WESTFIELD, NJ – A former Westfield couple, inspired by their daughter and her toy bunny, has created a new animated series for young children called Kate & Mim-mim, which debuted on Disney Junior on Dec. 19.
Scott and Julie Stewart, who now live with their three children in Vancouver, said that, so far, the show has been welcomed by viewers in their community and around the world.
The show previously launched in the United Kingdom in August, in Canada in September, Germany in December and, most recently, in France. Ratings have exceeded the Stewarts’ expectations.
“We’re hoping for the same result in the US,” Julie Stewart said.
The primary time slots for Kate & Mim-mim are Monday through Thursday at 8 p.m. and on Saturday and Sunday at 4:30 p.m.
The show features the adventures of the feisty five year-old Kate and her beloved Mim-mim, who travel together to the fantasy world of Mimiloo, where the toy rabbit comes alive and the two meet up with a lovable group of friends. Together, the characters explore themes of friendship, problem-solving and working together.
The couple got the idea for the show while living in Westfield, where they resided from 2008 to 2011.
Over coffee in their kitchen on East Dudley Avenue back in 2010, they watched their daughter Kate, then two-and-a-half years old, play with her special stuffed bunny, Mim-mim. Nearby, her older brothers William and Matthew amused themselves in their own imaginary play.
“It was just magical to watch how immersed they were in this world,” Julie said. “Kate [the character] is really a combination of all three of our children.”
The Stewarts, who once owned Gecko Kids in town and later ran an animation studio called Speakeasy FX on Central Avenue, had worked as designers, animators and showrunners in the adverstising industry.
“We absolutely loved having a business in Westfield,” Scott said.
At Speakeasy, the couple also worked as showrunners for a Sesame Street segment called Abby’s Flying Fairy School and discovered they loved creating shows for children.
Kate & Mim-mim is the first series they have created.
“This is our main priority right now but we do have other shows that are in the works,” said Scott.
Working on the new series is a family affair for the Stewarts. William has contributed some lyrics for the theme song, while Matthew is a “prolific” in generating story ideas, his mother said. Kate, now seven, has been taking the launch of the show in stride.
“She loves it. She’s not terribly affected by it because it’s been part of her life for so long,” Julie said. “She likes giving us story ideas.”