Disney Junior's Emmy Award-winning live-action series, "Imagination Movers," starring the popular New Orleans band of the same name, introduces kids age 2-7 to the Movers' energetic style of music while emphasizing creative problem solving skills. The series features band members – Rich, Scott, Dave and Smitty – as "everyday guy" brain-stormers working hard to solve "idea emergencies" in their Idea Warehouse, a place of infinite inspiration. Though their customers are few and far between, the upbeat Movers approach everything they do with gusto, always eagerly awaiting the next person in need of help.
Each 30 minute episode features five songs presented in music video style performances by the band, bringing a rock-and-roll energy to every episode, as they solve the problem at hand. Three of the songs – "Imagination Movers" Opening Theme Song, "Brainstorm Song" and "Mover Music (Jump Up!)" – are repeated in every episode, while two new original episode-specific songs will be introduced in each installment. Through music and storytelling, the Movers and the series encourage kids to exercise their bodies and brains.
Through fast-paced music and slapstick-style fun, the blue-suited Movers identify an "idea emergency" and then brainstorm problem-solving techniques, test out possible solutions and by the end of each episode, have used teamwork to solve the problem. The problems are simple and often something one of the Movers is facing; for example, Scott has a bad hair day, Dave can't stop sneezing and Rich gets his foot stuck in a bucket. Other times, the source of the emergency is from the outside – a puppy shows up at the Movers door and a mysterious noise echoes through the Warehouse. And occasionally, the Movers even get a genuine customer.
To assist in their problem-solving, each of the Movers has his own prop, or gadget, inspired by his real-life persona. Artist and drummer, Rich, who is also the logical thinker of the group, has "scribble sticks," which symbolize his artistic personality and former career as a journalist. Wide-eyed optimist and dreamer, Scott, who plays the mandolin, has "wobble goggles," reflecting his former life as an award-winning grade school teacher and his ability to see a situation from all perspectives. Inventor and bass player, Dave has a "gadget hat," which showcases his crafty personality and former job as an architect; and guitarist and adventurer, Smitty is charged with his "Journal," which reflects his adventurous Indiana Jones-like scholarly persona and his real-life role as a New Orleans firefighter.
Often joining the Movers on their problem-solving adventures is their friendly neighbor, Nina. Fun, bouncy and full of curiosity, Nina is always looking for a reason to visit her exciting Mover neighbors.
The Idea Warehouse itself serves as its own character of sorts in the show. A fantastical space built by the Movers, the Warehouse is an oversized playground filled with imaginative rooms, spaces and gadgets. At the center is the Think Tank, the Movers' primary workspace, which is surrounded by colorful never-ending hallways leading to a wide array of Willy Wonka-esque rooms – the Drum Room, the Squeaky Toy Room, the Noisy Room, the Bubble Room and many others – with a different room being highlighted in each episode. Inhabiting the world beneath the Warehouse is Warehouse Mouse, a sometimes pesky little critter who wreaks havoc on a situation at the most inopportune time.
The Imagination Movers are Rich Collins, a former journalist and father of five young children; Scott Durbin, a former award-winning teacher and father of two young children; Dave Poche, a former architect and father of two young children; and Scott "Smitty" Smith, a New Orleans firefighter who was a member of the Hurricane Katrina search-and-rescue effort. Three of the band members lost their homes, as well as their production office, instruments and props to Katrina.
The quartet started writing music for their own children and went on to perform nationwide in high-energy, interactive rock/hip-hop concerts. Their funky, catchy songs, which have won over critics, parents and kids alike, are heard on satellite radio where they've topped the charts. They've won multiple national music awards and were named a "Parenting Pick" by Parenting Magazine.
"Imagination Movers" is part of Disney Channel's daily Disney Junior programming block for kids age 2-7. "Imagination Movers" is guided by an established curriculum that nurtures multiple areas of child development: physical, emotional, social and cognitive; thinking and creative skills as well as moral and ethical development. Guided by this curriculum, "Imagination Movers" is designed to encourage creativity, model problem-solving skills, foster independence and promote self-esteem in young viewers, as well as introduce them to the Movers high energy rock and roll style of music.
The curriculum consultant for "Imagination Movers" is Karen Leavitt, Ed.M., an educational consult specializing in child, family and educator-targeted research. Leavitt was previously Assistant Director of Research for Nickelodeon's "Blue's Clues." In addition to her work on "Imagination Movers," Leavitt is also Director of Research for multiple Playhouse Disney series including "Bunnytown," "Mickey Mouse Clubhouse" and "My Friends Tigger & Pooh."
The executive producers of "Imagination Movers" are prolific music video and documentary producers, Skot Bright and Sascha Penn ("Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers: Runnin' Down a Dream," "Dave Chappelle's Block Party"); Collins, Durbin, Poche and Smith are co-executive producers, as is Emmy Award-winning writer/producer Rick Gitelson ("Handy Manny," "Rugrats").
The new Disney Junior programming block on Disney Channel reflects the emotional connection generations of consumers have to Disney storytelling and Disney characters, both classic and contemporary. It invites mom and dad to join their child in the Disney experience of magical, musical and heartfelt stories and characters, while incorporating specific learning and development themes designed for kids age 2-7. Disney Junior’s animated and live action series blend Disney’s unparalleled storytelling and characters kids love deeply with learning, including early math, language skills, healthy eating and lifestyles, and social skills. Disney Junior is available on basic cable in more than 99 million U.S. homes (via a daily block on Disney Channel) and to millions of other viewers on 25 Disney Junior channels (fka Playhouse Disney channels) and free-to-air broadcast partners around the world. It is also seen via subscription video-on-demand and a broadband website, DisneyJunior.com. In 2012 Disney Junior will add a basic cable and satellite channel in the U.S.