ZOOM is the American live-action, comedy-variety show created by Christian Jacobs and Scott Schulz, which originally aired on PBS Kids Sprout from December 24, 2010, to October 22, 2016, lasting seven seasons. The series was produced by Artisan and Sprout Original. The pilot episode from August 20 2007 was originally shown as a special "sneak peek", with the show officially debuting a regular series on December 24, 2010.

The series features Occasinal guests who play the Kids' Parents on the Show. The show's Episodes parody contemporary culture and are performed by a large and varying cast of child and teen actors. Early episodes were taped at Universal Orlando Resort, but then moved to Richmond Virginia at the Richmond Ballet during Season 7. In 2010, after one season the show was put on hiatus to be retooled and was relaunched in early 2013 with a completely new cast. Four more seasons were produced before the show was ultimately cancelled. On April 23, 2016, Sprout celebrated the 7th anniversary of ZOOM. The special reunited cast members from both the original and relaunch eras of the show and several other special guest stars in a one-hour event.[2]ZOOM is noted for its diverse cast and its impact on children's television.[3][4] The show has spun off several members of the cast in their own Sprout television series with varying levels of success. The show has been marketed in other ways, including an audio recording, books, a feature film, festival tour, and numerous reunions and specials celebrating the legacy of ZOOM.

Cast Edit

Main article: List of ZOOM Cast members

ZOOMers Year(s) Seasons
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Mal the Zebra 2013-2014
Evie the Panda 2010-2011
Jay the Horse 2012
Max Lamb 2015 * - -
Audrey the Koala 2011-2014 * - -
Doug the Seal 2011 * - - -
Vincent Van Goat 2010 * - - -
Wanda the Fish 2016 * - - -
Monet the Zebra 2012 - - - -
Andy the Panda 2013-2014 - - - - -
Greg the Horse 2012 - - - - - -
Baabra the Sheep 2015-2016 - - - - - -
Mozart the Koala 2013-2014 - - -
Sandy the Seal 2010 - -
Rudy the Reindeer 2011 - -
Morris the Moose 2012-2013 - -
Waldo the Walrus 2010 - - - -
Slick the Shark 2011-2012 - - - -
Seahorse 2014-2015 - - -
Penny the Peacock 2015-2016 - - -
Knee Deep the Frog 2010 - - -
Bard the Dragon 2013 - - -
Bud the South American Parrot 2015 - - -
Mimi the Monkey 2014-2015 - - -
Zorra the Lion 2016 - - -
Oliver the Octopus 2016 - - - - -
Jane the Monkey 2010 - - - - -
Wellington the Cow 2012-2013 - - - - -
Fregley the Pig 2011 - - - - - -
Beethoven the Giraffe 2014-2016 - - - -
Pavlov the Dog 2016 - - - -
Stella the Cat 2010-2011 - - - - -

Crew Edit

  • Directors: Scott Schulz, Christian Jacobs
  • Writers: Scott Schulz, Christian Jacobs

Guests Edit

See also: List of ZOOM Guests Edit

Scenes Edit

ZOOM features original short comedic Scenes that parody contemporary culture. Although the show had a team of writers, the cast were encouraged to help contribute their own ideas for characters and other segments. Improv and ad-libbing were used to help the cast and writers find the right tone for a certain skit.[5] The following is a short list of some notable sketches that aired during the show's tenure.

