|Co-creator of Blue's Clues
Todd Kessler is an American film and television writer, producer and director. Among his credits are showrunner and co-creator of Nickelodeon's preschool series Blue's Clues and director and producer of the feature film Keith (2008).
According to author Malcolm Gladwell, who wrote about Blue's Clues in his book The Tipping Point , Kessler worked for Sesame Workshop's "Sesame Street", but found traditional children's television too static and not visual enough.In 1993–94, Kessler, who was then a freelance producer for Nickelodeon, was assigned to work with Peter Schreck on his seminal interactive television experiments in the network's Orlando studio, developing concepts which were later incorporated into Blue's Clues. Kessler was the first creator involved with the show. Angela Santomero and Traci Paige Johnson were brought later on to complete the Blue's Clues team. Blue's Clues, according to Variety , was "at the forefront of a revolution in kids TV" and was crucial to the growth of Nickelodeon. The innovative and interactive format it created changed children's programming, including its most important influence Sesame Street , which changed its format in 2002 to be more interactive.
Kessler left Nickelodeon and Blue's Clues in June 2000 after three seasons, but would continue to be credited as an executive producer for the rest of the show's run, as well as for all the show's spin-offs.
In 2008, Kessler acquired the teen romantic drama Keith , a film adapted from a short story written by Ron Carlson. The film, which starred Jesse McCartney and Elisabeth Harnois, was Kessler's directorial debut.Kessler also produced and co-wrote (with David Zabel) the film, which "concerns a 17-year-old who thinks she's got it all figured out until she falls for a guy who has nothing to lose".
Kessler is an outspoken critic of the popular belief that young children have short attention spans. In a column he penned for USA Today in its Oct. 26, 2015 edition, he referred to his own experience launching Blue's Clues and the television industry resistance to the series due to the prevailing belief that its unique long-form narrative structure would not succeed with children. He also argued that children would also be engaged with picture books that featured more prose than current publishing industry standards.He wrote similar sentiments in an op-ed he wrote for Forward Reviews, a literary review magazine.
Kessler authored the children's picture book The Good Dog in 2015 and The Good Dog and the Bad Cat in 2016. The books feature long-form narrative storytelling with complex characters and villains, following the adventures of Tako, a dog, and his owner, Ricky Lee; the second volume introduces Allie, a stray cat. Both books are published by Coralstone Press and illustrated by Jennifer Gray Olson. Howard Lavoy, executive editor at Forward Reviews, wrote The Good Dog series is "long form and engaging for kids and their grownups."
In addition, Kessler directed the romantic/musical film Bazodee, released on August 5, 2016 and starring Machel Montano, Natalie Perera, Staz Nair and Kabir Bedi. The story revolves around the complications created when Anita Panchouri (Perera) tries to sacrifice her own needs for the needs of her family.The movie, filmed on location in Trinidad and Tobago, features soca music and is praised for its authentic cast of Indians and Trinidadians and cultural accuracy, with Film Journal International's David Noh comparing it to Black Orpheus . Billboard has also compared the movie to The Harder They Come and Prince's Purple Rain because of Montano's musical performances, bringing soca to a wider audience.
As producer for Blue's Clues, Kessler received a Peabody Award,two Television Critics Association Awards in 1997–1998 and 1998–1999, several Parents' Choice Awards, and a New York Film Festival CINE Golden Eagle in 1996. He has also been nominated for six Emmys.
"Keith" won first place in the teenage sections of five international film festivals: Italy's Giffoni Film Festival (in the 15–19-year-old division);the Toronto International Film Festival for Children and Youth (their Students Choice Award, decided on by high school students); Sweden's BUFF International Film Festival for Youth and Children; Germany's SCHLINGEL International Film Festival; and Quebec's Carrousel international du film de Rimouski.
Steven Michael Burns is an American actor, musician, television host, and voice actor. He is best known as the original host of the children's television program Blue's Clues from 1996 until 2002, for which he was nominated for a Daytime Emmy in 2001. Burns has also done extensive voiceover work for advertising, and is currently the voice of the Snickers satisfies advertising campaign.
Blue's Clues is an American live-action/animated interactive educational children's television series, created by Angela C. Santomero, Todd Kessler, and Traci Paige Johnson, that premiered on Nickelodeon's Nick Jr. block on September 8, 1996, and concluded its run on August 6, 2006, with a total of six seasons and 143 episodes. The original host of the show was Steve Burns, who left in 2002 and was replaced by Donovan Patton for the rest of the series. The show follows an animated blue-spotted dog named Blue as she leaves a trail of clues/paw prints for the host and the viewers to figure out her plans for the day.
Sonia Manzano is an American actress, screenwriter, and author. She is best known for playing Maria on Sesame Street from 1971 to 2015. She received a Lifetime Achievement Daytime Emmy Award in 2016.
Oobi is an American children's television series produced by Little Airplane Productions for the Noggin channel. The show's concept is based on a training method used by puppeteers, in which they use their hands and a pair of glass eyes instead of a full puppet. The main character is a bare hand puppet named Oobi. The first season was a series of two-minute shorts. For its second and third seasons, it became a long-form series, with episodes lasting 13 minutes each. The show originally aired from 2000 to February 11, 2005, with reruns continuing until March 18, 2013.
