Nick Jr.’s “Dora the Explorer” will kick off its upcoming season with a week of episodes featuring an all-new voice-over cast, marking the first time since the show’s inception in 2000 that the cast has been altered.
“The motivation was practical more than anything else,” Teri Weiss, senior vice president of production and development for Nickelodeon Preschool TV, told the Daily News. “Our cast has just gotten too old for their parts. We feel lucky that the show has been such a success that we had to find new kids.”
New Jersey-born newcomer Caitlin Sanchez is set to fill the role of Dora.
“When I first found out I was going to be Dora, I couldn’t believe it,” Sanchez, 12, said. “I loved watching ‘Dora’ when I was younger, and my little sister watches it now. She can’t wait to watch the new episodes in September.”
Sanchez will be joined by Regan Mizrahi as Boots, Alexandria Suarez as Backpack, Jean Carlos Celi as Tico, Matthew Gumley as Benny and Lenique Vincent as Isa.
Weiss doesn’t feel the new voices will affect “Dora’s” viewership (it’s the No. 1-rated preschool program on commercial television). In fact, she doesn’t think audiences will even notice the difference, and the experts agree.
“I think it will be indistinguishable,” said Bill Carroll, Katz Media television group’s vice president of programming. “Given that it’s a huge franchise show for them, they’re going to do everything to protect it. I would anticipate that unless you started out listening to the former voice and then [Sanchez’s], you probably won’t even be able to tell the difference.”
Season five of “Dora the Explorer” will premiere Monday, Sept. 15, at 10:30 a.m., with new episodes through Thursday.
On Friday, Nick Jr. will air a five-hour marathon, including all four new episodes as well as “Dora” movies and specials from previous years.
Though the voices may be changing, the “Dora” format will remain the same, with one exception. In every new episode, Dora will meet a new friend from a different cultural background who will teach her a special skill inherit to that culture. Also this season, Dora will use more math to solve problems and will teach preschoolers multiword phrases in Spanish.
In addition to the new episodes, Nickelodeon will release a new CD, “Dora the Explorer Party Favorites CD,” featuring Sanchez’s vocals, on Sept.9.
“The CD contains popular children’s songs like ‘Itsy Bitsy Spider’ and ‘London Bridge,’ but they’re more moderned up so kids can sing along, too,” Sanchez said. “My favorite is ‘London Bridge’ because I love the beat on it.”
Source: NY Daily News