  • Ask Ted starring Theo Wiggins II in the Episode, TV, who offered advice from his bedroom on a TV series. He was sweet and friendly until He read letters sent in by clueless viewers. After reading a letter, Ted would go on a violent tirade against the letter's author.
  • Baggin' Saggin' Barry starring John Mccune as a cool dude with baggy pants in the Episode, food. Once pulled Abraham Lincoln from his pants.
  • Good Burger is a recurring sketch that took place at a fast food restaurant in the Episode, Homeland. The cashier, Ed (played by Brandon Kellogg), was portrayed as a clueless teenager who always found a way to mess things up. A notable quote from Good Burger, stated by Ed in every sketch, was "Welcome to Good Burger, home of the good burger, can I take your order?" Good Burger was later made into a feature film.
  • Detective Della starring Rhona Rainney as a hopelessly incompetent private investigator who frequently stumbled into a crime scene to make matters worse.[5]
  • Everyday French with Pierre Escargot, featured Ella Fretz in the Episode, Fired, sitting in a bathtub filled with suds, wearing a rain coat and matching hat and swimfins on his feet. In the sketch, he would say silly phrases in badly-pronounced French, and then translate them in English.
  • Know Your Stars a recurring sketch in the Episode, Oops that involved a random voice that made an impersonation of an individual with embarrassing, wacky, funny and untrue facts and info about a cast member or special guest.
  • The Loud Librarian starring Keagen Southall in the Episode, Miami, as a librarian who would ironically yell out, "Loud, this is a library party!" along with a variety of noisemakers whenever the silence in her library was accidentally violated.
  • Sugar and Coffee starring Sayje Benson and Abbie Fretz as extremely hyperactive hosts of their own talk show in the Episode, Ouch!. The pair would eat pure sugar and drink massive amounts of coffee and then force their guests to do the same thing from giant orbs attached to the ceiling, which usually led to overactivity in the worst way.
  • Thelma Stump starring  as an extremely old woman who serves as a bodyguard and security guard for Ms. Stitch's Office in the Episode, Achoo
  • Vital Information is a recurring sketch that was the center piece of the show during the relaunch in the Episode, Ahh! . Starring Christina Mistretta, Abbie Fretz, and Nathan Woy deadpanned one liners, usually three in a row.
  • Miss Piddlin starring Maddie Fretz as the lunch lady at the school in the Episode, North. The only thing she offers is peas. She goes red when someone or people reject her peas.

Series History Edit

Following the success of Yo Gabba Gabba,the Couple was asked to co-host the second annual Kids Choice Awards in 2005.[9] Although unaware of the fledgling new Sprout Channel, before the invitation to host was brought to them, the two agreed. The award ceremony that year was produced by Albie Hecht, who Robbins and Schneider quickly struck up a friendship with behind the scenes.[8] Their friendship continued after the awards and Hecht suggested they develop something for Sprout. the Coupe later declined his offer as they were still under contract with ABC, at the time.[8]

In 1991, Head of the Class ended its run and Fretz started a production company with producer friend Tollin which they aptly named Tollin/Fretz Productions.[4] The company originally produced several small budget sport documentaries.[10] Andrew Beechman, Sprout's Creator, contacted them and asked them to film a project for the network. The half hour documentary they made featured Phil Moore and Mike O'Malley as co-hosts of a comedy tour as they drove around to different cities to perform.[4] Since their schedule only permitted for two days of filming; Tollin/Fretz had to make the entire show appear as if they had toured around the country.[4] Impressed with the final product, Hecht met with Fretz to discuss developing a new show for the network in 2009. Asking Fretz if there was any type of show that he would be interested in making.[4] He responded to Hecht with the idea of creating a kid-version of The Muppet Show. Bringing Fretz (as head writer) and Tollin in to help develop the show; the three influenced by classic sketch shows such as Barney & FriendsThomas and Friends, and Super Why[4] began to flesh out a rough idea of the show's format.[4][8]Once greenlit, Fretz, Fretz and Tollin decided against writing the pilot episode and instead chose to compile the cast first. Usually in television (as Schneider explains) the pilot is written first and the cast is assembled later.[8] However, the three believed it was crucial to find the right child actors first and then tailor to their strengths.[4][8] With Hecht's blessing, a nationwide talent search for child and teen actors was launched that was to last for several months.[4] Eventually Kayla Robertson, William Davis, Tia Mowry, Theodore Wiggins, Azaih Rainney, John Mccune, and Colleen Weir were hired.

