[10/27/23 - 09:01 AM] First Lady of the United States Jill Biden and Former First Lady of the United States Laura Bush Join Nickelodeon, ATTN: and iCivics to Unveil Well Versed - New Animated Musical Short-Form Series Designed to Help Revitalize Civic Education for Kids With a curriculum guided by iCivics, the nation's premiere non-profit civic education provider for students, parents and teachers, the series of 12 music videos will launch across Nickelodeon platforms, Paramount+ and Noggin, beginning Wednesday, November 1.
[via press release from Nickelodeon]
First Lady of the United States Jill Biden and Former First Lady of the United States Laura Bush Join Nickelodeon, ATTN: and iCivics to Unveil Well Versed - New Animated Musical Short-Form Series Designed to Help Revitalize Civic Education for Kids
First Lady of the United States Jill Biden Joins Philadelphia Event; Former First Lady of the United States Laura Bush Echoes Support in Video Address
Announced at National Civics Day Event Hosted by Nickelodeon and ATTN:, Well Versed Explores U.S. Bill of Rights and Democracy Through Original Pop Songs Infused With Curriculum Guided by iCivics
Well Versed Launches Wednesday, Nov. 1, Across Nickelodeon Platforms, Paramount+ and Noggin
PHILADELPHIA -- First Lady of the United States Jill Biden joined Nickelodeon and ATTN: today to unveil Well Versed, a brand-new animated musical short-form series that aims to help teach kids about democracy and the U.S. Bill of Rights in fun and imaginative ways through original pop songs. With a curriculum guided by iCivics, the nation's premiere non-profit civic education provider for students, parents and teachers, the series of 12 music videos will launch across Nickelodeon platforms, Paramount+ and Noggin, beginning Wednesday, Nov. 1. During the event, former First Lady of the United States Laura Bush also echoed her support in a video address.
The news was announced today at a National Civics Day event in Philadelphia, Penn., hosted by Nickelodeon and ATTN:, a leading purpose-driven social storytelling company, with participation from: Dr. Biden; a video message from Mrs. Bush; and remarks from Shari Redstone, Chair of Paramount; Brian Robbins, President and Chief Executive Officer of Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon; and Matthew Segal, the co-founder of ATTN:.
In the First Lady's video introduction of the series, she said: "All of us - people just like you, your friends, and your family - have an important role to play in our democracy. Your role right now, as you continue to grow up and go to school, is to learn. Learn everything you can about the things you love, the things that make you curious, but also take time to learn your rights as a citizen. One way to do this is through a topic called civics, and sometimes civics can be a little complicated to explain. That's why this new series called Well Versed uses music, imagination, creativity, and most of all, fun, to help explain a lot of important ideas about citizenship and participation. Democracy only works when all of us get involved and stay involved. So get ready to jump in, raise your hand, and let your voice be heard. I'm proud of you, and President Biden and I are counting on you."
As part of her video message, Mrs. Bush said, "At the George W. Bush Institute, we're committed to strengthening our democracy. We believe that we need to inspire public trust, promote service, encourage civility, tolerance, and compassion among Americans. But it's especially important that we teach our children how to be engaged citizens... And that's why I'm grateful that the Bush Institute is supporting a new effort: Well Versed... The animated videos debuting here today will help young Americans understand how our government works and the importance of our democratic liberties... But remember, you don't have to be a President or a First Lady to contribute to our democracy. Each of us has the duty to be informed, engaged citizens, so today I ask you to join us in this important work. The future of our country depends on it."
Ms. Redstone said, "We are thrilled to launch Well Versed to teach our children about how the government works and the rights and responsibilities of being a citizen. Our goal is for these videos to be played in classrooms and homes across the nation in order to help address the enormous gaps in civic literacy today. We are very grateful for the support of First Lady Jill Biden and former First Lady Laura Bush, which underscores the vital importance of civics education in safeguarding our democracy for the future."
Said Robbins: "Nickelodeon since its inception has helped give kids a voice about the prosocial issues they care about the most, from the environment and community cleanups, to Kids Pick the President and now Well Versed, which combines a civics-themed curriculum with our brand's cool factor to inspire a new generation of active and involved citizens. We are honored and proud to partner with our friends and colleagues at ATTN: and iCivics to create and launch this short-form series across the entire Nickelodeon ecosystem of linear and digital platforms, Paramount+ and Noggin to help make the biggest, and most positive impact possible."
"Civic engagement is embedded in the DNA of ATTN:," Segal said. "That's why we're proud to launch Well Versed in partnership with Nickelodeon and iCivics. The series not only brings civics education to life with incredible animation and catchy lyrics, it also includes great music that kids will listen to on repeat. We're hopeful that our series invites audiences to celebrate their differences and participate in their democracy."
"As the country's leading civic education nonprofit, we know how important it is to reach students when they are young," said Louise Dubé, CEO of iCivics. "Civic education, like math and reading, needs to start early, with content that is age appropriate and relevant. The Well Versed series is a very exciting, new, and fun way to introduce fundamental concepts about American democracy. We are thrilled to partner with Nickelodeon and ATTN: in lending our educational expertise to these fantastic videos."
Told from a kid point of view, Well Versed centers on an animated group of diverse friends who introduce and musically explain a range of civics topics and concepts. With topics spanning the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights, to government structure and laws, the 12 music videos feature eight sing-along videos designed for kids 6-11 and four specially created for preschoolers 2-5.
