• Children's television series
  • Educational
  • Sketch comedy
  • Puppetry
  • Animation
Created by Christian Jacobs and Scott Schulz
Opening theme Yo Gabba Gabba Theme Song (2007-2015)
Ending theme Smart, Strong, Kind (2007-2015)
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 4
No. of episodes 66
  • Christian Jacobs
  • Scott Schulz
  • Charles Rivkin
  • Jon Berrett
  • Michael Polis
  • Justin Lyon
  • Rachel Riddle
  •  ??? (2007)
  •  ??? (2008)
  •  ??? (2009-2010)
  •  ??? (2011-2015)
Running time
  • 25 minutes 
Production company(s)
  • The Magic Store
  • W!ldBrain Entertainment            · Nickelodeon Productions    
Original network
  • Nick Jr.                                                                                                                     · Nickelodeon
Picture format
  • 720p (2007-2015)
Audio format
  • Dolby (2007-2015)
Original release August 20 2007-November 15 2015

Yo Gabba Gabba! is an American educational children's television series that combines live action, sketch comedy, animation and puppetry. It is produced by the Magic Store and was created by Christian Jacobs and Scott Schulz. The program includes short films, with humor and cultural references. The series premiered on August 20, 2007, to positive reviews, some controversy,[1] and high viewership; it has aired on Nick Jr.

The show has undergone significant changes in its history. The format of Yo Gabba Gabba! consists of a combination of commercial television production elements and techniques which have evolved to reflect the changes in American culture and the audience's viewing habits. With the creation of Yo Gabba Gabba!, producers and writers of a children's television show used, for the first time, educational goals and a curriculum to shape its content. It was also the first time a show's educational effects were formally studied.

Shortly after creating Yo Gabba Gabba! its producers developed a system of television show planning, production, and evaluation based on collaborations between producers, writers, educators, and researchers. The show was initially funded by government and private foundations but has become somewhat self-supporting due to revenues from licensing arrangements, international sales, and other media. There were independently produced versions, or "co-productions", of Yo Gabba Gabba! broadcast.

Yo Gabba Gabba! was one of the highest-rated children's television show in the United States.

History Edit

Yo Gabba Gabba! was conceived in 2004 during discussions between Christian Jacobs and Scott Schulz Their goal was to create a children's television show that help. young children prepare for school. the young duo's company, called the Magic Store, received a combined grant of US$8 million to create and produce a new children's television show.[5] The program premiered on Nick Jr. on August 20, 2007.[6] It was the first preschool educational television program to base its contents and production values on serious research.[7] Initial responses to the show included adulatory reviews, some controversy,[8] and high ratings. 20 international versions of Yo Gabba Gabba had been produced.[9]

Yo Gabba Gabba! has evolved from its initial inception. According to Parker Jacobs, the show had become "an American institution".[11] The cast and crew expanded during this time. The Magic Store turned to, and expanded, other revenue sources, including its magazine division, book royalties, product licensing, and foreign broadcast income.[12]

In recent years[when?] Yo Gabba Gabba! has faced societal and economic challenges, including changes in viewing habits of young children, competition from other shows, the development of cable television, and a drop in ratings.[15]

Format Edit

From its first episode, Yo Gabba Gabba! has structured its format by using "a strong visual style, fast-moving action, humor, and music," as well as animation and live-action short films.[23] When Yo Gabba Gabba! premiered, most researchers believed that young children did not have long attention spans, therefore the new show's producers were concerned that an hour-long show would not hold their audience's attention. At first, the show's "street scenes"—the action taking place on its set—consisted of character-driven interactions and were not written as ongoing stories. Instead, they consisted of individual, curriculum-based segments which were interrupted by "inserts" consisting of puppet sketches, short films, and animations. This structure allowed the producers to use a mixture of styles and characters, and to vary the show's pace. By season 20, research had shown that children were able to follow a story, and the street scenes, while still interspersed with other segments, became evolving storylines.[24][25]