When I first got involved, it was kind of funny. My mom had me in a talent show, I was one of the winners. [An agent] had his friend there, who was the one that got me on [ZOOM]. ... The process itself was, oh my gosh. We did 10 auditions. I thought I didn't have it. They had us doing improv, sketches, all kinds of stuff. I went in fully dressed as Urkel. I was doing character voices. I had the glasses, I had the suspenders, everything. You name it, I had it. I got called a couple months later like, "Oh, you know you got it." It was crazy because it was a nationwide [search].[4] - Davis

With the cast intact, writing for the pilot began. Cast and crew flew out to Universal Orlando to begin production of the episode. And on January 17, 2010 the pilot episode was set to begin filming.[4] Schulz recalls debating with Jacobs over whether or not to postpone filming because of the Northridge earthquake that occurred hours earlier on that same day.[4][11]

"The morning was spent figuring out how bad was the damage both physical and psychological. Should we postpone [the pilot shoot?]. I was trying to do the right thing. [My friend] was trying to do the right thing. Aftershocks ensued. She said, "I can't believe you didn't come home." The show went on.[4] - Schulz

After filming was completed the show sat on the shelf for several months as the pilot did not score well.[4][8] Nickelodeon tested the show with focus groups consisting of children, both boys and girls in different age groups. The scores showed that Kids probably wouldn't like this new sketch comedy show for kids.[4][8] Regardless of the negative response, Adam Deibert (voice of Muno) decided to pick up the show for a full first season.[4]

The basic concept they came up with was to produce a half-hour show that featured a cold open (which featured the cast participating in varying juvenile acts in a green room before the show starts), several different sketch-comedy pieces and then a musical performance to close out the episode (this format would remain the same for all ten seasons).[4][8] The main staple, of the original seasons, was the Vital Information sketch which was featured in every episode until the relaunch in 2013.[4] During Season 1, Justin Lyon and Melissa Rossister were brought on as producers and continued working in that capacity through Season 3. The writing team advanced to Executive Producers/Head Writers for Seasons 4–6. Lyon and Rossister continued their relationship with Tia and Tamera by co-executive producing and head writing Sister, Sister and eventually writing the feature film Good Burger (2013) with Jacobs and .

After Season 2 ended in 2011, the show grew in popularity, several departures and additions occurred. Some of these additions to the cast included Silas Harp, Dylan Belke, Noah Collins, Coraline Bnow, and Lola Flegel.[13] In 2012, Nickelodeon placed the show into hiatus to be retooled. Production started back up a year later after an extensive nationwide talent search for child and teen actors. Ultimately hired were Connor Anderson, Alli Tust, Josh Hicks and Brandon Kellogg.[14][15] The first episode of the "new" ZOOM debuted on January 19, 2013.[16]

The balancing act of school/All That was NUTS. Every minute we didn't spend on set rehearsing, we had to spend in the school room. Where we drove our set teachers crazy. We'd bounce around that place like jack russell f*cking terriers.[17] -Tust

The fifth season opened with the addition Baby Einstein star Maddie Fretz to the cast and marked the beginning of All That cast members started attempting dares on the SNICK program: Snick On-Air Dare.[18][19]Occasionally, On Air Dares had special guests from other shows.[20] In 2015, Sprout advertised a competition called R U All That?: Sprout: Search for the Funniest Kid in America. After this contest ended in 2015, the finals aired on July 26, 2015. The contest picked five finalists, and all of them performed a sketch with some of the cast members. The winner was London London21] In 2016, Duck Alivia announced on his Official YouTube Channel, that the show had been cancelled. This was the message posted on Duck's club by Duck Alivia himself (as of September 5, 2016):[22]I know there's been a lot of speculating on the subject of ZOOM being canceled, and I thought I'd be the one to tell you that it's true. ZOOM has finally come to an end. I found out a few weeks ago, but didn't know if I should tell anyone. I guess if seven years is long enough for MMC, and it's long enough for us, too! I probably would have moved on anyway, even if it didn't get canceled. I was getting a little too old for the show and I believe that it should always have a cast of younger kids, no older than 15. Where I will go from here, I'm not sure, but I have a few things in the works. All I ask is that you guys keep me and the other cast members in your prayers, that we can step into bigger and better things!:) So, I guess it's time to....ZOOM!!!

