Genius Brands International, Inc. signaled Monday’s launch of Kartoon Channel with a sneak peek at upcoming animated series, Stan Lee’s Superhero Kindergarten. Attached to the news is the addition of actor and former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who will star in the series, has officially entered an agreement with the company as a significant investor, earning him a co-producer credit on the series through his Oak Productions banner.
Genius Brands Chairman & CEO, Andy Heyward took to the outlets on Monday in a press letter stating the actor will be compensated through his ongoing partnership with the company. Citing Schwarnegger’s longstanding friendship with late Marvel Comics patriarch, Stan Lee, as well as the actor’s immense social media following across Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter as an influencer, Heyward adds the following: “This, added to the millions of Stan Lee followers, puts rocket fuel in our Genius Brands’ tanks, and it would be impossible to overstate the importance of this event.”
“Not only is Arnold Schwarzenegger a legendary entertainer and a leading voice in promoting children’s education and fitness, he is a uniquely accomplished investor who brings the perspective of having been Governor of California, the 5th largest economy in the world.” says Heyward. “I can think of no better or smarter partner to have inside Genius Brands.”
The announcement also notes that Lee himself will return in animated form with his digitally remastered voice, and a cameo in each episode of Superhero Kindergarten, following the tradition of all three phases of the Marvel Cinematic Universe of the past decade.
“Stan Lee’s Superhero Kindergarten is about as strong and perfect a property, as I have seen in almost four decades of children’s television.” says Heyward.
Schwarzenegger and Lee began development on the series, spearheaded by longtime Marvel collaborator Fabian Nicieza (Deadpool, Spider-Man, Batman, Avengers). Steven Banks (head writer, Sponge Bob Square Pants) is penning the series and teaming up with multi-Emmy Award-winning director, Mike Maliani, who previously worked with Heyward while working for the Walt Disney Company from 1996.
The official logline for Stan Lee’s Superhero Kindergarten reads as follows: “In a secret classroom, underneath what appears to be an ordinary school, a very special group of kids have come together with the most unusual superpowers, such that could only have come from the mind of Stan Lee, the creator of Spider-Man, Iron Man, the Incredible Hulk, X-Men, Black Panther, Thor, Guardians of the Galaxy, and The Avengers.
“A diverse group of kindergarteners have been given unusual superpowers. Arnold Armstrong (a retired superhero, Captain Courage), was secretly recruited to teach these children how to develop their unusual gifts and use them for the good of mankind (learning lessons along the way in health, exercise, nutrition, anti-bullying, and inclusivity). Of course, as kindergarteners, not everything will go as planned, and often times, hi-jinks and the unforeseen, ensues.”
“Whether the school janitor, or the bus driver, or a cafeteria server, the treat of discovering Stan Lee, will be like finding Where’s Waldo in each episode.” says Heyward.
The show further partners Genius Brands with Alibaba Group who distribute the series in China on their national children’s platform, as well as reprsent all consumer products and commerce in the country per their partnership with Genius. Both companies are producing the show as is Lee’s POW! Entertainment. Exec producing are Heyward, Main Street Advisors CEO Paul Wachter, and POW! Entertainment President Gill Champion.
Kartoon Channel is available on Amazon Prime in the U.S., as well as on Apple TV+, Android App, Amazon Fire, and Roku, among other forms. Stan Lee’s Superhero Kindergarten premieres in 2021.