10/08/14: Hasbro makes Transformation to Cartoon Net, Nick revs up Blaze, Power Rangers Get Colorful, Shaftesbury has new Kids chief


Good morning. It’s Wednesday, October 8, 2014, and this is your first early morning briefing.


Hasbro Studios yesterday made good on buzz that it’s been shopping some of its previously Hub-directed content to Cartoon Network. Cartoon will be the U.S home of new Hasbro series Transformers: Robots in Disguise, set to debut in Q1 2015. “As the regularly top-rated U.S. TV network in prime among Transformers’ core audience of boys ages 6-11 and 9-14, our beloved Autobots and Decepticons will feel very much at home on Cartoon Network,” says Finn Arnesen, SVP, global distribution and development for Hasbro Studios. This year marks the 30th anniversary of the Transformers franchise.


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Nelvana Enterprises and Spin Master are co-developing new preschool brand Little Charmers. Nelvana is producing an animated series, set to debut on Nick Jr. in early 2015; Spin Master is developing and manufacturing a toy line to roll out at mass retail next fall. Aimed at girls 2-7, the series “embodies the magic of friendship in the whimsical land of Charmville.” “With strong, aspirational female characters, we believe that Little Charmers will be a great success for Nick Jr. worldwide,” says Jennifer Dodge, Spinmaster VP/exec producer. 


Nickelodeon will debut its entry in the growing STEM program market, Blaze and the Monster Machines, with an hour-long premiere on Monday, Oct. 13, at noon. The series follows monster truck Blaze and his 8-year-old driver AJ on adventures that explore the physics of how things move, employ scientific inquiry and mathematics and discover the parts needed to make everyday technologies work.  The series is created by Jeff Borkin (Team Umizoomi) and Ellen Martin (Bubble Guppies). The Blaze launch will be followed by three weeks of premieres in its regular timeslot at 12:30p.

Couple of notable guest stars on Disney Junior shows this week. Dick Van Dyke guests as Goofy’s pirate grandpappy, Captain Goof-Beard, in a music-filled ep of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse on Friday (Oct. 10). The ep will feature six new original songs performed by Van Dyke’s character alongside Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Donald, Daisy and Pluto. Downton Abbey stars Joanne Froggatt, Lesley Nicol, Matt Milne, Nigel Harman and Robert Bathurst are among the guest voice cast in a special ep of Doc McStuffins on Sunday, Nov. 2 at 8:30a.

Nickelodeon will treat viewers to new Halloween-themed episodes from its live-action, animation and preschool hit series this month. Beginning Saturday, Oct. 11, at 8p, the Thundermans and Hathaways combat the ghouls in a one-hour crossover special, Haunted Thundermans. Other holiday-themed premieres are slated for Henry Danger, Nicky, Ricky Dicky & Dawn, Sanjay and Craig, Breadwinners, Rabbids Invasion, PAW Patrol, Wallykazam!, Instant Mom, Lalaloopsy and Zack and Quack.

Fans headed to CCNY this weekend may glimpse an Uber or two decked out in Sonic Boom signage, thanks to a new Sega campaign. Cartoon Net will debut the much-touted Sonic Boom on Nov. 8. The latest Sonic incarnation also includes videogames for Wii U and Nintendo 3DS and merch anchored by master toy partner TOMY. Exec producers of the new series are Evan Baily, Donna Friedman Meir and Jane McGregor on behalf of Sega, and Sandrine Nguyen and Boris Hertzog from OuiDO.


LeBron James and Maverick Carter’s Springhill Productions are behind a new team effort from ESPN Films and Disney XD. Becoming, a half-hour show for kids and families profiling the journeys of some of today’s top athletes, debuts as a special on Sunday, Oct. 26, at 8p on XD, and will be developed into a series.

The pilot tells the story of LeBron’s trajectory to NBA superstardom. "I’m really excited about bringing this kind of program to kids," says James. "Sports and athletes were my inspiration growing up. It was the stories about Michael Jordan, Deion Sanders, and Allen Iverson that kept me dreaming. When I learned that they had some of the same struggles and challenges I did, it made everything seem possible.”

CBeebies commissioned preschool series Twirlywoos from Ragdoll Productions. Exec-produced by Anne Wood (Teletubbies), the show combines stop-frame animation and live-action sequences featuring a band of curious bird-like creatures. Exec producer for CBeebies is Michael Towner; the series is produced in association with DHX Media, which will also handle global distribution, merchandising, brand management and marketing.

