Hollywood’s Good Dogs and Other Animal Stars
Robin sits down with Todd Kessler, the creator of the Peabody Award-winning series Blue’s Clues, to chat about his new book 'The Good Dog' and a special art contest for kids. Later, she’s joined by Joanne Horowitz, one of the biggest talent managers in Hollywood to discuss her love of dogs and the love of pets she sees all over Tinsel Town.
Todd Kessler is the co-creator and show runner of the highly successful children’s television series “Blue’s Clues.” As director of the pilot, he helped create an original storybook world unlike anything seen before on television. He completed over 150 episodes, which now air in over 30
countries around the world.
Before working on “Blue’s Clues,” Todd created short segments for CTW’s Sesame Street and was a self-taught filmmaker and story teller. He was also a story editor of the internationally syndicated television series “Maurice
Sendak’s Little Bear.”
Kessler’s philosophy is that children yearn to engage in a longer format of story telling and will stay enthusiastically focused if the plot and characters are smart and compelling. This is the same theory that drove the success of “Blue’s Clues,” which was the first eductational children’s television series with a continuous half-hour narrative. Kessler has now translated his concepts to a new genre with his debut children’s “picture novel”, The Good Dog (Greenleaf Publishing, July 2014), which features a significantly more complex and longer narrative than typical books aimed at children ages 3 to 6.
The Good Dog follows the adventures of Tako, a puppy adopted by 8-year-old Ricky without his parents’ permission. Mom and Dad agree to let Tako stay under one condition: he must be a good dog and always follow the rules, or off to the pound he goes. More than anything, Tako wants to be good and stay with Ricky. But when the family opens a new bakery in town, a competing bakery owner sets out to secretly sabotage the Happy Family Bakery, and the only way Tako can protect Ricky and his family is to break the rules. Tako and Ricky’s family discover that sometimes you have to be a little bit bad to be very good.
The New York Times called Kessler “the David E. Kelley of children’s television,” and he is quoted extensively in The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell’s bestseller about visionaries and new-world trends. Todd’s artistic and innovative work has garnered him the prestigious Peabody Award, seven Emmy nominations, two Television Critics Association awards, five Parent’s Choice awards, first place in the children's division of the Toronto International Film Festival, and a New York Film Festival Cine Golden Eagle.He has two adult children and resides in Los Angeles.
Joanne Horowitz has been a Talent Manager for over thirty years, helping to guide the careers of some of Hollywood’s biggest names, most notably, two-time Oscar Winner Kevin Spacey, and star of the current Netflix phenomenon HOUSE OF CARDS. Also on her roster are young, up-and-coming actors such as Scott Eastwood (FURY, THE LONGEST RIDE), Gavin Stenhouse (ALLEGIANCE), and Claudia Lee (HART OF DIXIE, KICK-ASS 2). Before becoming a talent manager, Joanne worked at STUDIO 54 in its heyday, and was head of publicity for UNITED ARTISTS. Joanne is a passionate animal lover and mother to two amazing rescue dogs, Trixie and Leo Horowitz.