Monday, February 18th, 2008



Cookie Jar Entertainment, producers of Arthur, Caillou and
The Doodlebops, is serving up hot properties at Toy Fair!


Johnny Test: A gut-busting comedy with innovative product applications
Strong global broadcast: Newly added to Cartoon Network US’s weekday afternoon lineup.

Magi-Nation: A multi-platform action-adventure property featuring online role-playing, game TV show, trading cards and more.

Richard Scarry: Vintage merchandising program with strong heritage and modern appeal.

Cynopsis: Kids!


Good morning. It’s Monday, February 18, 2008, and this is your first early morning briefing.

Whittaker Bay, the teen drama that premiered on Superstation WGN in January, moved to primetime this weekend as the series debuted on the TV network America One, Saturday at 9p, which will be its regular time slot.  Produced by H20 Entertainment, this March 2008 Whittaker Bay also joins the network’s Sunday night programming lineup. H2O has also entered into a syndication deal with Fox TV for its O&O stations from fall 2008.  The show is being offered as a barter-trade across the US by a 50/50 advertising split on the various stations.  Additionally, under a pact with online distributor , the series will be available from March on outlets including iTunes, Apple TV and TiVo on demand.

PBS Kids hosts the second annual Curious George President’s Day marathon, a two-hour event featuring four back-to-back episodes of the animated preschool series Curious George (check local listings).  Meanwhile online ( kids can play with two new interactive Curious George activities.

Telescreen, the Dutch producer/distributor of kid-targeted programming, inks a range of TV and home entertainment deals for properties including Moomin, Miffy, Little People and Lizzie McGuire.

  • Abbey Home Entertainment (UK and Ireland) picks up the home video rights to Little People
  • Antenna 3 (Spain) signs a broadcast deal for the live-action series Lizzie McGuire
  • Canal J (France) acquires four TV specials of Explore the World with Miffy for the French market, and inks a deal for the broadcast rights to Little People (a Mattel/Fisher-Price co-production) and the fairytale collection, Hand Christian Anderson  The Fairytaler (26×30)
  • Cinemix (Hungary) picks up home entertainment rights to Telescreen’s animated series Mrs. Pepperpot (aka The Teaspoon Lady)
  • Estonian home video distributor DVD2002 will release Hans Christian Andersen  The Fairytaler (26×30) in all three Baltic languages on DVD for the first time, and has also taken the video rights to the full Moomin series and the feature film for the Baltic countries
  • Hollywood Classics (Czech and Slovakia) takes TV and home video rights for the Moomin series and movie.
  • JimJam TV takes the 2D animated series Anton (26×30)
  • KRO (Netherlands) renews rights for all 2D and 3D Miffy series as well as picking up the Explore the World with Miffy specials.
  • TV2 (Denmark) renews its broadcast license for Moomin series (104×30)
  • Vapet Productions (Czech and Slovakian territory) acquires both TV and home video rights for the HC Andersen series.


The news on the plethora new products, is of course endless, so here is a taste of what is being featured at the Toy Industry Association’s 105th American International Toy Fair this week in New York City, where some 35,000 visitors and 1,200 manufacturers/distributors/importers/sales agents are expected.  We’ll be there today too, toodling around among the toys – see you there!

New to Toy Fair this year: The Inventor Center, showcasing 20 or so new toy inventions; Fundamentals, an exhibit area featuring educational toys and games and demonstrations.

Fisher-Price Friends, a division of Mattel’s Fisher-Price, Inc., features the new Elmo plush, Elmo Live.  Elmo Live’s mouth moves and his mannerisms (waves his arms, crosses his legs etc) simultaneous t0 the character telling stories and jokes.  Aimed at kids 18-months+, Elmo Live ($59.99) will be available at retail from October 14, 2008.  That said, the company reports that consumers will be able to reserve Elmo Live beginning this spring, for delivery in October.

As in other product areas, we’re going to see some greening of toys both in the nature of the product as well as the material they are made with such as:

  • BBC‘s new line of products based on the BBC’s 11-part TV production Planet Earth.  Each Planet Earth branded product features environmentally friendly and/or recycled materials and are manufactured using “less harmful manufacturing process,” from partners including: Master toy licensee Planet Toys, Inc. (wild animal plush – some packaged with DVDs, science kids, recycling kits, explorer kits, Enviro-Gro Geo Globe); USAOPOLY (Monopoly Planet Earth Edition), Imagination International (DVD board game); The Canadian Group (2D and 3D cardboard puzzles); Modern Publishing (photo activity board books, coloring and activity books, jumbo floor pads, sticker books, wall art activity cards etc).
  • Corgi International brings its new H2Go fuel cell powered remote control car (read: battery free), and its packaging is made from recycled materials.

