ABC has announced a partnership with Mattel to create a new reality competition series where toy inventors will meet up with some of the world's harshest critics, children, for a chance to create the next biggest toy sensation. In a press release from ABC, the alphabet network and Mattel Creations (content creation and distribution for Matttel, Inc.) have come together to create The Toy Box, where the winning toy will be made and distributed by Mattel immediately after the series finale.
"We are thrilled to provide a unique, behind-the-scenes look at the hard work, determination and creativity it takes to run a globally recognized, iconic creations company like Mattel," said Richard Dickson, the president and chief operating officer at Mattel. "I'm positive The Toy Box will inspire kids, families and anyone who's ever dreamt of creating the next great toy!"
Unlike shows such as Shark Tank, the participating inventors will have to go through a series of tests before facing a panel of children, who will decide the fate of each toy designed.
"The Toy Box is a unique and broadly appealing take on the popular competition-style television format, and we believe it will capture the imagination of viewers of all ages," says Rob Mills, SVP Alternative Series, Specials & Late Night of ABC.
Co-developed with Hudsun Media and Electus, The Toy Box will be the first major production project from Mattel Creations.
"In addition to being an entertaining and engaging program that kids and families are sure to love, The Toy Box also creates a new opportunity for Mattel to connect with its consumers in an authentic and engaging way," says Catherine Balsam-Schwaber, Mattel's chief content officer.
"With its mix of competitiveness, entrepreneurialism and fun, The Toy Box is sure to delight and excite kids, parents and anyone who loves to play. We are excited to bring the program to ABC viewers this season," says Chris Grant, the CEO of Electus.
The Toy Box show will be hosted by Eric Stonestreet, who is a big kid himself. Stonestreet is celebrating his eighth season playing the role of Cam on ABC's Modern Family. Last summer, he also made another name for himself: Duke. Stonestreet voiced the shaggy rescue dog in this last summer's hit animated film The Secret Life of Pets.
"I've always wanted to be in an animated movie — I pursued it when I was coming up as an actor and never really broke in," he told News.com.au.
He also credits Modern Family for his role as the canine.
"Obviously in animated features they want people to feel comfortable with the characters and the voices they hear, and there's no doubt when you hear my voice you know you've heard it somewhere before."
More than likely, Eric Stonestreet's voice will again be heard in animated form since a sequel to The Secret Life of Pets has been greenlit.
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Created in 1945, Mattel is the parent company of several toy brands, including Fisher-Price, Barbie, American Girl, Hot Wheels, Rock-Em Sock-Em Robots, and Monster High, as well as the creator of such games as UNO, Pictionary, Ker-Plunk, and Apples to Apples.
The Toy Box should premiere sometime during the 2016-2017 season on ABC.
[Featured Image by Diane Bondareff/AP Images]