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'Classical Baby' Tunes In to Emmy Nom

27 Jul, 2005 By: Angelique Flores

Classical Baby features a diaper-clad conductor.

For its first prime-time special for babies and their parents, HBO Video has earned an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Children's Program. The special, “Classical Baby,” comes to video Aug. 30 (prebook July 26) as a three-disc set for $29.95.

Each 30-minute program is designed to engage a baby's imagination and serve as a learning tool through an animated, interactive introduction to art, music and dance. Classical Baby's diaper-wearing conductor leads an animal orchestra through music by such composers as Johann Sebastian Bach, Duke Ellington and others. Segments also pay homage to such artists as Claude Monet and Joan Mir? as well as choreographers.

“Also, we felt the show had to have themes that would have resonance,” said director-producer Amy Schatz. “For instance, we included segments about love between a parent and child, and milestones like learning to work.”

Classical Baby was intended as a tool for family bonding. It was created to appeal to children and adults, so it can be watched together by the whole family.

“We designed it to be sophisticated and simple, stimulating but soothing,” Schatz said.

The set includes a Parent's Guide to make the video more educational and includes interactive segments, information on the artists and music, developmental milestones, and activities for the family during and after the program.

“Classical Baby 2”will air on HBO Family Aug. 26, with the video to follow later this year, according to HBO.

Last year, HBO snagged the Emmy for Outstanding Children's Program with its “Happy to Be Nappy & Other Stories,” which is coming to DVD Sept. 6 (prebook Aug. 2, $14.98).

“The program teaches diversity by showing how real kids and characters in kids books celebrate how special it is to be different,” said Dolores Morris, VP of HBO Family.

The 30-minute documentary was developed when HBO realized no one else had tackled the issue of diversity using children and children's literature to teach both adults and kids, Morris said.

The program features interviews and profiles with children of different ethnicities and physical disabilities, with animated segments and illustrations from children's books. Segments include narration and poems read by celebrities including Mikhail Baryshnikov, Mary J. Blige, Isaac Mizrahi, Rita Moreno and Vanessa Williams.

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