The Fairly OddParents: A New Wish star on the new animation style, and why it's a timely show for kids

Star and Co-EP Ashleigh Crystal Hairston touches upon how the show understands that "kids today are a lot more emotionally aware"
The Fairly OddParents: A New Wish - credit: Nickelodeon
The Fairly OddParents: A New Wish - credit: Nickelodeon /

A new star is born as Nickelodeon's The Fairly OddParents: A New Wish premieres today.

Based on the wildly popular series The Fairly OddParents, this is actually the third series in the franchise. The Fairly OddParents originally aired from 2001 to 2006 before being revived in 2008. It followed Timmy Turner, a down on his luck 10-year old with an ever-annoying babysitter named Vicki and two oblivious parents. Two fairy godparents named Cosmo and Wanda appear to grant him wishes to help improve his life; but in some situations, they may do more harm than good.

The Fairly OddParents: A New Wish focuses in on Hazel, a 10-year-old who has moved to the city of Dimmadelphia for her father's job. Hazel has to navigate growing up, making new friends, and dealing with her older brother, Antony, going to college. That's where Cosmo and Wanda. The two wacky but well-meaning titular characters are unretiring after 10,000 years to become Hazel's fairy godparents.

Daran Norris and Susanne Blakeslee reprise their roles as Cosmo and Wanda, respectively, from the original series with Ashleigh Crystal Hairston (Craig of the Creek) providing the voice for Hazel. The Fairly OddParents: A New Wish was greenlit with a 20-episode order for the first season and is produced by FredFilms, Billionfold Inc., and Nickelodeon Animation Studio. Co-executive producers include Hairston, Daniel Abramovici, Lindsay Katai, and David Stone.

The Parent Watch spoke with Hairston to find out more about the fairy-filled animated series, what she thinks of the change from 2D animation to 3D animation, and we asked the most important question of all: What would she do with her own Cosmo and Wanda?

The Parent Watch: What was your relationship to The Fairly OddParents prior to working on this new iteration?

Ashleigh Hairston: I am a little bit older, so I didn't necessarily grow up with The Fairly OddParents, but I was very familiar with the show, and I was a huge fan of the characters. I knew who Cosmo and Wanda were and knew Timmy Turner. I was very familiar with The Fairly OddParents universe. It was really exciting to jump back in when I heard that they were wanting to reboot it!

You're the main character, Hazel. You're also a co-EP. What was that experience like of pulling double duty for this show?

It was a lot of work, [laughs] but so fun. This is the first time I've been able to marry all of my skills into one and come out even stronger on the other side in those roles. I get to voice Hazel as the new character. I love that I got to be able to put all of my experiences into her as a character. I got to be in the writer's room as a story editor. I was involved in all of the stories, coming up with all of the stories and doing all of the revisions alongside Lindsay Katai, my co-executive executive producer. I got to write three episodes of the series. I got to write the pilot with Lindsay. It's just been so fun working with Dave [Abramovicih] and Daniel [Stone] as a producer. It's really been a growing experience for me.

The Fairly OddParents: A New Wish - credit: Nickelodeon /

You talk about being Hazel and Hazel is described as very adventurous and curious person, which I'm sure you are. Did you find that there were any similarities between your 10-year-old self and Hazel?

Absolutely! Lots of similarities. I got to put a lot of myself into her character. She is a little weirdo like I was, a little cute little ball of fun. She's super energetic. She is really passionate about the things that she loves and the people that she loves. She collects rocks. That's something that I used to do as a kid. I used to collect rocks, and I would name them. She's obsessed with French fries. That is my favorite food. That was my favorite food and still is to this day. I got to put a ton of my 10-year-old self into Hazel.

Hazel's moving to a new city... I know for a lot of kids, it's a confusing time, especially if they're moving, they're having to find new friends. Hazel experiences that. Knowing that you have a hand in the writing and storylines, what was the process of developing that for audiences to see?

It was partly working with Nickelodeon. They knew that they wanted to tell a story about a new godkid in a new city, and they wanted her to or or them to be a person of color. We looked at what kinds of things today are kids going through. Timmy's situation, his problems were a little bit more external. He was dealing with checked-out parents and an evil babysitter. Hazel is dealing with a lot more internal struggles: She's moving to a new city. She's without her brother for the first time, who was her big anchor. She is having to make new friends. We wanted to speak to kids [and see] what does wish making look like for a kid who hasn't had it so easy and thinking about that in terms of Hazel and how she might influence and inspire kids today.

I feel like kids today are a lot more emotionally aware. They have such a strong emotional intelligence. We wanted to tell a story about a kid like that and have that relatability. Kids are so aware now of all of the things going on in the world today. And how it affects them. And we wanted to create a new god kid who is dealing with that exactly.

It's definitely the right time to put the show out. So many kids are going through these things. As a co-EP, I'm sure you had a first-hand look at all the designs and the animation style is a little bit different from the original Fairly OddParents series. I'd love to know your reaction [and] what excited you about that?

We're going from 2D to CG in this show, which was really exciting. It is the first time I've done a CG show, so I had to learn a lot about the process myself. CG is a very costly process, so we had to be really creative with the choices that we made. As a result of that, I feel like we were able to create an incredible, beautiful, colorful world of Dimmadelphia that makes the magic more prominent, the characters stand out more. It just feels really magical and colorful. I feel like Fairly OddParents in 2D is fun, but it's flat. Whereas we're dealing with magic, it's like all of these things are now coming to life. It's really been fun to be a part of that process, learning it and also being a part of it and seeing and making decisions about. And we get to meet new fairies, too, which is really fun. I love that our fairies are a lot more diverse in this iteration of the series, which is something that I'm really proud of.

If Cosmo and Wanda were real, how would they be helpful in your adult life?

Oh, boy. They would be super helpful in just my everyday day-to-day activities. I wish they could return this shirt that doesn't fit that I ordered online, and now I need to get it back, but I have no time to go to the mall. I would be like, I wish I could return this or exchange it for another size or something. I would utilize Cosmo and Wanda for my everyday. They'd be like my assistants.

This interview has been edited for clarity and length.

The Fairly Oddparents: A New Wish premieres today at 4:30 pm ET on Nickelodeon

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