Dora — The Explorer turns 10
Nickleodeon Junior’s show completed a decade of educating pre-schoolers through simple adventures. Here’s a chat with Chris Gibbon, the co-creator and executive producer of Dora – The Explorer.Updated: Apr 06, 2010, 13:40 IST
We wanted to develop something to help pre-schoolers with their everyday issues. My daughter and son were young then. I would notice certain obstacles they face which you and I may not understand.
For instance, being unable to pour yourself a glass of milk or tie shoelaces. We wanted a show that empowered kids by using simple everyday knowledge. Like simple math or sometimes even dancing.
Will Dora ever grow up?
I don’t think so. As a part of the brand extension, they do increase and, sometimes even decrease the age, but that’s something totally different.
Over the last 10 years, your target audience must have grown out of the show. How do you manage to maintain a loyal audience bank?
We intend on keeping the focus on our core viewers, and not on holding them back or maintaining them. I hear stories of older people watching the show as well. It’s funny, but they do. We need to maintain a level of understanding for a three- year-old.
There are pre-schoolers ever year. We haven’t noticed any drop in the show’s following. We continue to be the number one show in over 140 markets and 303 languages.
Is there a reason why Dora is a Latina?
We were trying to reflect an audience in our shows. And we realised that we have all types of characters in our shows, but we did not have a Latin American one.
The audience bank there is also growing at a fast pace, that’s why it was important for us to reflect that in
Do your kids still watch the show?
My kids don’t watch the show anymore. Except at times we sit together and watch specials of the show.
What are your favourite children’s TV shows?
I’m sorry but I don’t watch too many of those. Though I like Sponge Bob and Avatar. Because you’re catering to such an impressionable age group for an audience, how careful do you have to be about the content?’
Very careful. We keep them involved in the process of making the show. After we’ve designed the basic story line of the show, we create a 2D, sometimes even black and white animatic and show that to the kids.
The feedback we get from them is important to know how the show gets made and finalised. On the basis of their reactions, sometimes lots of things have to be changed in the show. Their appeal is directly linked with their partnership with Dora, and that’s profound.
Is that difficult?
Yes, sometimes they just refuse to give comments and reactions. For instance, this one show, where Dora and Boots were rowing a boat across a river, to go find Boots’ boot, so we asked the kids to row with them while watching the show and they completely refused. So we don’t ask them in special cases.
Do you have a broad subject line that you design your show on?
We have a seven-point curriculum, which deals with multiple intelligences. We teach math, verbal education and languages, musical information, special, interpersonal. We cover seven different styles of teaching. So, we’re a solid education show but through multiple adventures of a seven-year-old.