EXCLUSIVE: Improv icon Colin Mochrie (Whose Line is it Anyway?) will narrate a Canadian version of the eye-opening but heartwarming Japanese format Old Enough!, in which kids run errands on their own.
Blue Ant Studios has secured local rights to the long-running Japanese unscripted hit series, which was originally for Nippon TV, and is readying a remake for educational network TVO in Canada.
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Improv icon Mochrie (Whose Line is it Anyway?) has signed on to narrate the show, which is set for a September debut.
The announcement will be made jointly today at the 2024 Realscreen Summit by Co-President of Blue Ant Studios Matthew Hornburg, Head of Programming at TVO Natasha Negrea, and Akane Inoue from Nippon TV’s Global Format Licensing unit.
Old Enough! has made headlines over the years for its eye-opening premise, in which toddlers independently run errands for the first time. The show’s off-screen safety team always stay nearby the child, and the series also explores each parent’s approach to raising their kids.
The show has been a ratings juggernaut and cultural phenomenon in Japan for more than 30 years and its popularity skyrocketed in English-speaking territories when Netflix streamed Nippon TV’s original series in 2022 in over 190 countries. The streamer acquired a second season after the reception to the first, which even led to Selena Gomez spoofing it on Saturday Night Live and 46M Tiktok views.
The deal is a major deal for Canada’s Drag Race producer Blue Ant Studios, which is currently settling into its newly-merged rights and studios structure under former MarbleMedia chiefs Hornburg and Mark Bishop.
“Old Enough! typifies the vision of our studio moving forward – entertaining and enlightening franchises – and we’re thrilled to be bringing the first North American version to audiences,” said Blue Ant’s Hornburg. “This series is going to be an engaging, co-viewing experience for families, and children will definitely enjoy watching their peers find their independence when given the freedom to do so. It also explores themes of what parenting means from different cultural perspectives and in the modern age.”
“Independence is a key part of healthy childhood development. It begins with taking our first steps and flourishes through our appetites to learn and explore,” said TVO’s Negrea. “This exciting new version of Old Enough! showcases young kids discovering their delightful first moments of being independent.”
“It is such a joy to announce the Canadian adaptation of Old Enough!, our heart-warming factual entertainment format and global phenomenon,” added Inoue from Nippon TV. “I am very proud that the passionate team at Blue Ant Studios has created a truly enjoyable version using the unique, new camera style we developed together. We are delighted to show the world that children’s big adventures can be delivered in different cultures and hope for more international versions to follow.”
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