Mutt & Stuff is an adorable new series premieres Friday, July 10 and is about a unique school for talented real-life pooches and hilarious puppets. The series is the brain-child of legendary producers Sid and Marty Krofft (H. R. Pufnstuf, Land Of The Lost) and producer Bradley Zweig. Calvin Millan, son of famed animal trainer Cesar Millan (who is also a producer), is the series’ human star and plays the doggie academy’s teen teacher.
The prospects of a wriggling pile of pups sounds like heaven to many preschoolers; and not only are they cute, the dogs on Mutt & Stuff are talented too! Millan excitedly shares, “We not only have puppies, we’ve got about 15 other dogs, and they’re incredible! Some of our dogs can do everything but fly an airplane — but he’s working on it.” Millan is excited to introduce his young fans to Zippy (played by Jumpy), one of the dogs featured on the show. “He’s a celebrity dog. He’s been in a lot of movies and TV shows. He’s just a well-rounded dog. He can even do back flips — it’s crazy!”
One of the most charming characters on the show is Stuff, the giant, huggable dog who Calvin describes as “a genuine-hearted puppy who means no harm but sometimes gets caught in a little trouble.” He’s also Millan’s pet, best friend, and helps him out whenever there’s a problem that needs solving. Krufft says the duo remind him of “Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis. One is a responder, and the other one is the joke guy.”
In addition to adorable puppies and unbelievable dog tricks, the series balances moments of heart and comedy with a social-emotional curriculum that helps preschoolers with identifying and managing emotions, building interpersonal awareness and developing social skills.
Millan described on recently-shot episode in which a new classmate — a pig — comes to school and isn’t like everyone else. “The whole moral of the episode is that being different is okay and you should embrace begin different. Different makes you special.” Adds Krofft, “We’re helping kids be better kids.” The show also carries a message of pet adoption and responsible pet care based on Cesar Millan’s philosophies.
Marty told me that he was enjoying his retirement, but when he met Cesar Millan, he felt compelled to create another kids’ show. And when he met Cesar’s son Calvin, who was 13 at the time, he knew he had met his show’s new lead. “I knew Calvin was going to be a star,” he declared. “I gotta tell you I know the winners from the losers, and this kid is a major winner.”
The high praise isn’t lost on Millan, who humbly gushes, “There’s nothing I can say in response to those kind words; because every time I think about it I just start getting like ‘whoo!’ [emotional]. I just start getting goosebumps. It leaves me speechless. I feel like, ‘Wow! How did this happen? How did this come up?’”
Mutt & Stuff > Nickelodeon > Fridays at 10am ET/PT, beginning July 10
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