WarnerMedia Kids & Family is expanding its partnership with critically-acclaimed children’s book author, illustrator and playwright Mo Willems ahead of a compelling slate of originals for HBO Max and Cartoon Network.Announced today, HBO Max has extended its licensing rights to the Emmy-nominated Mo Willems and The Storytime All-Stars Present: Don’t Let the Pigeon Do Storytime! and Mo Willems Story Time Shorts! Both programs are available to stream now on HBO Max.

These beloved programs, designed for unlimited fun and laughter, will continue offering kids of all ages and families ways to engage and enjoy content from Willems as they look forward to his new projects on Cartoonito on HBO Max and Cartoon Network. They include the animated musical event, Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed: The Underground Rock Experience, premiering this summer, and Unlimited Squirrels, an upcoming animated series debuting next year.

In collaboration with Stampede Ventures as his producing partner, Willems signed on with WarnerMedia Kids & Family for a multi-year deal to create live-action Storytime Specials, and multiple animated and live-action series based on his popular children’s books. He is repped by Ellen Goldsmith-Vein of The Gotham Group and Marcia Wernick at Wernick & Pratt.

Mo Willems and The Storytime All-Stars Present: Don’t Let the Pigeon Do Storytime is Willems’ first HBO Max live-action special. The special debuted in 2020 to wide acclaim, garnering multiple award nominations including a 2021 Writers Guild Award and two 2021 Daytime Emmy Awards. The special was recorded live at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and presents a delightful hour of stories, songs, and sing-alongs, as well as an opportunity to draw with Mo himself. It also features hilarious performances by “The Storytime All-Stars” – an exciting roster of celebrity actors and comedians including Anthony Anderson (black-ish), Yvette Nicole Brown (Community), Rachel Dratch (Saturday Night Live), Cameron Esposito (Take My Wife), Tony Hale (Veep), Greta Lee (Russian Doll), Tom Lennon (The Odd Couple), Natalie Morales (Abby’s) and Oscar Nunez (The Office).

Mo Willems Storytime Shorts! is a collection of animated adaptations of the author’s beloved books, including Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!, Nanette’s Baguette, Knuffle Bunny Free, An Unexpected Diversion and many more. The shorts feature voice acting by Willems and his close family and friends.

Forthcoming projects from the author include:

Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed: The Underground Rock Experience – Premiering Summer 2022

Based on Willems’s New York Times best-selling book and the sold-out theatrical rock experience, Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed: The Underground Rock Experience is a one-hour CGI animated rock music special that wears its heart on its sleeve. Wilbur Mole Rat and all his Fellow Mole Rats in the Tunnel have always been, well…naked. But when Wilbur discovers clothing and a love for style, the Tunnel turns upside down! An animated hour of “underground” music and comedy about being comfortable in your own skin, this adaptation of the popular theatre experience will knock your socks on!

Willems and Tom Warburton co-wrote the script with original tunes by Willems and composer Deborah Wicks La Puma. Willems and Warburton will executive produce alongside Stampede Ventures’ Greg Silverman and Jay Judah, with OddBot Animation Studios serving as animation house. Megan Alrutz will also serve as producer on behalf of the Mo Willems Workshop. Songs are produced by Dan Petty, Doug Petty, and Michelle Lewis.

The voice cast includes: Jordan Fisher as Wilbur, the sensitive, curious and brave mole rat; Yvette Nicole Brown as Grande, a member of Mole Rat society’s popular crowd and front mole of the Tunnel’s Rock Band; Kate Micucci as Tall, a rule-follower with a heart of gold; Kevin Michael Richardson as Venti, a big lug that needs just two things in life: rocking out with his bandmates and being stark raving naked!; Carol Kane as Grand-Mah, the larger-than-life matriarch of the Mole Rat society; Ron Funches as Les Pants the Weather Mole; Thomas Lennon as Stark Naked the News Molel; and Jenna Ushkowitz as the Secret Service Mole.

Unlimited Squirrels – Premiering in 2023

Based on Mo Willems’s New York Times best-selling books for early readers, Unlimited Squirrels! is a hilarious animated series centered around Zoomy and an unlimited ensemble of Squirrel Friends who help Zoomy navigate new encounters and learn cool things along the way. Each episode will feature big stories, big facts, squirrely songs, and acorn-y jokes to keep young kids amused and stocked with an unlimited supply of fun, facts, and giggles.

Tim McKeon who is attached as showrunner, will cowrite with Mo Willems. Mo Willems is also executive producer with Stampede Ventures’ Greg Silverman and Jay Judah.


About WarnerMedia Kids & Family

WarnerMedia Kids & Family is the united group within the WarnerMedia enterprise that offers an expansive content slate on HBO Max and Cartoon Network. As the umbrella brand for all kids and family content, Cartoon Network reenergized its brand promise through its new tagline Redraw Your World, which empowers individuality and aims to be the place where kids are free to be themselves. With hundreds of hours of original series, specials and acquisitions, the WarnerMedia Kids & Family portfolio features its Cartoonito preschool programming block; a roster of upcoming animation and live-action originals that appeal to kids of all ages; and ACME Night, a weekend entertainment destination for families to enjoy a line-up of library favorites and blockbuster hits as well as new originals that will include Batman: Caped Crusader, Gremlins: Secrets of the Mogwai, Unicorn: Warriors Eternal, and more. A marquee collection of powerhouse brands and expertise marks WarnerMedia Kids & Family as a global leader wherever its brands live and engage with audiences all over the world.

About Cartoonito

Cartoonito is the WarnerMedia Kids & Family preschool programming block on Cartoon Network and HBO Max. Inspired by Positive Psychology and 21st Century Learning, Cartoonito is based on the proprietary preschool educational framework of Humancentric Learning, which aims to support every child’s humanness by celebrating their unique selves and encouraging them to treat others with compassion, respect and fairness. With a roster of originals actively in development, Cartoonito will offer modern programming that leans into WarnerMedia’s Kids & Family iconic IP that stems from Warner Bros. Animation and Cartoon Network Studios. Mush-Mush & the Mushables and Thomas & Friends: All Engines Go are among a slate of 20 new series now available. In addition, a portfolio of originals including Batwheels, Bugs Bunny Builders, Little Ellen, Tom and Jerry Time, new series and specials from Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit behind Sesame Street, and a collection of projects from bestselling children’s book author Mo Willems will add to thousands of hours of content from WarnerMedia’s legacy library and global acquisitions.

About The Mo Willems Workshop

The Mo Willems Workshop is focused on creating meaningful media that excites, expands, and encourages creativity and art making in children and former children alike. Author, illustrator, playwright Mo Willems serves as the Executive Producer, although The Pigeon has some ideas.

About Stampede Ventures

Stampede Ventures is an independent entertainment media company founded by Greg Silverman, the former President of Warner Bros. Pictures. The company’s lead investor and co-chairman is Gideon Yu, former CFO of Facebook and YouTube, and co-owner of the San Francisco 49ers. Additional investors include leaders from Silicon Valley, Asia and the U.S. media space. Stampede Ventures is on the forefront of content creation across the divisions of film, television, international and alternative programming. Their debut film, Pink Skies Ahead, premiered to critical acclaim at AFI Fest 2020, sold to MTV Studios and premiered on MTV on May 8, 2021. Stampede Ventures also recently inked an international First Look deal with CBS Studios.

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