Barack Obama and Michelle Obama’s production company Higher Ground Productions has announced an animated preschool series Ada Twist, Scientist with creator Chris Nee and Netflix.
Kerri Grant (Mira, Royal Detective and Nella the Princess Knight) will serve as showrunner, co-executive producer and story editor. Wonder Worldwide (The Christmas Chronicles) is a producing partner on the project. Nee will executive produce with Mark Burton, Tonia Davis, Priya Swaminathan, Andrea Beaty and David Roberts. Dr. Knatokie Ford, former senior policy advisor at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy under Obama, and Alie Ward, a contributor to Netflix’s educational series Brainchild, serve as series consultants.
“I’m thrilled to be partnering with Higher Ground to bring Ada Twist to the screen,” Nee said. “As a fan of the books, I was taken with the diverse characters, striking designs and vital message that science matters. Plus, Ada fulfils my personal need to populate children’s television with strong girls who aren’t afraid to be the smartest kids in the room.”
Grant said, “It brings me immense joy to be a part of bringing Ada Twist to the screen. As a young, curious Black girl who grew up loving TV, I simply became accustomed to rarely seeing images that reflected me onscreen — and the ones that did represented an anti-intellectual stereotype that led me to hide my own light under a bushel. To be a part of bringing a show to kids that features a young, black girl being unapologetically the smartest kid in the room, in a world as diverse and visually stunning as the one created by the book series’ author and illustrator, fills my heart to capacity.”
The show is based on the book series from author Andrea Beaty and illustrator David Roberts, and centres on eight-year-old Ada Twist, a young Black scientist who will explore helping people through scientific discovery, collaboration and friendship, and solve mysteries with the help of her two best friends, Rosie Revere and Iggy Peck. The series also will feature real scientists to inspire young viewers.
Higher Ground Productions executive producers Swaminathan and Davis said, “The Higher Ground team was inspired to produce Ada Twist, Scientist by Obama and Mrs. Obama’s enduring commitment to young people, their education and knowing no bounds or limits to dreams for their future. Chris and Kerri’s show will ignite kids’ imaginations. This is exactly the type of show Higher Ground was founded to create — powerful, meaningful storytelling for the whole family.”
Netflix has ordered 40 12-minute episodes and will launch in 2021.