Thursday, January 25th, 2007


Cyn opsis: Kids!


Good morning. It’s Thursday, January 25, 2007 and this is your first early morning Kids! briefing.


The BBC is developing CBBC World, a virtual world, targeted to Kids 7-12, which it expects to launch in fall 2007, per a BBC Online report.  CBBC World will be a safe environment where kids will be able to explore the virtual world and design their own avatars, create and share unique content as well as listen to radio, play games, and watch TV and other video content including content from CBBC digital channel.  CBBC World will begin with a soft launch this summer, with the official fall launch coinciding with the introduction of the CBBC’s new on-air look.

Fox 2000 and Fox Animation are reportedly in talks with Tim Hill, to direct a mixed CGI and live-action Alvin and the Chipmunks movie, per Variety.  Based on the famous animated chipmunks (Simon, Alvin and Theodore) created by Ross Bagdasarian Sr., who also voiced the characters, the movie is being penned by Jon Vitti and produced by Bagdasarian’s son, Ross Jr. and Janice Karman.  Hill has directed a number of movies including Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties, Max Keeble’s Big Move and Muppets from Space, as well as directing and writing many Nickelodeon projects.


Disney Theatrical Productions has unveiled plans for its shows in 2007, including Broadway as well as its productions on the road in the US and internationally.  Disney newest live musical show, The Little Mermaid, will start down the path to a debut on the Great White Way as rehearsals get underway this May 2007, under the direction of Francesca Zambello, followed by seven weeks of out of town previews beginning July 26 at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts.  The show returns to NYC where Broadway previews begin Saturday, November 3, 2007, a month ahead of the December 6 opening night at the Lunt – Fontanne Theatre.  The show will feature many of the songs from original Mermaid movie score composed by Alan Menken and his collaborator Howard Ashman, as well as the addition of 11 new songs composed by Menken and lyricist Glenn Slater.  The new musical will feature choreography by Stephen Mear and playwright Doug Wright is writing the book.  As Disney readies Mermaid for Broadway, the company has also posted July 29 as the final performance of Beauty and the Beast, which has run for 13+ years on Broadway at the Lunt Fontanne, to make way for Mermaid.  Additionally, this year the first international production of Tarzan will open in Amsterdam on April 15, while The Lion King is scheduled to open in Johannesburg, South Africa on June 6 and in Paris on October 4.


National CineMedia (NCM) has completed a multi-year marketing deal with Discovery Communications.  Under the agreement Discovery will provide short-form content, including sneak peeks at upcoming programs that will be featured in FirstLook, NCM’s pre-feature on-screen program, from cable channels including Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, TLC and Travel Channel.  National CineMedia is a joint venture of AMC Entertainment, Cinemark USA and Regal Entertainment Group.  FirstLook runs at 1,000 US theatres on 11,000+ movie screens, reaching about 500 million moviegoers annually.  The partnership begins this month with content from Discovery Channel new series Future Weapons and continues with Planet Earth in February and March.  Sure new shows are nice  but I know plenty of folks (kids, teens and adults) who would go to movie theatres just to see Mythbusters’ Adam Savage, Jamie Hyneman and Buster and/or Stunt Junkies’ Eli Thompson and Perry Barndt larger than life and doing just about anything.

Majesco Indie TV producer, Novel Entertainment has inked a DVD deal for its animated series Horrid Henry with Abbey Home Entertainment.  Under the agreement Abbey takes all UK DVD rights to the Horrid Henry series, which is currently broadcast in the UK on CiTV and ITV1.  The animated show is based on author Francesca Simon’s Horrid Henry book series, which is illustrated by Tony Ross and published by Orion Books. The DVDs will include 6×11′ episodes and will begin rolling out from late spring 2007.  Last year Novel entered into a licensing pact for the property with Copyright Promotions; both are attending this week’s Toy Fair in London.