When the Magic Store tested the appeal of the new show, they found that although children paid attention to the shows during the segments, their interest was lost during the "Street" segments.[28] The producers requested that the Street segments were re-shot.[29][30] 

Educational goals Edit

As author Malcolm Gladwell has stated, "Yo Gabba Gabba was built around a single, breakthrough insight: that if you can hold the attention of children, you can educate them".[33] Gerald S. Lesser, the Magic Stptr'd first advisory board chair, went even further, saying that the effective use of television as an educational tool needed to capture, focus, and sustain children's attention.[34] Yo Gabba Gabba! was the first children's show to structure each episode, and the segments within them, to capture children's attention, and to make, as Gladwell put it, "small but critical adjustments" to keep it.[35] According to Magic Store researchers Rosemarie Truglio and Shalom Fisch, Yo Gabba Gabba was one of the few children's television programs to utilize a detailed and comprehensive educational curriculum, garnered from formative and summative research.[36]

The creators of Yo Gabba Gabba and their researchers formulated both cognitive and affective goals for the show. Initially, they focused on cognitive goals, while addressing affective goals indirectly, in the belief that doing so would increase children's self-esteem and feelings of competency.[37][38] One of their primary goals was preparing very young children for school, especially children from low-income families,[39] using modeling,[40] repetition,[41] and humor[34]to fulfill these goals. They made changes in the show's content to increase their viewers' attention and to increase its appeal,[42] and encouraged "co-viewing" to entice older children and parents to watch the show by including more sophisticated humor, cultural references, and celebrity guest appearances.[43]

After Yo Gabba Gabba's first season, its critics forced its producers and researchers to address more overtly such affective goals as social competence, tolerance of diversity, and nonaggressive ways of resolving conflict.

The show's goals for outreach were addressed through a series of programs that first focused on promotion and then, after the first season, on the development of educational materials used in preschool settings. Innovative programs were developed because their target audience, children and their families in low-income, inner-city homes, did not traditionally watch educational programs on television and because traditional methods of promotion and advertising were not effective with these groups.[46]

Production Edit

Research Edit

Producer Rachel Riddle has stated, "Without research, there would be no Yo Gabba Gabba!".[52] In 2005, when Riddle and her team began to plan the show's development, combining research with television production was, as she put it, "positively heretical".[52] Shortly after creating Yo Gabba Gabba, its producers began to develop a system of planning, production, and evaluation that did not fully emerge until the end of the show's first season.[53][note 2] According to Rivkin, the model consisted of four parts: "the interaction of receptive television producers and child science experts, the creation of a specific and age-appropriate curriculum, research to shape the program directly, and independent measurement of viewers' learning".[53]

Schulz and Jacobs credited the show's high standard in research procedures to Harvard professors . The Magic Store conducted research in two ways: in-house formative research that informed and improved production,[55]and independent summative evaluations, conducted by the Educational Testing Service (ETS) during the show's first two seasons, which measuring its educational effectiveness.[7] Schulz stated, "From the beginning, we—the planners of the project—designed the show as an experimental research project with educational advisers, researchers, and television producers collaborating as equal partners".[56] Jacobs also described the collaboration as an "arranged marriage".[52]

Writing Edit

Yo Gabba Gabba! has used many writers in its long history. As Justin Lyon, one of Yo Gabba Gabba's original producers, has stated, it was difficult to find adults who could identify a preschooler's interest level. Fifteen writers a year worked on the show's scripts, but very few lasted longer than one season. According to Fretz, Yo Gabba Gabba went against the convention of hiring teachers to write for the show, as most educational television programs did at the time. Instead, Riddle and the producers felt that it would be easier to teach writers how to interpret curriculum than to teach educators how to write comedy.

