|Type||Television production company|
|Headquarters||New York City, New York|
|Josh Selig (former CEO)|
Sharon Gomes (former COO)
3rd & Bird
|Owner||Studio 100 (2017–2023)|
Little Airplane Productions, Inc. was an American television production company co-founded by Josh Selig and Lori Shaer (née Sherman) in 1999. The company produced Oobi for Noggin, Wonder Pets! for Nickelodeon, and 3rd & Bird for the BBC. It also released independent short films. In 2017, the company was bought by Studio 100, which entered a co-production agreement to create the comedy series Doctor Space with Little Airplane.
The company's main studio was located in New York City's South Street Seaport. Filming, animation, design, and storyboarding work were completed in a 12,000 square feet (1,100 m2) building. The studio also had a recording facility for voice-over and music. In mid-2007, the company opened new studios in London and Abu Dhabi, following the announcement of 3rd & Bird.
Lori Shaer left Little Airplane in 2002, but she continued to be given a "special thanks" credit on the second and third seasons of Oobi. Josh Selig left the company in 2020.
In June 2023, Little Airplane announced that it was "closing shop" and would be replaced by a "new company," called Terribly Terrific Productions.
Both Josh Selig and Lori Shaer (named Lori Sherman until her marriage) worked for Sesame Workshop in the mid-1990s. After being laid off, Selig partnered with Shaer to open a studio in New York City. For the first year, they both worked out of a "one-room office in Tribeca" and did not make much money.
Selig explained that they called their payment formula "a third, a third and a third, meaning every time we finished a small production job, we would split whatever profit was left in the budget three ways. Lori got a third. I got a third. And Little Airplane got a third. That first year we both earned less than the guy washing our windows."
The name "Little Airplane" was derived from a 1994 short film that Selig had produced for Sesame Street called "I'm a Little Airplane." At first, Little Airplane only produced similar live-action content, including Oobi and a film called The Time-Out Chair. The studio did not create its own animation until creative director Jennifer Oxley joined the staff. She developed a style of animation called "photo-puppetry" that was used in many of the studio's later works, including Wonder Pets! and 3rd & Bird.
The Wonder Pets! episode "Kalamazoo!" was intended to be a backdoor pilot for a spin-off series, centering on the character Ming-Ming and her brother Marvin. Selig pitched the spin-off to Nickelodeon after the final season of Wonder Pets! wrapped, but Nickelodeon did not pick up the spin-off or any additional episodes of the series.
In 2008, Sesame Workshop hired Little Airplane to "produce a bible for a series in development," but the project did not materialize.
In 2009, Little Airplane Productions created a non-profit initiative called "The Little Light Foundation". The Foundation's first project was the animated series The Olive Branch for the Nick Jr. Channel.
In the summer of 2009, Little Airplane Productions launched the Little Airplane Café. Laurie Berkner opened the restaurant in July 2009. Her performance was broadcast live on SiriusXM. Guests have included Jon Scieszka, Milkshake, and Suzi Shelton.
Little Airplane Academy offers a three-day workshop twice a year at the company's South Street Seaport studios. Participants learn the fundamentals of creating a preschool series including pitching, writing, character design, directing and producing live action and animated shows. In 2009, the Academy ran a one-day writing workshop with Susan Kim. Little Airplane has also hosted workshops in Qatar, England, and Norway.
she moved into children's television working at Sesame Street and then launched a children's production company, Little Airplane Productions.
Recorded at Little Airplane Productions, New York City