11/19/14: Cupcake grows a Little Bit bigger; live-action in the spotlight at Nick; Nelvana dreams up two new series; PBS Kids signs first digital brand partner


Good morning. It’s Wednesday, November 19, 2014, and this is your first early morning briefing.


Cupcake Digital continues to sweeten its pot with the acquisition yesterday of Little Bit Studio, developer of the popular Bugs and Buttons app series. This is Cupcake’s second acquisition this year, following the purchase of iStoryTime in March. Little Bit Studio will fold into Cupcake Digital’s broader structure of technology and marketing resources; new Bugs and Buttons and other product will be introduced as early as Q1 2015. Additionally, Little Bit Studio founders Scott Vann and Jason Luber will hold senior positions at Cupcake Digital. “The acquisition of Little Bit Studio allows us to strategically build our growing IP portfolio with this highly original, creative company,” said Cupcake Digital CEO Brad Powers.

Looks like Shrek and My Little Pony are not destined to become siblings after all. Hasbro has called off its probe into possibly acquiring DreamWorks Animation. As previously reported, the Jeffrey Katzenberg-helmed studio was seeking $30 a share, a jump from the original trading price of $22 a share. The toy maker and DreamWorks previously collaborated on the Shrek and Kung Fu Panda movies and merchandise. Katzenberg and company reportedly are in discussions about selling a 25 percent stake DreamWorks Animations’ YouTube channel AwesomenessTV to Hearst.


Two new live-action pilots are headed to Nickelodeon–comedies The Dunes Club (working title) from Heather Flanders (Undateable, Lab Rats) and Future Shock (working title), from Mitchel Katlin and Nat Bernstein (See Dad Run),]. Nick also renewed second seasons of recent ratings-grabbers Henry Danger and Nicky, Ricky, Dicky & Dawn. Here’s what the new pilots are about:
* The Dunes Club: Set in a high-end beach club, an unlikely friendship forms between a sheltered, privileged boy and a street-smart local girl who takes a job for the summer to earn extra cash. Pilot production begins in January 2015.
* Future Shock: Two brothers get the shock of their lives when a girl from the future accidentally transports them with their mom to the year 2070. Pilot production begins in January 2015.

Disney Junior ordered a second season of Mandy Moore-voiced Sheriff Callie’s Wild West. The series charted new territory when it premiered on the WATCH Disney Junior app in November 2013, before its TV debut, and amassed more than 23 million views.

BabyFirst and the National Hispanic Media Coalition launched a Latino-themed programming competition. The “Rising Creators Project” invites writers, musicians, animators and producers to submit ideas or existing children’s TV series for consideration. A panel of media executives will select one winner whose show will appear on BabyFirst for two years plus apps and online. The network currently reaches 41 million U.S. households. Entries can be submitted through March 15, 2015 at www.risingcreators.com.

Several new kids productions in the works at Corus Entertainment’s Nelvana. Nelvana is in a development agreement with Brown Bag Films and Candy Bear for new girl-targeted CG-animated preschool series Cozy Island. Created by Gili Dolev and Yvette Kaplan and designed by Erez Gavish of Candy Bear, the series is about an imaginative girl named Naya who moves to Cozy Island with her family for her mother’s new job. She discovers the island is a “very bouncy place filled with amazing new friends.”… Nelvana is also developing CG-animated series Camp Yeti, together with the newly formed Abominable Snowman, led by Keith Chapman and Ian Liddell. The show is about a summer camp from Studio Liddell (Cloudbabies) to develop the 52 x 11-minute series about a special summer sleep-away summer camp where young yetis spend their days trekking through snowy peaks, making yeti crafts, eating spag-yeti and singing yeti songs around the campfire. Anticipated delivery is fall 2016.

The search for the next great Latino boy band is on, and Simon Cowell’s onboard. Auditions for Univision reality competition La Banda, developed with Cowell’s Syco Entertainment and Saban Brands and co-produced with FremantleMedia Latin America, are open at LaBandaoficial.com. Online casting will be followed by casting events across the U.S. and Puerto Rico in spring 2015, for a fall 2015 premiere.

The trailer to The Peanuts Movie is here! 20th Century Fox and Blue Sky Animation tease the CGI-animated film, slated to open next holiday season–Nov. 6, 2015–with a Snoopy-centric clip, of course with some Woodstock sauce. Check out the trailer and let us know what you think. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-XmV3zGifOE


The boys of One Direction stopped by Sesame Street to help show kids What Makes U Beautiful-the letter, that is-in an adorable clip that debuted this week. The boy band also released their fourth album on Monday, aptly titled Four. Here’s their video with Elmo and friends: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Dwm7-aSpxs

The Fa-la-la-lidays are back on Disney Channel. In its fourth year, the programming promo begins Nov. 28 and runs through December featuring themed episodes and other goodies including: a holiday reunion ep of Girl Meets World guest-starring Boy Meets World alumni Rider Strong, William Russ and Betsy Randle plus Disney Pixar’s Toy Story That Time Forgot. The Fa-La-La-Lidays also include a winter makeover of DisneyChannel.com.  Each week, there’ll be a new "gift" to unwrap containing holiday-themed games, videos and activities. It will also feature online crafts, giving fans the ability to print their own one-of-a-kind presents to share, including posters, holiday cards and ornaments.


