‘StEvEn & Parker’ Animated Series Gets Book Deal With Random House

EXCLUSIVE: Online content creator Parker James is going from social media stardom to the book store shelves.

James and animated story studio Toonstar have signed a multi-book deal with Random House Children’s Books for titles based on their animated StEvEn & Parker series.

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The series will be adapted as middle grade graphic novels after being acquired by Phoebe Yeh, VP and Editor-At-Large for Crown Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Random House Children’s Book. Yeh is known for her work with the authors of The School for Good and Evil and Big Nate.

“I’ve been in the children’s publishing business for more than thirty five years, and as soon as I encountered StEvEn and Parker, I was completely taken and knew in my gut that StEvEn and Parker should be children’s book characters,” she said.

StEvEn and Parker is an animated series co-created by Dallas-based content creator James, with Toonstar as producer. The weekly YouTube series garners around 30 million unique weekly viewers between its English-, Spanish- and Portuguese-language channels, which use AI natural-language dubbing technology.

As we reported in January, LA-based Toonstar has launched an AI creators studio off the back of StEvEn & Parker‘s success. This aims to co-produce low-cost animation franchises through partnerships with popular digital creatives, using an AI-powered production engine that produces professional-quality animation quickly.

John Attanasio and Luisa Huang, veterans of DreamWorks, Disney and Warner Bros Discovery, founded Toonstar, which has funding from the likes of Founders Fund, Greycroft, Snap, Baron Davis and GFR. The pair claims that “contrary to prevailing sentiment in Hollywood,” AI is empowering a “new generation of IP and storytellers,” using James as the example.

“The fact that this 22-year-old in Texas, who was a great storyteller but had no animation experience, now has a global audience of tens of millions, a multi-book deal and more on the way, is testament to this, and is exactly what the entertainment industry needs right now,” said Attanasio. “We’re very excited to partner with Phoebe and Random House to expand the world of stEvEn & Parker.”

AI continues to disrupt the media landscape, developing at a startling rate and calling into question issues such as copyright, production and content development. Its proponents say it will be revolutionize how content is developed, produced and distributed.

Toonstar is repped by Untitled Entertainment. James is managed by Mark Fischer and Barbara Jones at Outshine Talent. The Random House deal was repped by Seth Fishman at The Gernert Company.

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