Netflix and Hulu’s CoComelon is leaving streaming behind and going on tour, Abid Rahman of The Hollywood Reporter reveals. The children’s show is launching a fully-funded concert in the hopes of bringing the CoComelon experience to families in the United States. Led by EMC’s Michael Cohl, CoComelon Live! JJ’s Journey boasts a live production and features the channel’s rotating cast of characters, with protagonist Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt, or JJ. John J. Schmidt, as he is also known, and his friends will be played by real actors. Probably not an actual baby, but a mascot in a rather cherubic ensemble. The cast will be performing over 20 songs from the original series, now airing on Netflix, including a handful of new entries. Expect more details to come toward the end of the year.
Patrick Reese, general manager of CoComelon at Moonbug Entertainment who will help with the Netflix adaptation tells Rahman: “As we expand our hugely popular preschool show beyond streaming platforms and innovative licensing deals, we’re excited to bring our audience a fun, immersive, and exciting face-to-face CoComelon experience. Michael Cohl is an industry-leading producer with a long track record of working with the best artists and brands in the entertainment space and creating world-class live events. We’re thrilled to be partnering with him and the EMC team to transform our beloved animated show into a spectacular, in-person experience.”
Michael Cohl is a concert producer and promoter with 45 years of live entertainment experience under his belt. He’s had the privilege of working with some of music’s finest musicians; Barbra Streisand, The Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, U2, Michael Jackson, and Frank Sinatra are just some of those names. In this way, a Netflix CoComelon adaptation should be easy.
Netflix and Hulu’s CoComelon is a critically-acclaimed animated show that teaches kids good manners and respectable conduct the only way children might understand: catchy music, refurbished nursery rhymes, and cutesy three-dimensional sequences that appeal to both the eyes and ears. It features kids, grownups, and animals in the flux of daily living, singing their way through every obstacle. Lyrics are marqueed at the bottom of the screen to encourage audiences, young and old, to sing along. CoComelon started out in 2006 as an educational YouTube channel geared toward teaching toddlers the alphabet. ThatsMEonTV (as it used to be called) uploaded on-vocal karaoke videos about one to two minutes long.
In 2013, ThatsMEonTV became ABC Kid TV, a YouTube channel with exceedingly longer videos and animated nursery rhymes. It was CoComelon’s first significant foray into 3D animation, and it introduced the Netflix characters we now know and love: JJ and his siblings, brother TomTom (Thomas Watson, Jr.), and sister YoYo. The eldest in the CoComelon family, TomTom is an introverted 8-year-old Boy Scout. JJ is the youngest; he’s about 2 years old (two to eight; the number often varies depending on the song) and attends Melon Patch Academy with his best friend Cody. He has six siblings overall and owns a puppy named Bingo. YoYo is the middle child; a pigtailed girl beloved for her grit, she is about 7 years old. These characters, which have since been the face of CoComelon, were either digitally drawn or animated using motion capture technology. They may feature prominently in the live shows.
By 2018, ABC Kid TV kicked off its final rebranding paving the way for it to land on Netflix. The show finally became CoComelon, complete with a new watermelon logo and customized intro and outro songs. By the following year, CoComelon’s net worth rose to $120 million. Not bad for a YouTube channel directed solely for children and their families. To celebrate, CoComelon added content in foreign languages. Merchandise made to resemble JJ and his friends began circulating in 2020. By that point, CoComelon was already the third YouTube channel in the world to acquire 100 million subscribers. Netflix and Hulu picked it up, and it remains one of both streamers’ most-watched offerings. CoComelon eventually surpassed PewDiePie as the second most-subscribed YouTube channel. As of this writing, CoComelon has over 3.5 billion views on YouTube alone.
A live concert tour featuring the world’s most popular children’s show is pretty much primed to make musical history. Ed Sheeran, U2, and Guns N’ Roses currently hold rank as the highest-earning tours of all time. And yet if CoComelon could dethrone PewDiePie, it could best anything. Hopefully, those three are ready for the competition. Kawaii always wins.