Reboots and revamps are all the rage these days, most especially in animation. After bringing back Rugrats as a new CG animated series a few years ago, Nickelodeon is taking a similar appraoch with another beloved property with The Fairly Oddparents: A New Wish. While the original married fairy duo Cosmo and Wanda are still headlining this new series, Timmy Turner (their ward from the original series) has grown up and moved on. In his place is ten-year-old Hazel Wells adjusting to a new life in the big city. Luckily for Hazel, the pink-and-green-haired neighbors next door are coming out of retirement to make all of her wishes come true.

Ahead of the show’s premiere, we had the chance to chat with the cast and crew of The Fairly Oddparents: A New Wish including Hazel voice actor and executive producer Ashleigh Crystal Hairston, co-executive producers Dave Stone, Lindsay Katai, Ashleigh Crystal Hairston, and Daniel Abramovici as well as the original voice actor alums Daran Norris (Cosmo) and Susanne Blakeslee (Wanda).

Taimur Dar: Even before the pandemic, I think it’s safe to say there was a shift away from ensemble voice recordings. As hard as they are to coordinate, there is a magic to having all the actors together even just virtually. I assume Ashleigh, since you’re also a producer and writer on Fairly Oddparents: A New Wish, you were able to record with at least some of the actors. Could you discuss the voice recording experience on this new series?

Ashleigh Crystal Hairston: No, we actually all recorded separately for the entirety of the series. We started recording I think in 2021 or 2022. All of our records happened over Zoom. The three of us only had one ensemble record over Zoom. I still had so much fun. We were able to have so much chemistry that one time. I got to sit in on all of the records as a co-executive producer. That was fun. And I got to watch Daran and Susanne over and over again. They’re so funny. It’s a great energy every time we record.

Susanne Blakeslee: I agree. It’s just a joy to do. I don’t like being in a closet, especially on the hot days. [Laughs]. Other than that, it’s really fun. The only thing that Daran and I miss out on over Zoom is we used to match each other so perfectly. With Zoom there’s kind of a lapse.

Daran Norris: First of all, what they said. I think it’s an advantage for Susanne and I to have that personal in the same room experience together. Even though we’re not in the same exact space, we still have that history. We still have that flow and trust each other implicitly. We could be on separate planets, and we would still have great chemistry. Also Ashleigh as Hazel is a new character and that’s different. So I think that lends itself to the process.   

Fairly Oddparents A New WishDar: The voice director for the series is Meredith Layne. Funny enough, I hosted a panel at a convention at WonderCon and she was kind enough to be on it. Anyone familiar with her work like X-Men ’97 or Invincible knows she’s one of the best in the business. Can you talk about the experience working with Meredith Layne?  

Blakeslee: Terrible

Norris: Absolute torture. Misery!!!


Blakeslee: A great voice director is able to communicate and communicate in very few words. Meredith is brilliant at that. She can hear things really well.

Norris: I agree. She has a great ear. Again, she has that communication style where I get every reference that she makes. I understand when she says, “Can you do that less Pink Panther and more James Bond?” I get what she’s saying without her having to spell it out for me or hit me over the head. Sometimes you do have to hit me over the head. Her ability to communicate and get different reads and takes and to know when to move on is a skill in and of itself.

Hairston: I learned so much watching her. I got to sit in on all of the records. She’s got a vast resume of experience. And she’s worked on so many Nickelodeon shows and worked with so many iconic actors. It was a learning lesson for me just watching her and observe how she works with talent and calls takes and gets actors to the place that she wants them to be at. It was really, really fun working with her.  

Dar: As you mentioned, in Fairly Oddparents: A New Wish, Cosmo and Wanda have a new godchild, Hazel. How does this new dynamic compare and contrast with the one they had with Timmy in the original series?

Hairston: The dynamic is different in that in the original series Cosmo and Wanda were following Timmy Turner and his wishes were all over the place. In this version of the series, Cosmo and Wanda are game for everything. They are down for all of the adventures. They are three peas in a pod going into danger headfirst. They are trying to be supportive and her wishes because they recognize where her wishes are coming from. It’s more of an internal place as opposed to external. There’s a bit of character growth and confidence that Hazel can gain through her wishes.   

Fairly Oddparents A New WishDar: Another big difference in Fairly Oddparents: A New Wish is the fact that Cosmo and Wanda no longer disguise themselves as goldfish but actually have their own civilian identities. How does play out for you as performers?


