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People often ask me why I got into kids TV. At first, I think I did it because, well frankly, I watched a LOT of television.  But that wasn’t the only reason.  My initial plan was to work in radio – radio was becoming big, big business in the 80’s and I was in the perfect place to do it: NYC. But this all changed when I went to college and I had a professor who worked on the first international version of Sesame Street. He would show us clips of the latest segments he was working on and the whole process just fascinated me.

But, most importantly, he spoke about why they were doing this – and it had a big influence on my career going forward – “to help kids see the good in others”. Soon after, I moved onto a new little network called Nickelodeon who was trying to blaze a trail in cable TV for kids. They were passionate about kids and all about having fun. I wanted to be a part of kids lives like my professor and I have been hooked ever since!

Many of the people I have met and worked with over the years have a very similar story to mine and when we compare them, several things stand out – we all got into the business for the same reason. A shared passion that drives us all everyday. We want to do good things and be good to each other. Just like kids do! Our business is a great reflection of our audience. The content that we all create and present is reflective of this kindness and goodness. It shows in the characters and the stories that we tell and it certainly reflects children.

Just like kids, our industry has a sense of relentless optimism and this continues to excite me. We’re optimistic that our projects will succeed,  we’re confident that our latest schedule will appeal to all the 6-11’s I’m programming for. I can’t help it. I love my work and I can’t help but smile when I think about it. Work? yes, but come on, it’s FAR better than a lot of other things to be involved with! The Kids TV industry may have had its challenges over the years, but we’ve embraced them.

We are good people in this business and it’s what has kept me in it for all these years. Unlike other businesses where people are out to make a lot of money, people in kids TV are passionate about their audience and want to do good things for kids first and foremost. Of course, if there’s money to be made, then that’s great too!

When I joined Sprout at the beginning of this year (when Sprout was still just Sprout and not Universal Kids) we had a marketing campaign running that said “kindness is a muscle”. A simple act of kindness can change the world and sometimes that act has to be a brave one. Most kids don’t think about being brave, it’s an alien concept to them. They don’t need to have a reason to do something, they just do it because they see a need to do the right thing and they act on impulse. It’s our job in Kids TV to nurture this, and make sure our audience continues to behave in this manner. Our world is constantly changing, becoming more diverse and acceptance and kindness to other human beings should be key to everyone… but sadly it isn’t. We all have a responsibility to our audience. There are many stories to be told in the world but the best and most memorable are the ones that feature characters helping each other to a happy ending.  Happy endings aren’t always possible but when they are, the simple act of kindness can achieve it.  We should all strive for this and I’m proud to work in an industry where kindness to one another matters.

 

This is the latest in a series of posts from MIPCOM 2017’s MIPBlog Ambassadors, a group of industry experts coordinated by consultant Debbie Macdonald, who’ll be sharing their insight here in the run-up to MIPCOM this October. Stay tuned for more!

Image © Getty Images/RichVintage


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About Author

Dea Connick Perez

Dea Connick Perez has over 30+ years of experience in kids’ media. Perez joined Sprout/Universal Kids in January 2017 as the VP of Content Strategy and Acquisitions. She will oversee all programming, scheduling and acquisitions for the re-launch of the channel to Universal Kids in September 2017.

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