Nickelodeon launches its first Slime! product line, slated to be available at retail in fall 2008, as well as new partnerships and products for properties including: Dora the Explorer  with new products from Hasbro (Scrabble Junior, Dora the Explorer Edition), First Act (music toys); Ravensburger (What’s in my Backpack? For UK, France and Benelux), Goliath Games (Dora Triominos); Go, Diego, Go! – extends into science category; The Wonder Pets!  premieres its first toys from Fisher Price; SpongeBob SquarePants – launches a new plush line from Play Along (a unit of Jakks Pacific); and The Naked Brothers Band  makes its first visit to the show.

Ty introduces its next generation of Beanie Babies, Beanie Babies 2.0.  Each character in the Beanie Baby 2.0 series comes with a secret code (on the Ty heart tag) that unlocks an interactive virtual world.  The new Beanie Baby line is distinguished by a blue and gold lighting bolt button, and like the previous lines, the characters will eventually be retired.

The U.S. Playing Card Company introduces two new Bicycle family card games: Take the Train, a fast-paced sequencing card game (ages 7+); and 4-Mation, a rummy-style game (ages 8+).

Kids Preferred, LLC introduces new dolls, accessories and books at Toy Fair 2008:

  • Products based on the kid’s book Emily Goes Wild by author Betty Lou Phillips including a 12-inch Emily plush, 8-inch Emily Beanie, an Emily Doll Case, doll apparel (play and party clothes, PJs etc)
  • Products based on the animated preschool series Charlie and Lola including, character plush dolls such as the Giggling Charlie and Giggling Lola, talking poseable Charlie and Lola set (12-inch and 9.5-inch respectively), Sizzle the Dog beanbag (8-inch), as well as doll cases, accessories and a series of paperback books.


Jim Pattison Entertainment has acquired Guinness World Records from Hit Entertainment.  The terms of the deal were not released, but British newspapers are reporting the deal to be worth in the neighborhood of $180 million. The Jim Pattison Group is the parent company of Patterson Entertainment and Ripley Entertainment, which for the last decade has held the rights to develop and operate Guinness World Records museums and attractions.  There are currently six Guinness World Record attractions, including Japan, Canada, the US, and Denmark. Ripley’s operates 30 Ripley’s Believe It or Not Museums (aka Odditoriums), with another to open in London in August 2008.

LEGO Group is set to open Legoland Discovery Center Chicago/Schaumburg, its first US indoor center, this August 2008.  Modeled after the first location in Berlin, the 30,000-square-foot indoor theme park is aimed at K2-12 and includes attractions such as a dragon ride, adventure trail, Duplo play area, and 4D cinema, as well a cafe, store, exhibition room and birthday party rooms.  A second German location will open in May 2008.  All locations are operated by Merlin Entertainments Group, which is partially owned by The LEGO Group.

Disney Interactive Studios will release the Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian video game in conjunction with the May 16, 2008 release of the Disney/Walden Media movie of the same name.  Developed by Traveller’s tales, the Prince Caspian game, available for home consoles and Windows-based PC, takes players throughout Narnia and also includes a level set between the events of the first movie/book, The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe and Prince Caspian.  The action/role play Nintendo DS version of the game, developed by Fall Line Studio, is an action/role-play game that debuts DGamer, Disney’s feature that allows players in North America (the rest of the world to follow) to earn content, interact and chat with others on DS via the Nintendo Wi-Fi connection or a computer through

Cookie Jar Entertainment and Mighty Fine Inc. join together to produce a new young-adult targeted retro clothing line based on author/illustrator Richard Scarry’s kid’s book.  The line, which falls under Cookie Jar’s new Vintage Richard Scarry brand, will feature knits, fashion T-shirts and fleece and will feature characters including Lowly Worm and his apple car, Huckle Cat, Sally Cat and Pig Will and Pig Won’t.

Borders opens a new concept store, the first of 14 new slated to open this year, in Ann Arbor, Michigan, on February 22.  Designed to differentiate the seller from others, the new store (28,900-sq-feet) will focus specifically on categories including kids, graphic novels, travel cooking and wellness.  The store will also feature a Digital Center, featuring multiple computer kiosks and stations, where consumers can make their own CDs, download books and music, publish their own books, research family history and create photo books.  The kid’s section of the store, which will be subdivided by age demos, will offer books, music CDs, DVDs, toys, games and puzzles.