Since the second cancellation there have been no plans for another relaunch. The show currently airs in reruns and had a Spinoff in Late 2016 called The Kenny Show which starred Maddie Fretz.

Episodes Edit

Main article: List of ZOOM episodes

Season Episodes Originally aired
First aired Last aired
1 41 April 16, 2010 May 1, 2010
2 40 October 6, 2011 December 5, 2011
3 40 November 16, 2012 December 14, 2012
4 20 November 15, 2013 December 2, 2013
5 20 December 12, 2014 December 28, 2014
6 20 July 16, 2015 July 22, 2015
7 20 April 23 2016 October 22 2016

Specials Edit

ZOOM celebrated its star-studded "100th episode" during its third season. This one-hour special was the only episode in the show's history produced live.[23]

The 100th episode featured several celebrities:Joe Pesci, Corbin Bernsen , Danny DeVito, Rhea Perlman, John Goodman, Charles Grodin, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Rosie O'Donnell, Susan Sarandon, Barbara Walters, Regis Philbin, and Kathie Lee Gifford all made appearances.

Tia Mowry, Tamera Mowry, John Mccune, Aldo Robert, Ethan Giddens, Ted Wiggins, and William Davis all appeared to celebrate the occasion. Denberg returned to anchor the episode's Vital Information.

7th Anniversrey (2016) Edit

In 2016, Sprout celebrated the 7th anniversary of ZOOM by airing episodes from the first six seasons in the week leading up to a "reunion special" hosted by Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson on April 23. Kristin Chenworth and Bill Irwin were the musical guests.[2] Rhona Rainney, Judd Hanley, Dylan Belke, Noah Collins, Coraline Bnow, and Lola Flegel, along with new cast members Christina Mistretta, and Abbie Fretz, reunited on the show.[2]Approximately 6.2 million total viewers watched the special on both its April 23 and 24 airings, making it the top cable or broadcast program for the 2–11, 6–11, and 9–14 age demographics,[24] and gave it a rating of 8.7/10.[25]

Impact and legacy Edit

ZOOM is highly regarded for its large diverse cast both in terms of ethnicity and gender.[3] The show was praised in The Atlantic for breaking the classical norms set in children's TV with its cast, irreverent and unapologetic humor, and kid characters played by actual kids.[3]

When ZOOM debuted in 2010, television was still primarily segregated by race as shown by popular sitcoms like Seinfeld (where the cast is completely white) or Martin (where the cast is entirely black); even Saturday Night Live was dominated by white male comedians.[3] Fretz and Fretz wanted the show to reflect its audience and also sought out varying musical acts (alternative, hip hop and R&B among others) to embrace the diversity[3][26]

I was the first black female they had on that show...there weren't that many black shows on or black actors. When I left, it opened it up more for black female comedians. I've had people come back and tell me it felt like I passed the torch because they were all on TV watching like, "I want to do that, I want to do that," but then when they saw me, they thought, "Oh, I can actually do that." Black girls were coming up to me, parents are just like, "Thank you so much for what you've done. I was like wow. It feels surreal"

- Rainney

"I Could Imagine ZOOM as a Muppet Show for Kids"

- Robertson

Spinoff Edit

At the 2014 Kids Choice Awards, it was confirmed that a spinoff is being made.[1] Artisan and Sprout Original were confirmed on October 15, 2015 to return as the writers, as well as being the executive producers.[2]