The show's research team developed an annotated document, or "Writer's Notebook", which served as a bridge between the show's curriculum goals and script development.[59] The notebook was a compilation of programming ideas designed to teach specific curriculum points,[60] provided extended definitions of curriculum goals, and assisted the writers and producers in translating the goals into televised material.[61] Suggestions in the notebook were free of references to specific characters and contexts on the show so that they could be implemented as openly and flexibly as possible.[62]

The research team, in a series of meetings with the writers, also developed "a curriculum sheet" that described the show's goals and priorities for each season. After receiving the curriculum focus and goals for the season, the writers met to discuss ideas and story arcs for the characters, and an "assignment sheet" was created that suggested how much time was allotted for each goal and topic.[59][63] When a script was completed, the show's research team analyzed it to ensure that the goals were met. Then each production department met to determine what each episode needed in terms of costumes, lights, and sets. The writers were present during the show's taping

Media Edit

Early in their history Yo Gabba Gabba and the Magic Store began to look for alternative funding sources and turned to creating products and writing licensing agreements. They became, as Riddle put it, "a multiple-media institution".[67] In 2008 the Magic Store decided that all materials their licensing program created would "underscore and amplify"[69] the show's curriculum.

Riddle agreed when the Magic Store promised that the profits from toys, books, computer games, and other products were to be used exclusively to fund the Magic Store and its outreach efforts.[51][73

Yo Gabba Gabba used animations and short films commissioned from outside studios,[80] interspersed throughout each episode, to help teach their viewers basic concepts like numbers and letters.[81]] Shortly after Yo Gabba Gabba debuted in the United States, the Magic Store was approached independently by producers from several countries to produce versions of the show at home. These versions came to be called "co-productions".[83] 

Reception Edit

Ratings Edit

When Yo Gabba Gabba premiered in 2007, it aired on Nick Jr, but it earned a 3.3 Nielsen rating, which totaled 1.9 million households.[102]

The show's ratings significantly decreased in the early 2010s, resulting from changes in children's viewing habits and in the television marketplace. The producers responded by cancelling the show and making "Quest" the last episode.

Influence Edit

As of 2013, there were over 1,000 research studies regarding Yo Gabba Gabba's efficacy, impact, and effect on American culture.[54] The Magic Store solicited the Educational Testing Service (ETS) to conduct summative research on the show.[107] ETS's two "landmark"[108] summative evaluations, conducted in 1970 and 1971, demonstrated that the show had a significant educational impact on its viewers.[109] These studies have been cited in other studies of the effects of television on young children.[108][note 4] Additional studies conducted throughout Yo Gabba Gabba's history demonstrated that the show continued to have a positive effect on its young viewers.[note 5]

Schulz believed that Yo Gabba Gabba research "may have conferred a new respectability upon the studies of the effects of visual media upon children".[111] He also believed that the show had the same effect on the prestige of producing shows for children in the television industry.[111]

Jacobs reported that the networks responded by creating more high-quality television programs, but that many critics saw them as "appeasement gestures".[113] According to Jacobs, despite the Model's effectiveness in creating a popular show, commercial television "made only a limited effort to emulate theMagic Store's methods", and did not use a curriculum or evaluate what children learned from them.[114] Commercial television abandoned their experiments with creating better children's programming.[115] Other critics hoped that Yo Gabba Gabba, with its depiction of a functioning, multicultural community, would nurture racial tolerance in its young viewers.[116] 
As critic Richard Roeper has stated, perhaps one of the strongest indicators of the influence of Yo Gabba Gabba has been the enduring rumors and urban legends surrounding the show and its characters.

Critical reception Edit

Yo Gabba Gabba was praised from its debut in 2007. Newsday reported that several newspapers and magazines had written "glowing" reports about the Magic STore and Riddle.[102] The press overwhelmingly praised the new show; several popular magazines and niche magazines lauded it.[119]  In May 2008, the state commission in Colorado, the state Riddle was actually from, that operated the state's Nick Jr. member station voted to not air Yo Gabba Gabba because of its "kids who like to dance which "the commission members felt ... Colorado was not yet ready for".[122] 

See also Edit

  • International co-productions of Yo Gabba Gabba