Entertainment has slated the release of its new game, Toon-Doku, for Nintendo DS in April 2007.  Developed by Dragon’s Den Unlimited, Toon-Doku is a multi-player cartoon picture-based version of Sudoku puzzles.  The title includes 250 different images that can be used within the game, and for those ambitious folks among us there is the Edit Mode, which allows users to create their own pictures for use in the game or to trade, and there is also Distraction Mode (read: the “you are so mean” mode) that lets players block portions of their opponent’s board.  The game also features the traditional Sudoku number version as an option as well.


Bob Mann has joined Firestone Communications, Inc, as SVP/Affiliate Sales for the ¡Sorpresa! Network.  He will oversee all areas related to affiliate relations, sales/distribution and for expanding ¡Sorpresa!’s subscriber base.  Mann, who will be based at Firestone’s Texas offices, will report to President and COO, Leonard Firestone.  Mann joins ¡Sorpresa! after 19 years at Showtime Networks, where he held a number of positions including Regional VP, GM for South Central, Southeast and Central Regions.  Firestone Communications recently became as subsidiary of Juniper Content Corporation (f/k/a Juniper Partners Acquisitions Corporation).

Starz Media has upped Kent Rice, currently CEO of the animated feature film unit, will now also serve as President and COO.  Additionally, John W. Hyde, the current President and COO, has been appointed Vice Chairman, Starz Media.  Both will continue to report to Chairman and CEO Robert B. Clasen.  Rice will oversee all production, as he adds oversight of Film Roman (animation) and Starz Productions (live-action) divisions to his responsibilities.  Hyde will continue to manage Starz Home Entertainment, while adding responsibility for new business, partnership development, and industry and talent relations.  Neil Braun, President/Distribution and Marketing, will also continue reporting to Clasen.

Garfield Antonio joins RHNMedia as CFO.  A veteran entertainment and media investor, Antonio was key in the financings for Discovery Communications Inc. and BET.  RHN.TV is a 24/7 cable network that focuses on Hip Hop lifestyle and culture, currently available in 22 million US HH.

Sarah Marti has been appointed Creative Services Executive, FremantleMedia Licensing Worldwide.  Marti, who will work out of the LA office, will partner with the licensing teams in LA, NY, Miami and the central group in London to oversee the development of products and promotions for the company’s host of brands.  She will report to Toby Prosser, Creative Director, FLW.  Most recently Marti was Associate Manager, Disney Consumer Products.


Live + Same Day Ratings Kids Cable Network Averages (000) for Tuesday, January 23, 2007, 6am-11pm, ranked by K2-11:
NICKELODEON:         K2-11 1125; K6-11 526; TWEENS 9-14 374
DISNEY CHANNEL:     K2-11   710; K6-11 454; TWEENS 9-14 372
CARTOON NETWORK: K2-11   485; K6-11 312; TWEENS 9-14 250
TOON DISNEY:           K2-11   121; K6-11   59; TWEENS 9-14   28
Source: MTVN Research from Nielsen Media Research Data

Answer to Yesterday’s trivia question
: To whom were these two loyal pals named Jock and Trusty devoted? LADY in LADY AND THE TRAMP!  Kudos to: Julie Caracciolo-Active Media/Pearl River NY; Allison Lort-4Kids Entertainment Inc/NY; Meg Robeson-Just 4 Fun Kids and Family Marketing/Atlanta; Jonathan Meath-MeathMedia/Boston; Julie Syers-Briggs & Caldwell/Houston; Izzy Neis-Star Farm Productions/Chicago; Kerri Huyck-KIDK TV/Idaho Falls ID; Andrea Blain-Andrea Blain Public Relations/Skokie IL; Matt Wayne-Warner Animation/Sherman Oaks, CA; Rob Chatlin-GFX Network – LA

Today’s Trivia Question: On this kids show, this character says on a regular basis, “Cinders and Ashes!” Who is it? ( 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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