Polly Carey Draper is an American actress, writer, producer, and director. Draper has received several awards, including a Writers Guild of America Award (WGA), and is noted for speaking in a "trademark throaty voice." She gained recognition for her starring role in the ABC drama television series Thirtysomething (1987–91).
Donovan Patton is an American actor and television host. Patton graduated from the Interlochen Arts Academy and acted in Shakespeare plays such as Much Ado About Nothing and Romeo and Juliet before replacing Steve Burns as the host of Nickelodeon's long-running children's television program, Blue's Clues in 2002. Series co-creator Angela Santomero stated that Patton brought Joe, his character, closer to the preschool viewer, as Joe was more willing to "jump into a problem rather than figuring it out first like Steve". After Blue's Clues ended in 2006, Patton then voiced Bot on Nickelodeon's Team Umizoomi (2010–2015) and currently voices CatRat on the Netflix original DreamWorks series Gabby's Dollhouse as well as special appearances in the new series Blue’s Clues & You!.
Austin Lyons, better known as Superblue, Super Blue and Blueboy, is a Trinidadian calypsonian, soca musician, and lyricist.
Phineas and Ferb is an American animated musical-comedy television series created by Dan Povenmire and Jeff "Swampy" Marsh which aired on Disney Channel and Disney XD for four seasons between August 2007 and June 2015. The series follows stepbrothers Phineas Flynn and Ferb Fletcher during summer vacation. Every day, the boys undertake the construction of a grand project, or embark on a spectacular adventure, to make the most of their time on vacation. This annoys their controlling older sister Candace, who frequently tries to expose their schemes to her and Phineas's mother. The series follows a standard plot system; running gags occur in every episode.
Machel Jesus Montano is a Trinidadian soca recording artist and record producer. Known for his high energy, fast-paced, and often unpredictable on-stage performances, he is one of the genre's most popular artists.
David Gallo is an American production/scenic designer, media/projection designer, and creative director for Broadway, international productions, television, and arena shows.
Albie Hecht is a film and television producer and media executive. In 1997, Hecht was the president of film and TV entertainment for Nickelodeon before becoming president of the television channel Spike TV in 2003. In 2005, he founded and was CEO of the digital studio Worldwide Biggies. From 2013 to 2015, he also served as general manager of the TV channel, HLN, and currently serves as chief content officer of PocketWatch.
Joshua Selig is an American television producer and director. He won ten Daytime Emmy Awards for his work as a writer on Sesame Street. After leaving Sesame Street, Selig partnered with Lori Shaer to create a studio called Little Airplane Productions. Through Little Airplane, Selig produced Oobi for Noggin, Wonder Pets! for Nickelodeon, and 3rd & Bird for the BBC.
Nickelodeon Digital, often shortened to Nick Digital and originally known as Nickelodeon Creative Labs, is an American animation studio based in New York City which opened in 1994. It is a division of Nickelodeon Animation Studio. Nickelodeon Digital produces some of Nickelodeon's animated series and creates digital content and motion graphics for the Nickelodeon Group. The company's Burbank, California branch creates CGI and visual effects for Nickelodeon's animated series and some promotions, along with promotions and shows for its sister networks.
Angela Candace Santomero is an American television executive producer and co-creator of the Nickelodeon children's television programs Blue's Clues, its spin-off Blue's Room, and its reboot Blue's Clues & You!, as well as the PBS children's shows Super Why!, Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood, & Rosie's Rules the Amazon Studios series Creative Galaxy, Wishenpoof!, and the Netflix original series Charlie's Colorforms City. Santomero has won a Peabody Award, a 2012 Emmy Award for Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood, two Television Critics Association Awards, and the 2018 World Screen's Kids Trendsetter Award. She has been nominated for more than twenty-five Emmy Awards and numerous Parents' Choice Gold and Silver Awards.
Traci Paige Johnson is an American animator and voice actress best known for creating the Nick Jr. Channel television series, Blue's Clues (1996–2006), its spin-off, Blue's Room (2004–2007), and the reboot series, Blue's Clues & You! (2019–present). She voices the titular character for the original series and & You!.
The Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Children's Series was an Emmy award given to television programming aimed towards children. Children's television had been recognized at the Emmys since the inaugural year. In 1995, a separate award for pre-school children's television was created, and the two categories had been recognized since then. Starting in 2018, a distinction between children's series and educational series was created, resulting in two separate categories. In November 2021, it was announced that all Daytime Emmy categories honoring children's programming would be retired in favor of a separate Children's & Family Emmy Awards ceremony that was held starting in 2022.
The Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Directing For A Children's Series was an Emmy award honoring direction in children's television programming. Since 1979, direction in children's series and specials competed in the same category. However, by the nineties, separate categories were created for the two mediums. In November 2021, it was announced that all Daytime Emmy categories honoring children's programming will be retired in favor of a separate Children's & Family Emmy Awards ceremony that will be held starting in 2022.
The Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing for a Children's Series was an Emmy award honoring writing in children's television programming. Since the award's inception, writing in children's series and specials competed in the same category. However, starting in 1985, separate categories were created for series and specials. In November 2021, it was announced that all Daytime Emmy categories honoring children's programming will be retired in favor of a separate Children's & Family Emmy Awards ceremony that will be held starting in 2022.