All-new Hi-5 for the U.K.’s Cartoonito

Hi-5 fever is hardly limited to their native Australia and—after a while—here in the United States. Nope, Hi-5 has been a hot commodity in 118 different countries, with both Australian and American casts and legions of fans for both.

So the news that a U.K.-based version of Hi-5 has been commission by the Turner Network should come as a surprise to no one:

Set to air on Turner’s preschool channel Cartoonito, Hi-5 will be produced by BAFTA award-winning production company Darrall Macqueen.

Forty half-hour episodes of the U.K. local version will be produced, with casting to commence next month. Also partnering on the U.K. series is free-to-air broadcaster GMTV who will begin showing the series in 2009 following Cartoonito’s premier in 2008.

Cecilia Persson, Vice President of Programming, Acquisitions and Presentation, Turner Kids Channels said, “Hi-5 has enjoyed world renowned success and we’re delighted to commission a U.K.-produced version. Each week the series will focus on some of HI-5′s most notable themes such as music, friends, animals, family and outdoors. Underpinned with an ethos of exercise and dance, it also has positive messaging of encouraging kids to get active.

Cartoonito has already put up their dedicated Hi-5 site. I’ll confess that the cast looks odd to me—perhaps because I’m used to the “regulars” from the American cast—but I’m sure the U.K. gang will be great in their own right, too.

And don’t forget the added benefit for Hi-5 fans on this side of the pond: While these episodes are slated for Cartoonito, with Turner at the helm you have to figure that eventually they’ll make their way over here, as well. And that means even more Hi-5 goodness for us to enjoy, even though the American version of the series is no longer in production. (It’s still airing on TLC weekdays at 7:00 a.m., and of course the Ty’s Toy Box Hi-5 Store still has you covered with all the Hi-5 stuff your kids want, but this is forty brand-new episodes we’re talking about. Excellent!)

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