05/21/14: Website relaunch for Discovery Kids; DreamWorks shuffles theatrical calendar; Ubisoft tees up Watch Dog merch


Teen Beach Movie was last year’s #1 cable movie in Total Viewers…
…now get ready for the sequel:

TEEN BEACH MOVIE 2 (coming in 2015)

Disney Channel has a track record of success with big franchise sequels- from High School Musical to Camp Rock. Don’t miss the opportunity to connect your brand with passionate fans through next year’s big family movie event!

Add some Disney magic into your Upfront plan. (Click here for source)


Good morning. It’s Wednesday, May 21, 2014, and this is your first early morning briefing.


Discovery Kids is packing its relaunched website (discoverykids.com) with content curated from Discovery’s family of networks, including Discovery Channel, Animal Planet and Science. The site is "pulling together the best of our content and serving it in a kid-friendly way," JP Stoops, Discovery director of licensing, tells CynKids. That means content organized by both mediumeg, videos, games and ebooksand by topiceg, Sharks and Dinosaurs. The category selection is no accident. Nine of the top 10 programs kids watch on Discovery Channel are shark-related, Stoops says. "Kids love the real world, they love the mysterious, and they love in-your-face content." Animal Planet extreme fishing series River Monsters is also resonating well with kids, he says. Discoverykids.com targets 6-12 year olds, with 8-9 as the sweet spot. The website also features a parents area which links to the site’s Facebook feed and other relevant content including ideas for themed parties and events. At this point, there is no original programming on the site, but "as we begin to get metrics and see what kids are engaging with the most, we’ll be looking at the possibility of original content. This company responds quickly where we see traction." Discovery Kids is also interested in partnering with "best in class" tech companies that can deliver cutting-edge interactive experiences via the site, Stoops says, including launch partners Happly and Animax Digital Production.

Sony Pictures Television is developing a TV series based on the Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs books and its film franchise. How is Sony using licensing extensions to build anticipation for its TV show? Find out next Thursday, May 29, at the CynKids webinar The New Lessons of Licensing: How to Maximize Tune In, Brand Engagement & Revenue featuring Greg Economos, Sony’s SVP, Global Consumer Products; Manuel Torres, Nickelodeon’s SVP, Global Toys and Publishing; Marty Brochstein, SVP, Industry Relations & Information at the International Licensing Industry Merchandisers Assn. (LIMA); Kirk Bloomgarden, SVP, Global Consumer Products at Saban Brands;; and Erin Dippold, VP, Consumer Products at DHX Media. Register here: http://www.cynopsis.com/webinar/the-new-lessons-of-licensing-how-to-maximize-tune-in-brand-engagement-revenue/

Smile and wave? DreamWorks is doing a switch-a-roo, bumping the theatrical release of its much-touted Home from its scheduled Nov. 26 date until March 27, 2015. Sliding into Home’s slot is Penguins of Madagascar, originally slated for release next March. "We will continue to be as flexible as necessary when it comes to our release dates," said  Dawn Taubin, DWA chief marketing officer. "We’re confident that this date switch gives both of our upcoming releases the largest opportunity for success."


Nominated for an Emmy for his work as a producer on The Simpsons, Bento Box Entertainment principal Joel Kuwahara’s animation prowess now extends far beyond Springfield. To Korea, actually. LA-based Kuwahara not only oversees many of Bento Box’s animated series, including Bob’s Burgers and The Awesomes, he’s revolutionizing the company’s digital production pipeline, one studio at a time. Joel shares his thoughts with us on…

Life in Springfield
The Simpsons was the best training ground I could’ve asked for in animation. It’s a show that has all the components that make a great animated television show-the writers, the voice talent, the characters and the animation. So much care goes into that show at all levels. I was amazed at how disciplined the writers were, how seriously they took each stage of the process. It’s a very traditionally produced show. The way they handle each stage of process is very classic, so it was a great foundation to learn from as a young person entering animation industry.

