an established worldwide leader in family entertainment, have partnered on a new live-action preschool series Hi Opie! created by Barbara Slade (Angelina Ballerina, Rugrats) and is scheduled to premiere later this year on TVOKids, City Saskatchewan and Knowledge Network.

With casting and writing commencing now, Hi Opie! is scheduled to begin production of 13 x 30 minute episodes (39 x 7 minutes) in March. Distribution360, a marblemedia company, will share television, DVD and digital distribution with The Jim Henson Company who will also oversee format rights, as well as all merchandising and licensing rights worldwide.

There is a new kid in kindergarten! It’s your new puppet friend Opie! Targeted to Kids 2 ½ to 5 years old, Hi Opie! centers around the social emotional and intellectual escapades of 5 year old Opie, a puppet custom built by the experts of Jim Henson’s Creature Shop. Opie and his real kid classmates are in their first year of all-day kindergarten – uncertain just what to expect. With each new day, Opie learns more about himself, his friends and his two teachers. Each story marks a new chapter in Opie’s personal growth as he participates in, struggles with and inevitably succeeds in kindergarten activities.

Although each story in Hi Opie! will present a clear and attainable goal, it is the process of learning through play – having fun, asking questions, experimenting with the consequences of one’s actions, persevering through adversity, imagining, and, of course, continuing to be curious – that leads to Opie’s personal growth.

“The Jim Henson Company’s rich history of creating emotional, life-changing, memorable entertaining experiences for audiences, including myself, is unmatched – working together with their team to bring another puppet into the lives of kids is a dream come true for marblemedia,” said Mark Bishop, Co-CEO and Executive Producer, marblemedia.

“Transitioning from preschool to kindergarten can be challenging to young children and Hi Opie! can be a great tool for kids to learn how to negotiate through this new and exciting world,” said Lisa Henson, CEO of The Jim Henson Company. “Also, watching Opie’s experiences in kindergarten can encourage viewers to get excited to attend school, setting the foundation for a lifetime love of learning.”

“We’re thrilled to be working with The Jim Henson Company and marblemedia to bring Hi Opie! to Ontario audiences,” says Patricia Ellingson, TVO’s Creative Head of Children’s and Parents’ Media. “TVO is committed to helping give early learners the tools to succeed in school and a program like Hi Opie! is a wonderful example of modeling the ways in which they can excel in Kindergarten.”

Executive Producers Mark Bishop and Matt Hornburg, along with creator and co-Executive ProducerBarbara Slade (Angelina Ballerina and Rugrats), are working with the series’ Producer Larry Mirkin(Fraggle Rock) and Executive Story Editor Kate Barris (Max & Ruby, Captain Flamingo) to bring Hi Opie! to life. This team will work in collaboration with the broadcast partners, Producer/Director Lowell Dean of Lolofilm Productions Inc., Series Director Phil McCordic and Halle Stanford, who serves as the Executive Producer for The Jim Henson Company.

marblemedia develops, produces and distributes engaging multiplatform entertainment experiences for audiences around the world. Honoured with Playback’s Outstanding Achievement Award (2013) and named Transmedia Producer of the Year (2011) by Playback, marble has won two Gemini Awards, been nominated for an Emmy® Award and was identified as a Next Generation Content Producer (2009) by The Hollywood Reporter. The company owns a 50-acre production ranch and operates a Toronto-based studio, home to 50 staff. With over 200 hours of programming distributed in more than 200 territories, notable projects include: the comedic Japanese game show Japanizi: Going, Going, Gong; the award-winning hit preschool series This is Daniel Cook and This is Emily Yeung and latest installment This is Scarlett and Isaiah; the award-winning series Taste Buds; Skatoony, North America’s first animated/live-action quiz show; the animated comedy Dating Guy; the teen competition series The Adrenaline Project; the physical game show Splatalot; What’s in a Name, a discovery of the history behind popular household names; and the first multiplatform series in American Sign Language, deafplanet.com. The company was co-founded by Mark Bishop and Matt Hornburg in 2001. Experience marblemedia at www.marblemedia.com.

The Jim Henson Company has remained an established leader in family entertainment for over 50 years and is recognized worldwide as an innovator in puppetry, animatronics and digital animation. Best known as creators of the world famous Muppets, Henson has received over 50 Emmy Awards and nine Grammy Awards. Recent credits include the Emmy® nominated Sid the Science Kid,Dinosaur Train, and Pajanimals as well as the new series Doozers, a CG animated preschool series. Features include The Dark Crystal, Labyrinth, MirrorMask, and the upcoming Alexander and the Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Day and television productions include Fraggle Rock and the sci-fi cult series Farscape.

With additional locations in New York and London, The Jim Henson Company is headquartered in Los Angeles on the historic Charlie Chaplin lot, complete with soundstage and postproduction facilities.  Independently owned and operated by the five adult children of founder Jim Henson, the Company is also home to Jim Henson’s Creature Shop™, a pre-eminent character-building and visual effects group with international film, television, theme park and advertising clients, as well as Henson Recording Studios, one of the music industry’s top recording facilities known for its world-class blend of state-of-the-art and vintage equipment. The Company’s Henson Alternative brand is currently touring “Puppet-Up! – Uncensored,” a live puppet improvisational show.

TVO is Ontario’s public educational media organization and a trusted source of interactive educational content that informs, inspires and stimulates curiosity and thought. TVO’s vision is to empower people to be engaged citizens of Ontario through educational media. TVO is funded primarily by the Province of Ontario and is a registered charity supported by sponsors and thousands of donors. For more information, visit tvo.org.

About City

City™ television stations in Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Montreal and Saskatchewan offer viewers intensely-local, urban-oriented, culturally-diverse television programming. A distinct alternative to other conventional television stations, City engages its viewers with dynamic on-air personalities and delivers an entertaining mix of news, local-interactive formats such as: Breakfast Television and Cityline; as well as local Canadian and US acquired prime time entertainment programming. City is a part of Rogers Broadcasting Limited, a division of Rogers Communications Inc. (TSX: RCI and NYSE: RCI) which is a diversified Canadian communications and media company. For more information on City stations and programming, visit Citytv.com.

For more information, please contact:

Molly Ray, Director of Marketing and Communications | 416-646-2711 ext. 232 |

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