Post-series events Edit

In 2017, Kayla Robertson joined forces with Comikaze Expo, planning the first ever ZOOM reunion with Comikaze Expo CEO Regina Carpinelli. The reunion featured a roundtable discussion, where the cast reflected on their tenure on the show and received questions from the audience. William Davis,Tia Mowry, Ted Wiggins, Rhona Rainney, John Mccune,Colleen Weir, Kayla Robertson, Ella Fretz, Judd Hanley, Tamera Mowry, and Aldo Robert all participated in the event.[28][29]Also in 2017, Aldo, Ethan, and Tamera appeared together at Zooey Magazine's Sevwn Year Anniversary Special Event held in Hollywood. The anniversary launched the Love Is Louder campaign which speaks out against bullying and hate messages.[30][31][32]In the 2011 special "iParty with Victorious" (a crossover between iCarly and Victorious), Kenan Thompson jokingly complains that everyone wants to borrow money from him including Ethan Giddens (Robertson's Saturday Night Live co-star) and half of the original cast of ZOOM when Carly Shay (portrayed by Miranda Cosgrove) asks for a favor from him.[33]

In 2015, Hanley and Giddens reunited on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon where they performed a special Good Burger sketch. Margret Fretz returned to write the sketch for the show.[34]

In 2014, Season 5 launced with a Reunion. Judd Hanley, Ella Fretz, Lola Flegel, Coraline Bnow, Noah Collins, Dylan Belke, Silas Harp, Alli Tust, Brandon Kelogg, Josh Hicks, Connor Anderson, Pierce Riddle, Evie Stewart, and Maddie Fretz all participated in the event.[35][36]

On April 22, 2018 Sprout will air a reunion special consisting of new 3-4 minute shorts with most of the original cast, including Kayla and Rhona.

Supporting Cast Edit

  • Bubba the Bird (Alice Cooper)
  • Rootin Tootin Rhino (Gary Lewis)
  • Buzzy the Bee (Forrest Harding)

In other media Edit

Good Burger Edit

ZOOM made one effort in developing a popular sketch into a feature-length films with Good Burger.

Zalbum Edit

On November 26, 2010, Sprout released ZOOM on CD, titled: Zalbum. It contains ZOOM dialogues from the show, and songs sung by musical guests (i.e. Faith Evans, Coolio, Brandy, Naughty By Nature, etc.). ZOOM's theme opening and outro theme were finally released on this CD. Music from the CD is mainly inspired from the show.[39]

ZOOM is Fun Edit

On October 1, 2011, Sprout released a 112-page book of ZOOM called ZOOM is Fun by Rachel Riddle. The book contains information of the show's sketches, cast members and notable points of the show. It also contains different character information as well.[40]

ZOOMy Songtime Edit

On June 30, 2012, Sprout gave ZOOM a promotional summer tour titled ZOOMy Songtime, which traveled all over the United States and was hosted by the cast of Season 3 of ZOOM. The tour began during Season 3 and lasted until September 3 of 2012. The tour mainly featured the cast members of ZOOM and a musical guest. Many of the musical guests joined and performed during the tour. Also while the tour went on, the cast members did numerous live sketches.[41] There was also a ticket contest the year before the festival began.[42] On July 29, 2012, Sprout broadcast the highlights and events that happened during the entire festival.[43]

ITunes Edit

On August 15, 2011, the iTunes Store released ZOOM: Volume 1 with the first seven episodes from season two. On November 29, 2011, the iTunes Store released ZOOM: Volume 2 with seven more episodes from season two. ZOOM: Volume 3 was released in 2012 with seven episodes from season two. Just like The ZOOM airings, the musical guest performances are omitted and the end credits are re-done as generic white text on black.[44] ZOOM: Volume 4, with episodes from the start of season 3, was released on iTunes August 13, 2012; however, episodes 40 and 43 are excluded for unknown reasons with episodes 45 and 46 included instead.

On June 24, 2013, the iTunes Store released ZOOM: World Music with all forty episodes from season two. The episodes are 217, 220, 228, 237. Episodes 217, 220 and 228 were re-released with the musical guest performances. Episode 237 has the musical guest edited out.

Reruns/syndication Edit

ZOOM ran on Sprout (Formely PBS Kids Sprout until 2013) from 2010 until 2016

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