Meet the imaginative powerhouse behind the über hit Blue’s Clues and the new sensation Super Why!
One day a fellow nursery school dad told me that one of the creators and writers of Blue’s Clues, Angela Santomero, lives in Greenwich. (The town appears to be a magnet for kids’ TV geniuses: Muppets creator Jim Henson, so essential to Sesame Street’s success, lived here from 1964 to 1971, and Barney and Friends creator Sheryl Leach lives here now.) The Santomero family — Angela and Greg and their daughters Hope and Ella — moved from Manhattan in 2006, a pivotal time in Angela’s career: Blue’s Clues had just ended production; she had started her own company, Out of the Blue Enterprises, with former Nickelodeon executive Samantha Freeman Alpert, and the two dynamos were readying Angela’s new creation, Super Why!, for its September 2007 debut on PBS Kids.
By the spring of 2009, Super Why! appeared to be on the brink of catching fire — an improbable second lightning strike for Angela. Who is this remarkable woman? What sorcery does she work on millions of littlekids? In order to find out, I went off to Out of the Blue in midtown Manhattan. The day was cloudy, but up on the company’s fourteenth floor offices, where the walls are painted sky-blue, light poured in anyway, as if the place radiated some sort of invincible kid energy. An assistant apologized: Executives from Hasbro, the toy company, were sequestered in the conference room and the meeting was running long. Presently Angela emerged, an attractive blonde with a light gold tan and a blazing smile.