ABC’s “The Toy Box” announced the mentors and judges who will select the winning toy to be made by Mattel and sold exclusively at Toys “R” Us after the series finale. In each episode, inventors present their toy concepts to a group of mentors that include Dylan’s Candy Bar owner Dylan Lauren, toy guru Jim Silver and Pixar Creative Director of Consumer Products Jen Tan. If the toy maker gets past the mentors, they will move on to The Toy Box where a panel of young, no-holds-barred judges that include Sophia Grace Brownlee (“The Ellen Degeneres Show”), Aalyrah Caldwell (“Uncle Buck”), Toby Grey (“The Unexpected John Cena Prank”) and Noah Ritter (“The Ellen Degeneres Show”) decide which toy moves on to the finals and eventually crowned the winner. The eight-episode series hosted by Eric Stonestreet (“Modern Family”) premieres on FRIDAY, APRIL 7 (8:00-9:00 p.m. EST), on the ABC Television Network.
Eric Stonestreet, Host
Eric Stonestreet currently stars as Cameron Tucker on ABC’s comedy series “Modern Family,” a role in which he earned two Emmy Awards in the Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series category, in 2010 and 2012. Stonestreet also garnered a 2011 Emmy nomination, Golden Globe nominations in 2011, 2012 and 2013, Screen Actors Guild nominations in 2012, 2013 and 2015, and a TCA Award nomination for his portrayal. Stonestreet’s credits also include HBO’s “Confirmation,” “The Secret Life of Pets,” “The Loft,” “Identity Thief,” “Bad Teacher” and “American Horror Story.”
Dylan Lauren, Mentor
Known to many as the “Candy Queen”, Dylan Lauren is the founder and CEO of Dylan’s Candy Bar. She is the face of the brand as well as the creative and strategic force behind it. In 2001, her childhood dream of opening the world’s largest candy store that merges fashion, art and pop culture with candy was realized. Since then, Dylan has opened 16 locations and plans to expand her candy empire worldwide. Dylan has been credited with changing the face of the candy industry and the way people view candy. Her stores are considered “the most original candy emporiums on the planet” and “must-see American cultural icons.” Dylan is also the author of “Dylan’s Candy Bar: Unwrap Your Sweet Life.” Her book shares candy-centric tips for entertaining, decorating and gift-giving for every occasion—along with her chic and colorful, signature style. As the daughter of legendary fashion icon Ralph Lauren and author Ricky Lauren, Dylan was immersed at an early age in design, art and fashion. After graduating from Duke University with a major in Art History, she traveled the globe in search of the world’s most exciting confectionery creations.
Jim Silver, Mentor
Jim Silver is an energetic and dynamic innovator in the Toy and Children’s Entertainment industries, and is nationally recognized as one of the preeminent experts in play. Silver is the CEO/editor-in-chief of TTPM (Toys, Tots, Pets & more), the only website that combines expert third-party reviews (video and written) with live price comparison, sales notifications, one-click purchasing, and product availability information at major retailers. TTPM was the first site to review toys online and currently reviews more than 5,000 products every year.
Jen Tan, Mentor
Jen Tan is the creative director of Consumer Products at Pixar Animation Studios. In this position, her mission is to uphold and protect the integrity and legacy of Pixar films by enhancing and extending the consumer experience through the design and execution of all types of consumer products around the globe. Tan works side by side with studio executives and filmmakers to ensure that any product – including action figures, play-sets, games, ride-ons, journals, plush, etc. – is made to be appealing and authentic to the studio’s designs and stories of the films. Since beginning with the studio, Tan has worked on the consumer product lines for “Inside Out” and “The Good Dinosaur,” as well the studio’s most recent feature film release “Finding Dory.” In addition, she continues merchandise lines for several franchise properties like “Toy Story,” “Cars,” “Monsters,” and a Disney•Pixar Collection for “The Incredibles,” “A Bug’s Life,” “Up,” “WALL•E” and “Finding Nemo.” Tan is currently developing the merchandise lines for the studio’s upcoming films including “Cars 3” and “Coco.”