Overseas animation culture
The animation industry is very traditional overseas. Most of the artists are older; they’re not the 20-year-olds you see in the States. These guys have the skill and talent because they’ve been in animation so long, but how much longer does the industry have in Korea? A lot of younger artists are attracted to the gaming industry because it’s slicker. I started to discover some tools that existed but nobody exploited, especially in the areas of exposure sheets and timing. Those are super-labor intensive, and they’re all done by hand on paper in Korea.

How much paper is a LOT of paper
How much paper is created for a single episode? There are stacks and stacks of paper in rooms, and this had been going on in Korea for 20-plus years. We can use a lot of software and integrate domestically at Bento Box but the trick is, we now have it in digital form here but if I send it to Korea and they still work on paper, it becomes analog again and we then have to convert it back to digital. I thought, If I can get that middle part to become digital, than we can get the entire loop from preproduction in LA to Korea and back to me all in one clean package. I knew if I started with one studio, and they trusted us to introduce a new technology and adopt a new pipeline, we could revolutionize the way we do things. It took a lot of convincing. But I shared the advantages-the rooms full of paper, gone; they can bring in more animators and grow the business, the efficiency and speed-and promised them work, and we made good on it and gave them Bob’s Burgers. Now other studios are starting to take notice.

What’s next?
I’m never satisfied. I’m already thinking of phase two of software, and improving the process. It really has the potential to improve our industry. Some 13 to 15 years ago, we went through this once before when everything was hand painted on cels. This is the same kind of thing.

(CynKids will be running Q&As with each of our Animation Innovators every week leading up to the !magination Awards.)


Cartoon Network has picked up 9 Story Entertainment‘s animated Numb Chucks for broadcast in the US and Latin America. The series, about two half-witted woodchuck vigilantes who use their non-existent kung-fu skills to protect the lives of all the citizens in Ding-A-Ling Springs, premiered on Canadian kids network YTV earlier this year. Other networks that will be airing the series internationally include ABC TV (Australia), Disney (CEE, Asia, Israel and Benelux), TG4 (Ireland) and Canal+ Family (France, Africa).

Disney Channel picked up a fourth season of its hit live-action series Jessie. Production resumes in LA in August; season four is scheduled to premiere in next January, with a story arc that picks up after this fall’s story line that sees Jessie (Debby Ryan) getting engaged. For 2014 to date, Jessie is the No. 1 telecast in its time period, and overall, and the No. 2 live-action series in K2-11 (1.6 million/4.0 rating) and K6-11 (1.3 million/5.4 rating).

Kids aren’t the only ones in store for animated fun this fall. Fox is at last in production on that Simpsons-Family Guy crossover it’s been teasing us with–aptly titled "The Simpsons Guy." The ep, planned for September, will bring The Family Guy cast to Springfield, where Stewie becomes obsessed with Bart, and there’s some hilarious bonding between Lois and Marge, and Peter and Homer.

Random House Children’s Books will publish actress and playwright Amanda Peet’s first kids book, Dear Santa, Love Rachel Rosenstein. The picture book, which takes a crack at the age-old question of why Santa doesn’t visit Jewish homes, is co-written with Andrea Troyer and will be published in fall 2015.


What are you waiting for?
We’ve announced the Cynopsis Kids !magination Award finalists, Kids People Award winners and our 2014 Animation Innovators… now join us in saluting them at the Awards Breakfast!

Date: June 11, 2013
Time: 8AM  10AM
Location: The Yale Club of NY – Register Here

Registration: Pete Romas; 203.899.8483 | Sponsorships: Mike Farina; 203.218.6480


Jay Leno‘s really earning his mouse ears. First came word the former late-nighter is voicing a character on upcoming series The 7D, now we find out he’s voice-guesting in the one-hour special Phineas and Ferb Save Summer. The special, which airs Monday, June 9 at 10a, ushers in several new eps of the series airing throughout the summer, which will include guest stars Jon Stewart, Elizabeth Banks and Simon Pegg. Leno voices Major Monogram’s boss, Colonel Contraction of the O.W.C.A. (Organization Without a Cool Acronym), in the ep, in which Phineas, Ferb and the gang host a global summer concert – just as Doofenshmirtz is up to his latest tricks.