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is broadening its HALO Effect prosocial initiaitve. The network’s annual HALO Awards concert will air Nov. 30, and Nick is launching a project with DoSomething.org designed to connect kids and teens to the community service initiatives championed by this year’s five Nickelodeon HALO Awards honorees–Lulu Cerone, Yash Gupta, Cassandra Lin, Nicolas Lowinger and Alanna Wall. Kids and teens can visit DoSomething.org/HALO and click on the profile of each honoree to sign up and participate in activities.

Chuggington Live!, the musical show based on the Disney Jr. TV series, will launch its North American tour in January. The two-act production features real trains with working features and movements that bring the Chuggington TV series characters to life on stage in front of a giant LED video wall. The tour is scheduled to play in more than 50 cities, including NY, Orlando, Austin and Detroit.

Walter who? Bryan Cranston’s newest role as the hilarious narrator of explicit children’s book You Have to F*cking Eat is the perfect sequel to Samuel L. Jackson narrating predecessor Go the F*ck to Sleep. Both adult kid’s books are from author Adam Mansbach. Sleep became a runaway hit in 2011; Eat debuted Nov. 12. Will it follow suit? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I2co-ot8PTQ

Sony’s PlayStation Vue, currently only available in invite-only beta, will launch with 75 channels and moviesincluding Nickelodeon and Sprout. The first multi-channel TV service that runs over the Internet, bypassing cable and satellite providers, is expected to get a phased rollout in Q1 2015 starting in NY, then to Chicago, Philadelphia and LA before debuting on the iPad and eventually on other non-Sony devices.

Pass the Geritol. Hard to believe, but The Little Mermaid was released theatrically 25 years ago on Nov. 17. The film ushered in a new kind of Disney princess in the feisty Ariel, and its soundtrack, from Alan Menken and Howard Ashman, garnered Academy Awards for Best Original Score and Best Original Song (Under the Sea).


Walmart streaming service Vudu is onboard for Disney Movies Anywhere, joining predecessors Apple’s iTunes and Google’s Play. Beginning yesterday (Nov. 18) Vudu became available through the Disney app, which provides access to Disney, Pixar and Marvel movies, plus new short form content, with purchased titles stored in the cloud for accessibility on any mobile device with an Internet connection.


Cupcake Digital tomorrow (Nov. 20) will release its first app in partnership with Peanuts Worldwide. Snoopy’s All-Star Football will be available on the App Store and features a story about some surprises that occur during the Peanuts gang’s pickup football game, plus an interactive game where kids can be quarterback in their own all-star football team made up of Peanuts characters.

The Caribu video calling and reading app is adding HIT Entertainment titles to its bookshop. Thomas & Friends, Fireman Sam, Angelina Ballerina and Mike the Knight are among the brands joining Caribu’s bookshop, available for iOS devices.

Ubisoft’s Rabbids Invasion: The Interactive TV Show launched this week on Kinect for the Xbox One, Xbox 360 and PlayStation Camera for PlayStation 4. Rabbids Invasion enables kids to use a motion camera to interact with events on screen while the Rabbids episode is airing.


Cuties are apparently for PBS Kids. Cuties California Clementines are the first national digital sponsorship partner for the PBS Kids brand. The parent-targeted campaign, which kicks off this week and runs through June 2015, runs across PBS Kids’ digital platforms including pbskids.org and the PBS Kids Video App and will include content on the PBS Parents website and in parent-focused video series distributed by PBS Digital Studios. The brand integration is part of Cuties’ ongoing “Unwrap Sweetness” campaign. It will also include a national sweepstakes to launch in early 2015, and a cameo by Sun Pacific’s sister fruit Mighties Kiwi, in a bid to make the fuzzy little super food more approachable.

My Gym Children’s Fitness Center is running a holiday campaign centered around preschool series Julius Jr.  The campaign highlights a custom music and movement program as part of My Gym’s preschooler fitness curriculum, featuring original music from the Saban Brands series. Other elements include character tattoos, hand stamps and music and movement work sheets, coloring pages and DIY character masks. Julius Jr. airs on Nick Jr. in the U.S.


PBS Distribution is the new home entertainment licensing partner for DVD, CD and digital for Genius Brands International’s Baby Genius line. The Baby Genius library contains 500-plus songs and 125 music videos, and new content is planned.

Egmont Publishing will produce a line of books and magazines based on the Teletubbies as part of a new deal with DHX Brands. Product will begin rolling out internationally in spring 2016.

