Toys are an $80 billion-a-year industry, and in ABC’s eight-episode series The Toy Box (Fridays beginning April 7), entrepreneurs present their toy innovations in the hopes of creating the next must-have toy. The winning toy will be manufactured by Mattel — the toymaker behind iconic brands including Barbie, Hot Wheels and Fisher-Price — and will be sold exclusively by Toys “R” Us. The unique toys presented in the series run the gamut from silly to inspiring to downright bizarre, and each toymaker believes they have created the next Hatchimal, Cabbage Patch Kid or Tickle Me Elmo.
But first, they need to impress a panel of toy-industry experts and mentors, including Dylan Lauren, owner of Dylan’s Candy Bar; Jen Tan, Pixar’s creative director of consumer products; and toy guru Jim Silver. If the product earns the mentors’ approval, it heads into “the toy box,” where it’s passed into the quippy and toy-loving hands of a panel of pint-sized experts: Sophia Grace Brownlee (The Ellen DeGeneres Show), Aalyrah Caldwell (Uncle Buck), Toby Grey (The Unexpected John Cena Prank) and Noah Ritter (The Ellen DeGeneres Show). These future consumers decide which toy makes it to the finals, and which ultimately wins.
Modern Family’s Eric Stonestreet hosts the fun and family-friendly series that we wish they’d titled Gummy Shark Tank: It doesn’t have a lot of teeth, but it’s very, very sweet.
The Toy Box > ABC > Fridays beginning April 7 at 8/7c