Good morning. It’s Thursday, March 18, 2010, and this is your first early morning Kids briefing.
Peter Workman, founder/Workman Publishing, said yesterday he is “kicking myself upstairs,” but not “all the way to the attic,” as he announced that publishing veteran Robert Miller will join the company as Group Publisher as of May 3, 2010. Miller, who most recently helmed HarperStudio and prior to that founded and as President of Hyperion, will oversee Workman and its imprints Algonquin and Artisan. Workman, who will continue to serve as President and CEO of the company working closely with Miller, explained “I’ve reached a time in my life when I need to look to the future of the company and to make changes. … Bob will be a vital part of the transition, and all that lies ahead.” In the kid arena Workman is best known as the publisher of Brain Quest, Sandra Boynton’s books, Gallop!, Peter Lippman’s Mini House book series, the Baby Eyelike books, among many other books, products and Page-A-Day Calendars, as well as for expecting parents the What to Expect When You’re Expecting series.
Cary Granat and Ed Jones open the doors of their new family-centric Bedrock Studios, which will develop/produce animated and live-action projects for movies, TV, publishing and digital media, with budgets of $35 million or less, per The Wrap. Their first project is Turkeys, an animated feature film that will be directed by Ash Brannon (Toy Story 2, Surf’s Up) and features a voiceover cast including Owen Wilson and Woody Harrelson. The Thanksgiving themed Turkeys is currently in pre-production. Granat is a co-founder and former CEO, Walden Media and Jones is an animator who runs Reel FX Creative Studios, he is a former executive at Industrial Light and Magic (ILM). Bedrock plans to draw on the various resources from the prolific Reel FX. Other projects on Bedrock’s development slate also includes movies based on popular kids books The Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O’Brien, A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle and Dinosaur Bob by William Joyce.
NEW PRODUCTION & DEVELOPMENT
Nickelodeon UK picks up the new tween-targeted live-action comedy Summer in Transylvania (20×30) from The Foundation, a division of RDF Media Group. Currently in production, Summer in Transylvania revolves around Summer Farley (Sophie Stuckey My Life in Ruins, Midsomer Murders) as she struggles to make the best of her home, school and social life when her family relocates to Transylvania for her dad’s job. Life in their new home is complicated when the local community, which of course, is comprised of zombies, werewolves, vampires and mummies, looks upon Summer’s “normal” family as weird. At least Summer has two new friends to help her along, Heidi (Amy Wren Life Bites), a zombie girl, and Bobby (Kane Ricca), a wereboy. Created by Andy Watts (My Parents Are Aliens), Nickelodeon UK plans to premiere this series in fall 2010.
Capstone Publishers, a publisher of original characters and graphic novels for schools in the US, teams with actress/writer Marisa Coughlan and veteran entertainment lawyer/producer Eric Feig to develop their kid-targeted fiction books for kids in grades K-9 from Captstone’s Stone Arch Books imprint for movies, TV, new media and merchandising. Feig and Coughlan are working with literary rep Alan Gasmer and licensing agent Ken Abrams, on their projects. Currently President/Character Vision, Abrams was previously Director/Licensing, Paramount Pictures and VP/Consumer Products and Marketing, Marvel Entertainment.
MORE KIDS STUFF
In Toronto this week, C.O.R.E. Digital Pictures abruptly shuttered its doors and Cookie Jar Entertainment reduces its production staff by 35, primarily in the animation group, both blaming the economic downturn that has made it more expensive for US companies to commission work in Canada, per THR. C.O.R.E. Digital, a digital effects and noted animation studio, is known for its CGI animated productions including The Wild, Ant Bully and Valiant as well as work on The Tudors, X-Men and other projects. According to the report, Cookie Jar says it is moving more towards live-action production and also plans to further grow its Copyright Promotions Licensing Group, which is based in London and has 16 offices worldwide.
Zinkia Entertainment completes a deal with RAI 2 (Italy) for the animated preschool series Pocoyo (104×7). Co-produced by Zinkia and ITV Studios Global Entertainment, Pocoyo will debut this month on RAI 2, with two episodes airing back-to-back at 9:15a Tuesdays and Thursdays, and one episode at 9a on Fridays. ITV Studios Global Entertainment handles worldwide distribution rights for Pocoyo, excluding Spain, Italy, Portugal and Latin America, which are handled by Zinkia.
CBeebies new music-based preschool series ZingZillas (52×22) is set to premiere next month. Set on a tropical island, the series features a group of musical primates, Zak (a gorilla and lead singer), Tang (an orangutan lead guitar), Panzee (a chimpanzee bass guitar/keyboard), and Drum (a monkey percussionist), under the guidance of their mentor and music expert DJ Loose, who together perform once each show. The group is visited on the island by music stars including opera’s Sarah Connolly, scat singer Dame Cleo Laine, and didgeridoo player Dhinawan. Kids/families can also be able to hear the ZingZillas songs via CBeebies radio or by logging onto www.bbc.co.uk/cbeebies/zingzillas . Additionally, kids can join the band and play along using their own webcams.