In related news, Collingwood and Co. is producing Ruff-Ruff, Tweet and Dave, set to debut on CBeebies in spring 2015. Ruff-Ruff is an excitable puppy, Tweet a little chick and Dave a quirky blue panda who all play along with the audience via multiple choice questions within a themed adventure story. Rocket Licensing is developing a campaign including publishing, plush, toys, puzzles and nightwear expected in time for holidays 2015.

Sinking Ship Entertainment is bringing two new shows in development to MIPthe company’s first teen comedy (currently untitled) from Tim McKeon (Odd Squad, Foster’s Home) and Kevin Seccia (Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness) and a spinoff to the Dino Dan dynasty, Dino Dana. The series join existing Sinking Ship properties including Annedroids, which premiered on Amazon earlier this year; math series Odd Squad, launching on PBS in November; and the company’s first fully animated preschool series, Chirp, for CBC and SRC.


Save the date! Thursday, October 30, 2014
Branding and Balance: New Approaches for Marketers in the Evolving World of Children’s Programming Webinar

At the Cynopsis Kids webinar we’ll present up-to-the-minute, fresh approaches to trends in the ever-evolving brand integration market for kids. We’ll share the skills needed for all the biggest platforms, from streaming services to web content and offer fresh, inventive strategies so you can keep up with Generation Z … and their savvy parents.

Contact Trish@cynopsis.com for details.


BabyFirst launched on Suddenlink, adding the MSO’s 1.4 million customers to its reach."BabyFirst is a terrific addition to our channel lineup," said Kathy Payne, Suddenlink SVP/chief programming officer. "The network delivers something new and different to our customers and will be of great value to parents with babies."

As part of its Connect the Dots STEM education initiative, Discovery began airing a cross-channel PSA promoting science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education and mentorship. The PSA (www.discovery.com/beastemmentor), a component of Discovery’s partnership with US2020, features MythBusters co-host Kari Byron and will air across Discovery’s 13 U.S. networks.

Ubisoft’s Just Dance 2015, the latest installment in the dance game franchise, is partnering with the organization Stomp Out Bullying for joint campaigns via social media, the press and events, all with the message: “It’s OK to dance to your own beat!” A video in the game’s Dance VIP feature will showcase the development team dancing to a dedicated Just Dance 2015 track in Stomp Out Bullying shirts.


Maker Studios and rocker Andrew W.K.’s six-episode, kid-driven DIY program Meet Me at The Reck is off and running with its first episode featuring Jack Black, Zach Woods and digital dynamo Joseph Garrett, aka Stampylonghead. The series follows Andrew W.K. and his band of kidsbetter known as “reckers,” as they explore what it means to celebrate the importance of using your imagination.

Trick or tweet. R.L. Stine will host his third Scholastic social media takeover on Thursday, Oct. 30, and to further bewitch fans Scholastic will unleash a revamped Goosebumps website, social media pages and new book in the series.

Netflix’s latest kids news brings King Kong to the streaming service via a deal with Avi Arad and 41 Entertainment. Animated Kong – King of the Apes will debut in 2016 via a full-length movie followed by 12 half-hour eps. The reboot is set in 2050, when Kong remains the world’s strongest creature and must fight not only to save his reputation, but all mankind when a villain unleashes an army of robotic dinosaurs. Arad has produced the Spider-Man franchise movies, X-Men franchise movies, Iron-Man films, and The Incredible Hulk.

Also on Netflix, the first season of Saban Brands series Julius Jr. is now available on the service, with season two tee’d up for November 2014 on Nick Jr.  In related news, Lionsgate snagged home entertainment rights to the series, serving as exclusive distributor of Julius Jr. product for all packaged media, EST and transactional VOD rights in the U.S. and Canada. 

SVOD service Kidoodle.TV is running a program where parents can download printable Halloween coupon sheets containing a code for two months of free Kidoodle.TV service. For each coupon redeemed through Nov. 30, Kidoodle parent company Parent Media Co. Inc. will donate 50 cents to Ronald McDonald House Charities….

Speaking of kidoodle.tv, its founder Michael Lowe says that the brands that help this group effectively navigate the information overload around them are the ones who’ll earn lifelong loyalty. How to do that? Check out this week’s cynsiders.


An app to complement public TV series Space Racers debuts in the App Store this week in honor of World Space Week. The app, designed by N.Y. public station Thirteen and Bluemarker, is available in English, Spanish and French.


