ToddWorld Makes Broadcast Debut
ToddWorld, a preschool series inspired by children’s books from author/illustrator Todd Parr, premieres on READY SET LEARN! beginning Monday, November 8, and weekdays on the Discovery Kids Channel starting November 15. Motown legend Smokey Robinson opens each of the 26 half-hour episodes with a theme song that celebrates the colorful world in which we live. HIT Entertainment signed a multi-year deal with Taffy Entertainment and will distribute and market the DVD/VHS titles in the U.S. and Canada in spring 2005.
Hallmark Supports The Polar Express
Hallmark Gold Crown stores are the official headquarters of Warner Bros. Pictures’ The Polar Express (due November 10) with exclusive gifts inspired by the Christmas tale. The product selection will include Hallmark’s Lantern Water Globe, Train Night Light, and Magic Bell Ornament, as well as photo frames, a tealight holder, stocking holders, greeting cards, and partyware. The stores also will sell copies of “The Polar Express” book and a special Polar Express plush Santa Claus specially offered for $9.95 with the purchase of any three cards.
Magna Global Licensing, the exclusive licensing unit of Interpublic Group of Companies, Inc., announced its multi-year, worldwide licensing and marketing deal between bedding and nursery lifestyle designer Wendy Bellissimo and Babies “R” Us. Bellissimo will create four original bedding designs, which will be available in December in more than 200 Babies “R” Us locations and at babiesrus.com.
Strawberry Shortcake Campaign Is Sweet on Pets
DIC Entertainment and American Greetings partnered with the American Society for The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals on a Strawberry Shortcake pet-care initiative to increase pet-care awareness and public service announcements airing on DIC Kid’s Network. The in-school program kit will be delivered to 20,000 schools and includes a teacher’s guide. A gift pack will be awarded to the first 100 teachers to complete the program and return the reply card. The ASPCA also will sponsor the “Caring for Your Pet” PSA airing this quarter on the DIC Kid’s Network. In other DIC news, the company appointed BBC Worldwide as the UK licensing agent for Trollz. BBC Worldwide will oversee all non-toy Trollz product lines and work alongside DIC’s appointed global toy partner Hasbro and book publisher Scholastic in the UK.
TV Guide Partners with NJ Croce
TV Guide Magazine Group, Inc., inked a deal with NJ Croce Co. for a line of gift and novelty products. Among the offerings due for fourth quarter 2004 are The Official TV Guide Magazine Jacket designed with TV Guide’s logo and designs on a clear plastic PVC cover complete with an attached lanyard and magnifying book marker. NJ Croce also will debut the first of a series of TV Guide brand picture frames. The agreement was negotiated by SloaneVision Unlimited, Inc., TV Guide’s licensing agency.
Deko Boko Friends Finds a Home at Nickelodeon
ShoPro Entertainment joined forces with Nick Jr. on its first preschool series, Deko Boko Friends. The series will air on Nick Jr. as a 30-second interstitial, as well as on Noggin and Nicktoons, Nickelodeon’s 24-hour cartoon channel. Deko Boko Friends features 12 unique characters that help teach children about diversity and tolerance. In addition to holding the worldwide broadcast rights outside Asia for Deko Boko Friends, ShoPro Entertainment has the global licensing rights for the property for which it plans a broad-based licensing program.
New Deal Is Talk of the Town
Sprint and Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., will launch two additional multimedia channels: Cartoon Network Mobile and Adult Swim Mobile. Cartoon Network Mobile and Adult Swim Mobile will provide streaming video and audio content for Sprint PCS Vision Multimedia Services. Cartoon Network Mobile will feature video clips from The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy, Dexter’s Laboratory, The Powerpuff Girls, Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends, and Code Name: Kids Next Door. Adult Swim will provide video clips from Harvey Birdman: Attorney at Law, The Venture Bros., Aqua Teen Hunger Force, and Sealab 2021. Both services are available on Channels 10 and 11, respectively. Each channel will cost $3.95 a month for Sprint PCS Vision customers.
Warner Bros. Signs New Deals
Techno Source signed a licensing agreement with Warner Bros. Consumer Products to produce electronic games based on several of the studios’ properties. The new line, due in spring 2005, will include LCD-based games inspired by Justice League Unlimited, Teen Titans, Scooby-Doo, The Batman, and Batman Begins. In other news, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, DC Comics, and Electronic Arts joined forces to bring Batman Begins to multiple video game platforms in 2005. The game will be released day and date with the film. Together, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and EA will oversee all development and production aspects of the game, while EA will handle distribution. The companies will lead joint marketing campaigns. The game is being developed by UK-based Eurocom for the consoles, and by Vicarious Visions for the handhelds.
Earthworks Entertainment Fetches Audience
Earthworks Entertainment entered into an exclusive multi-year deal with Cartoon Network to air its Nine Dog Christmas Special. The Nine Dog Christmas stars nine extraordinary stray dogs who must overcome tremendous odds, and discover it’s “all for one and one for all” to help Santa bring joy to the world when the reindeer flu threatens to cancel Christmas. James Earl Jones narrates the family musical adventure story. A Nine Dog Night of Fright sequel is now in preproduction and is planned to be introduced as a Halloween special. International television market sales for the Nine Dog Christmas property is being handled by UK-based Indigo Film & Television.
Movin’ on Up
The Major League Baseball Players Association promoted Chris Dahl to communications manager and Evan Kaplan to category director for trading cards and collectibles. 4Kids Entertainment, Inc., appointed Robert Mitchell vice president, marketing and promotions, for its 4Kids Productions, Inc., subsidiary. Sesame Workshop promoted Sharon Stulberg to assistant vice president of corporate marketing.
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