Get ready for WordGirl Appreciation Week on PBS Kids, June 2-6. During the week, WordGirl, Captain Huggy Face and friends will embark on five new adventures around town, fighting crime, correcting poor grammar and introducing new vocabulary along the way.

Actress Danica McKellar (The Wonder Years, Dancing with the Stars) guests on Hub Net’s Transformers Rescue Bots on Saturday, May 31, at 1:30p ET/10:30a PT. McKellar plays Hayley, a botanist to whom Kade takes a special liking during a nature hike where some strange things begin to happen.


Production company Media Valley is developing an animated series based on the book series Dragon Slayers’ Academy, written by Kate McMullan and published in the US by Grosset & Dunlap (Penguin Group). The series targets kids 7-10; since the first volume was published in the States in 1997, it has sold more than 3 million copies.


Amazon Studios will release the first of its initial trio of kids series this month. Tumble Leaf bows on May 23, followed by Creative Galaxy on June 27, and live-action series Annedroids on July 25. The first six episodes of each show will debut this summer; additional episodes will follow later this year.


StoryToys just released a new app, The Awesome Collection–Interactive Books, Stickers and Jigsaws, and for a limited time is offering it at a 50% discount on the App Store, Google Play and Amazon. The app includes three stories: Haunted House, Grimm’s Puss in Boots and The Jungle Book.

Fantastec, a Finnish developer of educational kids games, closed a seed investment round of $825,000 to boost development of multiplatform games. The company, whose brands includes Wonder Bunny and Polar Heroes, also signed a partnership with mobile tech firm Fingerprint, which operates Fingerprint Play in the US.


Nickelodeon and Kidrobot are launching of a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles x Kidrobot capsule collection that features designs from the Nick series and the classic ’80s comics. The line includes keychains, vinyl figures and apparel, and will be available at Kidrobot retail stores, Kidrobot.com and select specialty stores. Learn how Nick is using licensing to drive tune-in for TMNT, Dora and its new spinoff, and more on May 29 when Manuel Torres, Nick SVP, Global Toys and Publishing, shares his vision at the CynKids webinar The New Lessons of Licensing: How to Maximize Tune In, Brand Engagement & Revenue. Join us: http://www.cynopsis.com/webinar/the-new-lessons-of-licensing-how-to-maximize-tune-in-brand-engagement-revenue/

Ubisoft is teaming with a variety of licensees for a diverse lineup of merch inspired by its upcoming Watch Dogs game, the most pre-ordered new IP in Ubisoft’s history. Licensees include Astro Gaming, BioWorld, Frank & Oak, musterbrand, Prima, ThinkGeek, Titan and Trends.

Lawless Entertainment is named the exclusive North American licensing agent for Atlantyca Entertainment’s children’s book series Geronimo Stilton. Lawless will work with Atlantyca to produce an extensive range of licensed products including toys, games, arts and crafts, apparel, costumes, home wares and novelty items.

Licensed clothing company Poeticgem is developing a line of "retro adult daywear" based key properties from the DreamWorks Animation stable of brands, including Shrek, Kung Fu Panda and Madagascar.

Who you gonna call? Domo is part of a supernatural mashup in a new line of consumer products that features the social media meme busting out with characters from the Ghostbusters franchise. The line, part of an agreement with Sony Pictures Consumer Products brokered by Big Tent Entertainment, hits shelves in the fall. Look for lots of Slimer and the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man.

Longtime licensing industry exec Stacey Reiner is hanging her own shingle in NY under the Remarkable Brands name. Reiner is launching her business as newly appointed worldwide rep for two lifestyle properties-Inoochi’s Lovi & Dovi and UndieBabies, both featuring quirky characters with a humorous twist. Prior to establishing Remarkable Brands, Reiner spent six years at HIT Entertainment as director of new business development.


Animated series LadyBug is crawling around the world via new deals sealed by PGS Entertainment. New markets for the co-production among French animation companies Zagtoon and Method Animation, and Japan’s Toei Animation include SAMG Animation and SK Broadband (Korea), AB International as French co-producer and co-distributor, and its leading commissioner in France, TF1. New distribution deals include Gloob, a Globosat’s channel (Brazil); Tele-Quebec (Canada) and ABC (Australia). The series will be launched in Q2 2015.