Saban Brands and Crayola are partnering to produce a coloring and activity line of Power Rangers products. The items are slated to launch next fall, starting with products themed around the 2015 season, Saban’s Power Rangers Dino Charge.

Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing will create a Ready-to-Read line of books for Doozers, Jim Henson Co.’s animated preschool series inspired by Fraggle Rock. The first two Doozers books will be available as paperbacks, library editions, and ebooks in fall 2015, with additional titles to debut in 2016. Doozers debuted in April as the first Hulu Original series for kids.

Penguin acquired publishing rights to CBeebies and Sesame Workshop series The Furchester Hotel. Penguin will launch its publishing program under the Ladybird imprint next summer… Penguin also snagged publishing rights to new app game World of Warriors from Mind Candy. Publishing under the Puffin imprint, the Warriors campaign will launch with the Official Guide and Sticker book in June 2015.

ITV Studios Global Entertainment secured its first licensing partners for Thunderbirds Are Go, with products set to debut in 2015. New partners include Simon & Schuster in the U.K.; DC Thomson will publish the official Thunderbirds Are Go annual and monthly magazine. Other licensees include Kokomo, Danilo and Vivid Imaginations, the master toy licensee for worldwide manufacturing excluding U.S. and Asia.

It’s a question as old as Captain Kangaroo: How do you insert a brand message into programming aimed at children that satisfies both parents and the FTC, and attracts kids as well? Find out at the upcoming Cynopsis Kids webinar Branding and Balance: New Approaches for Marketers in the Evolving World of Children’s Programming, Oct. 30 from 1:30-3p ET. For more information, contact Trish@cynopsis.com.
Aardman added distributors for its Shaun the Sheep brand. A new Nintendo DS game is headed to market across Europe, the Middle East, Africa, New Zealand and Australia. Additionally, Prima Toy is in for distribution in South Africa, Tele Toy Shop for Benelux, Imagine Consumer Products Network in France and Play by Play in Spain. In the U.K., the latest to Divine Chocolate is planning a collaboration for Easter 2015, and Fashions U.K. is designing a line of clothing.

FremantleMedia Kids & Family Entertainment lined up new licensees for Tree Fu Tom following the recent appointment of licensing agents in France (Biplano), Spain (El Ocho) and Greece (Partner Plus). In addition FremantleMedia signed DVD deals with Big Picture in Spain and Attica in Greece.

Sony Computer Entertainment Europe is developing a licensing program for Driveclub, a racing title that launches exclusively on PlayStation4 today. Bioworld has been appointed licensee for fashion apparel and accessories.


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Spain’s Imira Entertainment signed distribution deals with Scholastic and BabyTV, the latter part of Fox International Channels. Imira also sold preschool series Cleo to TVE (Spain), while Cartoon Network Latin America grabbed the second season of Yoohoo & Friends for its Caribbean and Latin American channels.

Zodiak Kids’ homespun series star Mister Maker will tour Australia and New Zealand after signing with Live Nation in a deal brokered by Zodiak’s Australian agent Fusion. The Mister Maker series debuted in 2010 on ABC Television in Australia.

U.K. broadcaster CITV green-lit a fourth season on Platinum Films’ Matt Hatter Chronicles for broadcast in 2015.

Animated series The Cat In The Hat Knows A Lot About That!, produced and distributed by Portfolio Entertainment, continues to expand distribution. New deals include Phoenix Digital Media (China) for IPTV, OTT, SVOD and VOD; Signature Entertainment (U.K.) for VOD and home video, and SVT Barnkanalen (Sweden).

Breakthrough Entertainment is launching animated series Pirate Express, produced by Atomic Cartoons and Sticky Pictures and commissioned by Teletoon in Canada and Nine Network in Australia The new show follows the escapades of Newt, a 12-year-old boy from Atlantis, and the most dim witted crew on the seven seas, onboard the ship Pirate Express.

Genius Brands International is expanding the reach of its series Secret Millionaires Club. Among nets acquiring the 26 half-hour series are Finland’s MTV3, Thailand’s Workpoint, Singapore’s Medicacorp and Israel’s Imagine Media. A deal with South Korea’s Asiana Licensing has been secured for home entertainment.

Bejuba! Entertainment acquired Asian television distribution rights from Ideate Media for preschool series Bubble Bath Bay. The series is produced by Essential Media and Entertainment, Malaysia’s Ideate Media, Telegael Ireland and Lemon Sky Games and Animation of Malaysia in association with Shambles Entertainment.


