Sarah Maizes | Source: Herschend Entertainment Studios/The Toy Book

Herschend Entertainment Studios (HES) is riding the rails into the holiday season and beyond.

The company behind the updated animated series, Chuggington: Tails from the Rails hired industry veteran and Sarah Maizes to serve as senior director of development and executive producer. In her new role, Maizes will work to create a new development and production slate as the company seeks to identify and develop new franchises for TV, film, publishing, and more. She will work alongside and report to Julie Phillips, vice president of development and production.

“We are proud to welcome Sarah to the HES team. Her experience as a creative executive in kids and family entertainment on both the live-action and animation sides will be an asset to the company as we further expand our franchise slate,” Phillips says. “Sarah brings a unique and innovative perspective and we look forward to creating fresh and exciting family-friendly entertainment with her.”

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Maizes previously served at the Jim Henson Co. where she led development and production for Harriet the Spy (Apple TV+); Duff’s Happy Fun Bake Time (Discovery/Food Network); Dinosaur Train: The Movie (Universal/PBS); Dinosaur Train (PBS); Dot (Sprout/Hulu); and Doozers (Sprout/Hulu). Prior to her work at Henson, Maizes oversaw development and production for the first season of Dino Dana and the third season of Tumble Leaf. She most recently founded her own company, Cheeky Squirrel Productions.

Chuggington Pop & Transform Chugger Collection | Source: Alpha Group U.S.

Just in time for the holiday season, Herschend Entertainment Studios and Alpha Group U.S. are launching a new line of Chuggington toys in support of the new series. The range includes the Pop & Transform Chugger Collection, featuring Wilson, Brewster, and Koko; Remote Control Wilson; the Touch And Go motorized Safari Park Track Set; and the All Aboard Starter Set.

Chuggington toys are available online through Amazon, Target, and Walmart, and will be available at select Barnes and Noble stores in addition to its website.

About the author

James Zahn

James Zahn

James Zahn, AKA The Rock Father, is Editor-in-Chief of The Toy Book, a Senior Editor at The Toy Insider and The Pop Insider, and Editor of The Toy Report, The Toy Book‘s weekly industry newsletter. As a pop culture and toy industry expert, Zahn has appeared as a panelist and guest at events including Comic-Con International: San Diego (SDCC) Wizard World Chicago, and the ASTRA Marketplace & Academy. Zahn has more than 30 years of experience in the entertainment, retail, and publishing industries, and is frequently called upon to offer expert commentary for publications such as Forbes, Marketwatch, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, USA Today, Reuters, the Washington Post, and more. James has appeared on History Channel’s Modern Marvels, was interviewed by Larry King and Anderson Cooper, and has been seen on Yahoo! Finance, CNN, CNBC, FOX Business, NBC, ABC, CBS, WGN, The CW, and more. Zahn joined the Adventure Media & Events family in 2016, initially serving as a member of the Parent Advisory Board after penning articles for the Netflix Stream Team, Fandango Family, PBS KIDS, Sprout Parents (now Universal Kids), PopSugar, and Chicago Parent. He eventually joined the company full time as a Senior Editor and moved up the ranks to Deputy Editor and Editor-in-Chief.