Sophia Grace Brownlee, Judge
Sophia Grace Brownlee and her cousin Rosie McClelland, both from Essex, England, make up the duo Sophia Grace & Rosie. They quickly gained popularity by making regular appearances on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” after posting a cover version of the Nicki Minaj song “Super Bass“ that went viral on YouTube. Sophia Grace debuted music videos on her official YouTube Channel like her Billboard Hot 100 charting single “Best Friends” and “Girls Just Gotta Have Fun.” After signing a recording deal with Capitol Records France, she has released her third single, “Girl in the Mirror,” featuring Silentó, in June 2016.
Aalyrah Caldwell, Judge
Aalyrah Caldwell hails from San Diego, California, and was a series regular on the ABC show Uncle Buck with Mike Epps and Nia Long. Other TV credits include a guest-starring role on “Code Black,” “The Fosters” and “Key and Peele,” and a leading role in the dramatic film “Cardinal X.”
Toby Grey, Judge
At seven years old, Toby Grey became recognizable for his comedic work on Fandango’s “Reel Kids,” commenting and reviewing family films. He continued to make us laugh with videos for “Buzzfeed,” “Funny or Die,” “College Humor” and “A Little Advice.” Earlier this year, his video “The Unexpected John Cena Prank” went viral, with over 30 million views on YouTube. Toby also has several TV/film/commercial credits. In his short career he’s been fortunate enough to work with James Franco, Kevin Hart and John Cena. He will appear in the upcoming feature film “Airplane Mode,” starring social-media influencer Logan Paul, and make an unforgettable appearance on “The Daily Show with Trevor Noah.”
Noah Ritter, Judge
Noah Borowski Ritter was discovered at the age of five while attending the Wayne County Annual Fair in Honesdale, Pennsylvania, with his grandparents John and Kathy Borowski. Local Newswatch 16 reporter Sofia Ojeda was reporting on opening day. She was interviewing attendees about the food, rides and activities of the annual fair. During his interview, Noah took the microphone from Ms. Ojeda and continued talking, saying the word “apparently” several times in course of the interview. The clip aired on the local news that evening and went viral. Ritter has appeared on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” from 2014 thru 2015 and in commercials for Liberty Mutual Insurance and Visa that appeared on Ellentube 2016. He co-hosted the 2014 Viral Videos segment with NFL star Michael Strahan for ABC’s “The Year.”
“The Toy Box” is produced by Mattel, Hudsun Media and Electus. Michael Rourke, Chris Grant, Drew Buckley, Richard Dickson, Catherine Balsam-Schwaber, Julia Pistor, Susan House and Hamilton South are executive producers.
About Toys ”R” Us, Inc.
Toys ”R” Us, Inc. is the world’s leading dedicated toy and baby products retailer, offering a differentiated shopping experience through its family of brands. Merchandise is sold in 875 Toys ”R” Us and Babies ”R” Us stores in the United States, Puerto Rico and Guam, and in more than 765 international stores and over 245 licensed stores in 37 countries and jurisdictions. With its strong portfolio of e-commerce sites including Toysrus.com and Babiesrus.com, the company provides shoppers with a broad online selection of distinctive toy and baby products. Toys ”R” Us, Inc. is headquartered in Wayne, NJ, and has an annual workforce of approximately 62,000 employees worldwide. The company is committed to serving its communities as a caring and reputable neighbor through programs dedicated to keeping kids safe and helping them in times of need. Since 1992, the Toys ”R” Us Children’s Fund, a public charity affiliated with Toys ”R” Us, Inc., has donated more than $125 million in grants to children’s charities. For more information, visit Toysrusinc.com or follow @ToysRUsNews on Twitter. Follow Toys ”R” Us and Babies ”R” Us on Facebook at Facebook.com/Toysrus and Facebook.com/Babiesrus and on Twitter at Twitter.com/Toysrus and Twitter.com/Babiesrus.