Shaftesbury elevated Ryan St. Peters to the role of VP, Kids & Family. St. Peters joined Shaftesbury in 2005 and most recently served as VP, Sales & Business Development.

Sinking Ship Entertainment tapped former CBC and ABC Australia exec Carla de Jong for the newly created role of Head of Production. The company also appointed former Teletoon exec Gavin Friesen as Creative Director of Interactive.  

Current BBC Children’s Director Joe Godwin, who oversees CBeebies and CBBC, will depart at the end of the year to become Director of the BBC Academy.


Top 10 Basic Cable Ratings for the week of Sept. 29-Oct. 5, 2014

K2-11 Total Programming Day

K2-11 Prime (Monday  Sunday 8-11p.m.)

K2-11  (Monday-Sunday 6 a.m.-11 p.m.)

K6-11 Total Programming Day

K6-11 Prime (Monday  Sunday 8-11p.m.)

K6-11  (Monday-Sunday 6 a.m.-11 p.m.)

K9-14 Total Programming Day

K9-14 Prime (Monday  Sunday 8-11p.m.)

K9-14  (Monday-Sunday 6 a.m.-11 p.m.)

Source: Disney from Nielsen Media Research National MIT, ranked on coverage ratings
Viewing Type: Live + Same Day

K2-11  Top 10 Programs for the week of Sept. 29-Oct. 4, 2104
10/4/14/Wreck-It Ralph/DSNY/10:10a-12p/1976
10/3/14/Wreck-It Ralph/DSNY/7:10-9p/1942
10/5/14/Liv and Maddie/DSNY/8:30-9p/1400
10/5/14/Austin & Ally/DSNY/8-8:30p/1389
10/3/14/Star Wars Rebels: Spark of Rebellion/DSNY/9-10p/1341
10/2/14/Uncle Grandpa/TOON/7:30-8p/1304
10/5/14/I Didn’t Do It/DSNY/9-9:30p/1285
10/2/14/Amazing World of Gumball/TOON/7-7:30p/1271
10/4/14/Dog With A Blog/DSNY/9:35-10:05a/1267
10/4/14/Gravity Falls/DSNY/9-9:30p/1265

K6-11  Top 10 Programs for the week of Sept. 29-Oct. 4, 2014
10/3/14/Wrecj-It Ralph!/DSNY/7:10-9p/1376
10/4/14/Wrech-It Ralph!/DSNY/10:10a-12p/1350
10/5/14/Austin & Ally/DSNY/8-8:30p/1210
10/5/14/Liv and Maddie/DSNY/8:30-9p/1195
10/5/14/I Didn’t Do It/DSNY/9-9:30p/1123
10/2/14/Girl Meets World/DSNY/8:30-9p/993
10/2/14/Uncle Grandpa/TOON/7:30-8p/984
10/4/14/Gravity Falls/DSNY/9-9:30p/966

Source: Turner Research based on Total US Television Universe of 115,800,000 homes.

Weekend box office estimates for the top-grossing kids/tween/teen movies rated G, PG or PG-13, provided by Rentrak for Oct. 3-5, 2014:

The Boxtrolls (Focus Features) PG $11.98 million (weekend) $32.09 million (2-week cume)
The Maze Runner (20th Century Fox) PG-13 $11.63 million (weekend) $73.56 million (3-week cume)
Left Behind (Freestyle Releasing) PG-13 $6.3 million (weekend) $6.3 million (1-week cume)
Dolphin Tale 2 ( Warner Bros.) PG $3.42 million (weekend) $37.87 million (4-week cume)
Guardians of the Galaxy (Disney) PG-13  $3.0 million (weekend) $323.33 million (10-week cume)
No Good Deed (Sony) PG-13 $2.5 million (weekend) $50.16 million (4-week cume)


Answer to last week’s Trivia Question: What was the first Italian animated series to be sold in the US? Winx Club Kudos to: Jonathan Saquisili, Nickelodeon, NY; David Stern, BARD Entertainment, NY.

Today’s Trivia Question: What’s the name of the writer Dick Van Dyke portrayed in The Dick Van Dyke Show? Email cathy@cynopsis.com with your answer and be sure to include your name, company, city and time zone.)

Cheers — Cathy Applefeld Olson
Cathy@cynopsis.com for
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