The voice cast for Well Versed features: Tickwanya Jones (LOL Surprise: The Movie) as Jade, a funny 14-year-old who is passionate about community engagement; Mykal-Michelle Harris (Raven's Home, Disney Junior's Ariel) as Ava, Jade's optimistic seven-year-old sister; Michael Johnston (Teen Wolf) as Max, Jade's easy-going pal who is often uninformed about civics; Jamila Velazquez (West Side Story, Empire) as Carla, a popular and studious 12-year-old; and Jacob Pham (A Christmas Story at Ahmanson Theatre, Sesame Street) as Johnny, Ava's high energy and chatty friend who is curious about everything.
The music videos and civic topics covered in Well Versed include:
"Functions of Government" - Jade explains the functions of government, such as keeping citizens safe and protecting their rights, to Max.
"Rules and Laws" - Carla dives into the world of laws, explaining the history and purpose of laws in the U.S.
"Our Rights" - Through a medieval metaphor, Jade explains to Ava that the rights of citizens are like the armor that protects them against unreasonable rulers and governments.
"Branches of Government" - While cheering on their school basketball team, Carla explains the three branches of government to Max, using the players, referees and coaches to illustrate the checks and balances.
"It's All Local" - Jade outlines the importance of local government and how the people in the community are the best local decision makers.
"A Part of Something" - At the park, Jade gets recognized frequently for her community activism, inspiring Ava and Johnny to learn about different ways kids can get involved.
"Our Voices" - Carla compares voting for a school class party to voting in the larger world, explaining the importance of making one's voice heard and having a say.
"Differences, Disagreements, and Democracy" - When Jade and Carla argue about the school mascot, Max explains that disagreements should always be civil and based on evidence with a goal of compromise.
"Rules" (Kids 2-5) - On their way to school, Ava explains to Johnny that rules exist so everyone can stay safe and well.
"Differences" (Kids 2-5) - While eating at a diner, Johnny explains to Ava and Jade that everyone has different tastes, traditions and identities that make them special.
"Disagreements" (Kids 2-5) - When Ava and Johnny have a disagreement about what game to play next, she learns to take a breath and calm down.
"Do Your Part" (Kids 2-5) - Johnny explains to Ava why it's important for kids to be a good friend and neighbor, and how all contributions are valuable, whether big or small.
Beginning, Wednesday, Nov. 1, Well Versed will launch across Nickelodeon, Nicktoons, TeenNick, Nick Pluto channels, Nick YouTube, Nick On Demand, Nick App and Nick.com, as well as stream on Paramount+. The four Well Versed music videos for preschoolers will be available on the Nick Jr. channel, Nick Jr. App, NickJr.com and Noggin. The Well Versed Official Soundtrack album, from Republic Records: Kids & Family in partnership with Nickelodeon, will feature songs from the series and be available across all major streaming platforms on Friday, Nov. 3.
Since its founding, Nickelodeon's core mission has been to empower kids by providing information, experiences and resources to help them navigate their everyday lives. Through on-air programming like its Emmy Award-winning Nick News series and its Kids Pick the President multiplatform initiative, which Nickelodeon has held over the last ten presidential election cycles, the brand has engaged millions of kids across the country, helping them understand the electoral process and the role we all can play in making positive change in our communities. Well Versed joins Nickelodeon's recently announced Our World, an initiative that provides kids with ways they can upskill and be involved in driving solutions to challenges they face in their communities and in the world at large, as the next iteration of the brand's ongoing effort to enlighten and inspire a new generation of kids.
Since launching in 2014, ATTN:, a Candle Media company, has become an industry leader of delivering purpose-driven storytelling in a modern media landscape. While ATTN: works to reach broad audiences across all channels, it has established an especially strong expertise in reaching younger demographics, specifically Gen Z. Animation production services for Well Versed were provided by Candle Media's Moonbug Entertainment, an award-winning global entertainment company.
Well Versed is executive produced by: Matthew Segal, Jarrett Moreno, Danielle DeCourcey, Taye Shuayb, Jessie Surovell and Michael Vainisi for ATTN:, and Tom Werner. Dennis Kosh Jacobs for ATTN: serves as co-executive producer. The series for Nickelodeon is overseen by Eryk Casemiro, Executive Vice President, Nickelodeon Animation, Global Series Content. Kelley Gardner serves as Nickelodeon's Executive in Charge of Production for the series.
iCivics is the nation's leading civic education non-profit. Founded by Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, it develops free, nonpartisan, and engaging educational online games and educational resources that teach young Americans to be knowledgeable, curious, and engaged in civic life. iCivics content is currently used by up to 145,000 educators and 9 million students annually. All of its resources are available online at icivics.org.
ATTN: is a media company and social publisher that bridges entertainment with topical issues to create a more informed world. Masters of modern storytelling, ATTN:'s creative shop leverages its publisher roots to put brands at the center of culture and, ultimately, the center of attention. ATTN: is part of Candle Media, an independent, creator-friendly home for cutting-edge, high quality, category-defining brands and franchises.
Nickelodeon, now in its 44th year, is the number-one entertainment brand for kids. It has built a diverse, global business by putting kids first in everything it does. The brand includes television programming and production in the United States and around the world, plus consumer products, digital, location-based experiences, publishing and feature films. For more information or artwork, visit http://www.nickpress.com. Nickelodeon is a part of Paramount's (Nasdaq: PARA, PARAA) global portfolio of multimedia entertainment brands.