Program Call: Cynopsis Media will be producing our annual MIPTV Shopping Guide sent to all Cynopsis subscribers on Thursday, April 8, the week before MIPTV 2010 in Cannes. If your company is exhibiting and you’d like to have your programming included, please send us only the following info for your top 5 shows: title, availability date, number of episodes, length, type (i.e., movie, series, special, etc.), genre and your terms (barter, cash, etc.) as well as your company’s stand/booth location. To be included in this free and highly-viewed special edition, please send details to firstname.lastname@example.org no later than Thursday, April 1, 2010. A confirmation email will be sent following each submission (if you don’t get the confirmation, please resubmit).
More new apps for preschoolers:
PBS Kids launches two new apps for iPhone/iPod touch that are designed to encourage kids to explore the world around them and support literacy skills. They are available at the iTunes App Store or www.pbskids.org/mobile. Developed as part of the PBS Kids Raising Readers initiative, The Super Why! ($2.99) app features four interactive literacy games (rhyming, spelling, writing and reading) and four series characters, as well as a virtual sticker book. The PBS Kids Photo Factory (free) app features characters/art from 11 PBS Kids series, which can be added to your own family photo, as well as offering local tune-in information. The photos can be shared via iPhoto, e-mail, Facebook, or Twitter.
Kindle Entertainment will release a new app based on CBeebies preschool series Big and Small via the iTunes App Store on April 1, 2010. Developed by Ace Games in partnership with kindle, the Big and Small app will feature video clips and songs from the series, as well as sound effects from two series characters.
RDF Rights (RDFR) names two new international licensing agents for Tiger Aspect Productions‘ Mr Bean brand. Supermarcas Licenciamento E Gestao sings on to represent Mr Bean in Brazil, while Euro Lizenzen will look for licensing partners in Germany, Austria and Switzerland on behalf of RDF Rights. Additionally, RDFR has inked a license with Clifton Trends to develop a complete Mr Bean apparel line for men, women and kids in India. Clifton plans to launch the line at retail for Q3 2010. Tiger Aspect appointed RDFR as the new UK licensing agent for Mr Bean earlier this year. As part of the deal RDFR is also responsible for setting up licensing deals into territories where Tiger Aspect does not have international licensing agents.
The Banijay Entertainment Group establishes Banijay International, a new global distribution division, which will operate out of both Banijay’s Paris and Copenhagen offices. Banijay International will include Nordisk Film TV World’s activities and distribute all formats and completed programming produced by Banijay Entertainment companies, including format such as, The Missionaries, Beat your Host, 71 Degrees North, My Big Fat Parents and many more. Karoline Spodsberg, currently International Director/Nordisk Film TV World, a Banijay Entertainment Group company, will serve as MD/Banijay International. The new division will operate out of offices in both Paris and Copenhagen, with current members of the Nordisk Film TV World and Banijay Entertainment distribution team will staff the new division.
Starz Media inks a deal with veteran casting executive Marc Hirschfeld to serve as a casting consultant for the original programming on its Starz’ premium channels. Under this non-exclusive deal, Hirschfeld will work with Starz programming executives on the casting of top talent for scripted and non-scripted programs, beginning with Martin Lawrence Presents 1st Amendment Stand-Up, which is heading into its fifth season. Hirschfeld has been an EVP/Casting, NBC Universal Television Entertainment, overseeing casting for NBC Entertainment, Sci Fi, bravo and USA Network scripted programming, while also consulting on non-scripted hosts and celebrities for NBC Primetime and NBC News. Previously, he also founded and helmed Liberman/Hirschfeld Casting with partner Meg Liberman, and was Director/Talent, Norman Lear’s Embassy Television.
Live + Same Day Ratings Kids Cable Network Averages (000) for Tuesday, March 16, 2010, 6am-11pm, ranked by K2-11:
NICKELODEON: K2-11 1059; K6-11 476; TWEENS 9-14 378
DISNEY CHANNEL: K2-11 791; K6-11 475; TWEENS 9-14 401
CARTOON NETWORK: K2-11 539; K6-11 305; TWEENS 9-14 187
DISNEY XD: K2-11 159; K6-11 99; TWEENS 9-14 72
Source: MTVN Research from Nielsen Media Research Data
Answer to Yesterday’s Trivia: She’s single and lives in Manhattan; her parents live in Brewster, NY, and own La Parisienne Restaurant in Brewster. Who is she? ANNE MARIE on THAT GIRL Kudos to: Ann Kearns-Sesame Workshop/NY; Jacki Zix-Macy’s/NY; McPaul Smith-Sideways Hat Creative/Montclair; Robin Keats-My Tupelo Entertainment/NY
Today’s Trivia Question: This super hero’s special costume was referred to simply as The Suit. Who is he? (Email Cynthia@cynopsis.com with your answer and be sure to include your name, company, city and time zone. Unofficial rules: Only the second four correct answers from each time zone will be mentioned; and once you’ve been mentioned in any of the Cynopsis editions, you can’t be mentioned again that calendar week.)
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