Norris: That’s a good question. I think it’s fun because they have to adjust as well and do their own pretending. And they’re not good at it. That’s good material for comedy. It’s fun to have them in a different environment. They’re still Cosmo and Wanda but they have to learn how to do things a little differently.

Blakeslee: Exactly. There is learning. In the original series they never really learned from their mistakes. Or at least Cosmo didn’t. Wanda isn’t as confident to do whatever. She has to learn as well. Being the smart one she thinks about the consequences granting certain wishes. It’s been really fun.

Dar: Viewers will notice right off the bat that Fairly Oddparents: A New Wish is CG animated. CG for TV animation is pretty standard these days, but you had the added challenge of translating 2D designs into 3D. What really stood out with the animation is the depth with the texture, especially with the hair. Could you discuss developing the animated look for the show?

Daniel Abramovici: We wanted to keep the original shape language. When you’re working in 3D, it will automatically change because lighting introduces form. You render everything through a camera which has a virtual lens which behaves like a real lens and causes distortion. Early on we had a bit of a scare when we were processing our characters through the scenes and realized that the camera was distorting some of the characters. We thought we would have to render the characters with two separate cameras. All in all, it all worked out in the end. We introduced rim lighting which was something the original series didn’t have. It kept it 3D but also made it very, very graphic. We tried not to go heavy with the textures. We kept it very light so it stayed in that 2D realm.

Lindsay Katai: It’s funny you bring up the hair because they worked really hard on that.

Abramovici: We decided we weren’t going to do hair simulation because there was a budgetary restriction. We had to model the hair out of geometry and rig it like it was a character. We spent probably a month R&D-ing how this hair was going to move for Cosmo and Hazel. Luckily it turned out really well and we have this fully volumetric hair that has a life of its own.

Katai: Maybe sometimes literally!


Fairly Oddparents A New WishDar: There’s that famous adage in storytelling that the city is a character itself. That definitely holds true for the fictional settings in some of my favorite shows. This new Fairly Oddparents series takes place in Dimmadelphia. What kind of unique identity did you craft for this new fictional city and make it unique?

Katai: Dimmsdale was more of a suburb. I think it was in California. Early on we wanted to do a big city so we made an amalgamation of different Midwest cities.

Dave Stone: There were certain parts of Cincinnati. I grew up around Boston so there was a little bit of that in my heart. Philadelphia as well. I think the name lends itself to Philadelphia. When we were presenting the stuff early on in one of the meetings with Butch [Hartman], he actually suggested the name Dimmadelphia.

Katai: In the pitch I was calling it Dimmsopolis. [Laughs].     

Stone: We brought in some reoccurring characters from the original series with the Dimmadomes so we wanted to involve the “Dimm” thing.

Katai: It definitely does have its own character. Visually it feels like a much different place.     

Dar: You somewhat already answered my next question. I know Fairly Oddparents creator Butch Hartman has a producer credit on the new series. I’m guessing he isn’t working in the same capacity as he was on the original.  What kind of involvement, if any, did Butch Hartman have in Fairly Oddparents: A New Wish?

Katai: We would regularly pitch to Butch and [producer] Fred Seibert. They were very supportive. They were allowed to say they would want changes, but they never did. I think the Dimmadelphia suggestion was Butch’s most material contribution. They weren’t involved in the day-to-day but we would every now and then check in.

Stone: All the scripts and animatics have passed to their hands. They’ve seen everything as it’s grown.

Katai: They were pretty hands off.     

Dar: The new series features an incredibly talented voice cast. One in particular who caught my attention is the voice of Evin Dimmadome, Kyle McCarley. Most people are likely familiar with McCarley’s work in anime dubbing but he’s done some original animation like Infinity Train, which Lindsay worked on. Is it safe to assume that you recommended him for the role?  

Katai: I recommended him to the casting director and he knocked it out of the park. We also got Robbie Daymond involved because he was the voice of Jesse in Book 2 of Infinity Train.

Dar: The original Fairly Oddparents boasted some pretty notable guest stars over its run like Ben Stein, Norm McDonald, Jason Bateman just to name a few. Any guest stars for this new series that you can tease?  

Katai: We can tease that we have some fun guest stars! We were a little restricted by budget but we have some cool people playing in the sandbox. We can’t announce any names.

Fairly Oddparents: A New Wish premieres Monday, May 20 at 4:30 p.m. ET/PT on Nickelodeon.