Outfit7 signed Toyze as licensee to develop customizable Talking Tom and Friends characters into 3D models, with the goal of enabling consumers to share their creations on social channels and bring them to life as 3D-printed toys. First up is Talking Tom himself, available now on Toyze’s app on Google Play and coming soon at the App Store… Outfit7 also signed Dream Theater for representation for licensing in India. Dream Theater also reps the Pokemon, Angry Birds, WWE and DreamWorks brands.

Warner Bros. Consumer Products EMEA appointed Pizzatoon its licensing representative in the North Africa region. Pizzatoon will work with WB brands including Looney Tunes, Tom and Jerry and Scooby-Doo; all DC Comics superheroes including Batman and Superman; and theatrical releases such as the upcoming Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice.

Care for a bear with your drink? Consumers in Singapore purchasing Ribena Cordial through Dec. 15 will receive free Care Bears swag thanks to a promotional deal with American Greetings Properties brokered by Medialink. The branded gifts developed by Paragon Premiums include a Care Bears plastic tumbler, plastic soup plate and plastic bowl… AGP is also extending the Bears’ reach in Argentina, signing deals via Exim Licensing Argentina with Wabro, Cotillon Otero and Picapau.

eOne nabbed new agreements for Peppa Pig. WDR mediagroup has been appointed as licensing agent for the brand in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. WDR also picked up broadcast rights to seasons 5 and 6, and renewed the first two seasons. Master toy partner Big on Toy Innovation (BOTI) released its Peppa toy line in March; new licensing agreements have been signed with Ravensburger, V-Tech and Simba.


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The new 60-ep season of Teletubbies has been commissioned by CBeebies and is being produced for DHX Media by U.K. production company Darrall Macqueen. It will feature the same well-loved characters but will bring a refreshed, contemporary look. 

Turner Broadcasting acquired U.K. pay TV rights for Lupus Films’ (The Snowman & the Snowdog) new animated series Toot the Tiny Tugboat. The series, which follows the aquatic adventures of an eager tug during his first year of service, will air on Cartoonito early next year.


Viacom International Media Networks appointed Pierluigi Gazzolo President of its Americas division, with responsibility for its operations across Latin America, Canada and the U.S. Hispanic market. Gazzolo will oversee the ongoing expansion of VIMN’s portfolio of TV channels and also retain his role as the Nickelodeon brand lead for all markets outside of the U.S., with its centralized Programming, Marketing, Creative, Consumer Products and International Program Sales teams continuing to report to him. 


Top 10 Basic Cable Ratings for the week of Nov. 10-16, 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 Nov. 10-16, 2104
11/15/14/The Incredibles/DSNY/9-11a/2118
11/14/14/The Incredibles/DSNY/7-9p/1766
11/11/14/Nicky, Ricky, Dicky & Dawn/NICK/6-6:30p/1557
11/11/14/The Thundermans/NICK/6:30-7p/1555
11/11/14/Henry Danger/NICK/5:30-6p/1422
11/15/14/Sofia the First/DSNY/8:30-8:55a/1392
11/15/14/Henry Danger/NICK/8-8:30p/1376
11/11/14/100 Things To Do Before High School/NICK/7-8p/1360
11/15/14/Star Wars Rebels/DSNY/11-11:30a/1330

K6-11  Top 10 Programs for the week of Nov. 10-16, 2014
11/15/14/The Incredibles/DSNY/9-11a/1254
11/14/14/The Incredibles/DSNY/7-9p/1209
11/11/14/The Thundermans/NICK/6:30-7p/1203
11/11/14/Nicky, Ricky, Dicky & Dawn/NICK/6-6:30p/1143
11/11/14/100 Things To Do Before High School/NICK/7-8p/1136
11/15/14/Henry Danger/NICK/8-8:30p/1095
11/15/14/Nicky, Ricky, Dicky & Dawn/NICK/8:30-9p/1024
11/11/14/Henry Danger/NICK/5:30-6p/977
11/15/14/The Thundermans/NICK/9-9:30p/969
11/15/14/Henry Danger/NICK/7:30-8p/942

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 Nov. 14-16, 2014:

Dumb And Dumber To (Universal) PG-13 $38.05 million (weekend) $38.05 million (1-week cume)
Big Hero 6 (Disney) PG $36.01 million (weekend) $56.2 million $111.65 million (2-week cume)
Interstellar (Paramount) $29.19 million (weekend) $97.81 million (2-week cume)
Beyond the Lights (Relativity Media) $6.5 million (weekend) $6.5 million (1-week cume)
Ouija (Universal) PG-13 $3.03 million (weekend) $48.11 million (4-week cume)
Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible No Good Very Bad Day (Disney) PG $1.56 million (weekend) $62.34 million (8-week cume)


Answer to last week’s Trivia Question: Who hosted the first series of Disney Channel’s Pass the Plate? Brenda Song Kudos to: David Stern, BARD Entertainment, NY; Cecilia Nguyen, Disney Television Animation.

Today’s Trivia Question: What’s Snoopy’s favorite drink? Email [email protected] with your answer and be sure to include your name, company, city and time zone.)

Cheers — Cathy Applefeld Olson
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