The NBA signs on to support kids in two different arenas:

  • Pepperidge Farm Goldfish brand inks a deal with Jr. NBA/Jr. WNBA and the NBA FIT Program, a health/wellness effort to encourage young people to make healthy life choices through proper eating habits and exercise.  Additionally Pepperidge Farm teams with NBA all-stars Dwyane wade and Chris Bosh who will serve as program ambassadors.
  • The Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company partners with NBA Cares, the NBA’s social responsibility initiative, for Wrigley’s Double-Double Challenge to benefit Prevent Child Abuse (PCA) America.  During the campaign (February 19-April 16), Wrigley will donate $50 to PCA America each time an NBA player earns a “double-double,” which is when a player gets double digit totals in two categories (e.g. points, rebounds, assists, steals etc.), up to $50,000.  Fans can participate by pledging for each “double-double” earned in the remaining NBA regular season games at

McDonald’s partners with Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon Movies for its current promotion, which runs now through march 13, and features toys based on The Spiderwick Chronicles movie.  Eight different character figurines, which light up, and a special Seeing Stone monocle from the movie are available in McDonald’s Happy Meals.


Weekend Box Office Estimates for kids/tweens/teens rated G, PG or PG-13; February 15-17, 2008:
Jumper (Fox) PG-13                                                   Opening Weekend $33.9m
The Spiderwick Chronicles (Paramount) PG                   Opening Weekend $21.4m
Fool’s Gold (Warner Bros.) PG-13                                 $13.1m02 wk total $42.0m
Definitely, Maybe (Universal) PG-13                              Opening Weekend $12.8m
Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins (Universal) PG-13          $8.9m-2 wk total $29.1m
Juno (Fox Searchlight) PG-13                                        $4.6m-11 wk total $124.1m
The Bucket List (Warner Bros.) PG-13                            $4.1m-8 wk total $81.1m
Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert Tour (Buena Vista) G   $3.3m-3 wk total $58.4m
27 Dresses (Fox) PG-13                                                $3.2m-5 wk total $69.9m
The Eye (Lionsgate) PG-13                                            $3.2m-3 wk total $26.3m
Source: Box Office Mojo


Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc’s Board of Directors names Strauss Zelnick, currently Non-Executive Chairman, as Executive Chairman.  Simultaneously, the company completes a deal with Ben Feder, who at this time serves as CEO, to continue in that role through October 31, 2012.  Additionally, Karl Slatoff is appointed EVP.  All three execs are available to Take-Two under a management deal with ZelnickMedia, a media and entertainment investment group.  Zelnick and Feder, founders of ZelnickMedia, have served in their roles since March 2007  when they were part of a shareholder takeover, and individual agreements with Feder and Slatoff.

Answer to Yesterday’s Trivia Question:  What is Calliou’s little sister’s name on the children’s show Calliou (PBS Kids)?   ROSIE   Kudos to:  Alisa Shapiro-Big Blue Dot/Watertown, MA; Peter Manor, NY; Randy Meredith-Brighter Minds Media/Worthington, OH; Rich Thomas-Disney Press/NY; Leigh Ann Schwarzkopf-Lookout Marketing/Minneapolis; Lee Williams-Boomstone Animation Inc./Ottawa; Claire Wilmut- Boomstone Animation Inc./Ottawa

Today’s Trivia Question: In the computer-animated film, Madagascar, during the incident at Grand Central Station, Alex, the lion, is tranquilized and enters a psychedelic state. While in that state, what song does he hear?    ( Click here 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.)

Later — Gwen
Gwen Billings for Cynopsis: Kids!

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JOB OPENING:  DIRECTOR & AE SALES POSITIONS (NY, LA, Chicago)/Arena Media Networks: Exciting opportunity to join quickly growing digital placed based media company in sports & entertainment arenas.Contact: [email protected] (2/23)

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JOB OPENING:  ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE/CABLEVISION/WOODBURY NY:  Seeks AE for local ad sales.2+ yrs ad sales exp. pref cable tv, radio, internet adv.  Valid NY DL.  See full posting and apply to req 4047BR (2/23)

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SITUATION WANTED ADS, POSTED BY THOSE LOOKING TO BE HIRED … Interested in posting your Video Resume?  Contact [email protected] for more information ….

SITUATION WANTED:  SHOWRUNNER/FIELD PRODUCER/WRITER: 10+ years producing for MTV, VH1, FUSE. Expertise in Celebrity Interview, Lifestyle, Entertainment News, Bio, Clip, and Reality genres. [email protected] / (2/21) 

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E-mail  [email protected] for rates and specs for Job Openings. 

Interested in posting your Video Resume?  Contact [email protected] for more information ….

Are you looking for a job? Post your Situation Wanted Ad here — Email [email protected] for specs.

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