Top 10 Basic Cable Ratings for the week of May 12-18, 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 May 12-18 , 2104
5/18/14/Despicable Me/DSNY/9-10:45a/1905
5/16/14/Dog With A Blog/DSNY/8:30-9p/1481
5/16/14/Sanjay & Craig/NICK/7-7:30p/1470
5/17/14/Despicable Me/DSNY/8:15-10p/1434
5/17/14/Sanjay & Craig/NICK/10:30-11a/1403
5/18/14/Lego Star Wars Yoda Chronicles/DSNY/10:45-11:10a/1317

K6-11  Top 10 Programs for the week of May 12-18, 2014
5/16/14/Dog With A Blog/DSNY/8:30-9p/1237
5/18/14/Despicable Me/DSNY/9-10:45a/1152
5/17/14/Despicable Me/DSNY/8:15-99810p/
5/12/14/Dog With A Blog/DSNY/7:30-8955p/
5/17/14/Mighty Med/DSNY/10-10:30p/899
5/9/12/Geek Charming/DSNY/8-9:50p/889
5/13/Cloud 9/DSNY/8-9:40pp/861
5/16/14/Sanjay & Craig/NICK/7-7:30p/850

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

Weekend box office estimates for the 10 top-grossing kids/tween/teen movies rated G, PG or PG-13, provided by Rentrak for May 16-18, 2014:

Godzilla (Warner Bros.) PG-13 $93.21 million (weekend) $93.21 million (weekend)
Amazing Spider-Man 2 (Sony) PG-13 $16.8 million (weekend) $172.22 million (3-week cume)
Million Dollar Arm (Disney) PG-13 $10.51 million (weekend) $10.51 million (1-week cume)
The Other Woman (20th Century Fox) PG-13 $6.3 million (weekend) $71.66 million (4-week cume)
Heaven Is For Real (TriStar Pictures) PG $4.4 million (weekend) $82.25 million (5-week cume)
Rio 2 (20th Century Fox) PG $3.8 million (weekend) $118.05 million (6-week cume)
Captain America: The Winter Soldier (Disney) PG-13 $3.76 million (weekend) $250.63 million (7-week cume)
Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return (Freestyle Releasing) PG $1.95 million (weekend) $6.56 million (2-week cume)
Mom’s Night Out (Sony) PG $1.9 million (weekend) $7.33 million (2-week cume)
Divergent (Lionsgate) PG-13 $1.15 million (weekend) $146.78 million (9-week cume)


Scholastic UK appointed to execs to its fiction editorial team. David Maybury, currently an editor for Penguin Random House and developer at Brown Bag Films, will join Scholastic on June 16 as commissioning editor. Peter Matthews, most recently an assistant editor at Penguin Random House, joined Scholastic May 19 as desk editor, fiction.


The New Lessons of Licensing: How to Maximize Tune In, Brand Engagement & Revenue
Thursday, May 29, 2014 ||| 1:30 – 3:00pm ET ||| Sign-Up Now

Speakers Include:
Erin Dippold – VP, Consumer Products {DHX Media}
Kirk Bloomgarden – SVP, Global Consumer Products {Saban Brands}
Gregory Economos – SVP, Global Consumer Products {Sony Pictures}
Marty Brochstein  – SVP Industry Relations and Information {LIMA}
Manuel Torres – SVP Global Toys and Publishing {Nickelodeon}



Answer to yesterday’s Trivia Question: What prolific TV composer wrote the score for Pee Wee’s Playhouse? Lots of Danny Elfman guesses, but the correct answer is Mark Mothersbaugh Kudos to: Stephanie L. Jones, Jonestwin, NY; Meryl Schumacker, PBS Kids, Arlington, VA.

Today’s Trivia Question: In the TV show Penguins of Madagascar, what does the penguins’ license plate say? (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
Cynopsis Kids!

Roberta Caploe: Editorial Director @robertacaploe
Diane K Schwartz: Senior Vice President, Media Communications Group

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