Tuesday, December 9th, 2008


Cynopsis: Kids!


Good morning. It’s Tuesday, December 9, 2008 and this is your first early morning Kids briefing.  

The Walt Disney Company inks deals to acquire the outstanding shares of Jetix Europe N.V., taking the company to approximately 96% ownership of Jetix Europe, which features programming aimed at K6-14 across Europe.  The deal is expected to close by years end, after which Disney plans to obtain ownership the remaining shares in Jetix.  Additionally, Disney and Jetix intend to seek termination of Jetix’s listing on Euronext Amsterdam.  Disney acquired its original interest in Jetix Europe (f/k/a Fox Kids Europe), when it purchased Fox Family Worldwide from News Corp. in 2001.

Entertainment Rights (ER) appoints Deborah Dugan as its new CEO, effective immediately.  Dugan, who had been President and CEO ER North America, takes over the reins from Nick Philips who stepped down as CEO last week after nine months in the position.  Prior to joining ER in 2007, Dugan was President, Disney Publishing Worldwide.  As part of its reorganization ER has also announced the resignation of Jane Smith, Chief Creative and Commercial Director from the company and the board after nine years with the company.  Additionally, effective immediately Paul Ashworth, ACA, Group Financial Controller, becomes Company Secretary, succeeding Irvin Fishman.  Furthermore, as ER works to regain its financial footing the company has secured additional short term lending facilities with HBOS, its principle lending bank, to cover potential cash flow shortfalls through end of February 2009, while continuing to work on additional longer term arrangements.  ER also plans to reduce its workforce from 150 employees to about 100 by the end of the month.


Huntik: Secrets and Seekers (52 episodes) is a new animated action adventure property aimed at K6-12, which was developed through a partnership between Big Bocca Productions, Rainbow S.p.A., and production company m4e AG.  Co-produced with Rai 2 (Italy), Huntik: Secrets and Seekers is scheduled to launch first in North America on The CW4Kids on January 3, 2009, followed by MNET (South Africa) in January, and a March 2009 debut on RTL2 (Germany) and MTV3 (Finland), with a Q1 2009 premiere on Alter TV (Greece), Noga (Israel) in 2009, and Network 10 (Australia) in Q3 2009.  More information about the series can be found at www.huntik.com from mid December.

Sprout will host the Snooze-A-Thon, an 11-hour marathon beginning Christmas Eve, December 24, at 6p through 5a Christmas morning. Designed to help parents get kids to sleep (and back in bed) on Christmas Eve, the marathon will feature Nina and her puppet pal Star, from the net’s The Good Night Show, taking a snooze on the set, as well as clips of characters from other shows that air on Sprout all getting some rest – before the big morning.

Disney Channel hosts the world premiere of Demi Lovato’s (Camp Rock) new music video La La Land, off of her debut album, Don’t Forget, on Friday, December 19, during an airing of Camp Rock at 8p.  La La Land was written by Lovato and Jonas Brothers.

MTV Networks International (MTVNI) finalizes a raft of program sales and branded block deals for Nickelodeon across Europe:  TVP (Poland) takes the first season of Dora the Explorer; TSR (Switzerland) picks up season three of Avatar: Into the Inferno; LRT (Lithuania) renews its deal for Wild Thornberrys, and also added the first two seasons of back at the Barnyard to its schedule; Top Chanel TV (Albania) also picks up season one of Back at the Barnyard, and new episodes of SpongeBob SquarePants; DR (Denmark) will air seasons 4 and 5 SpongeBob SquarePants, and season one of Tak & the Power of Juju; CNBC-e (Turkey) re-ups its Nickelodeon branded block deal (264 hours), featuring SpongeBob SquarePants, Dora the Explorer, The Fairly OddParents, Jimmy Neutron, The Mighty B! and Avatar: the Last Airbender.

Parthenon Kids completes a number of broadcast deals including:

  • Hana’s Helpline – is acquired by Synapse (Brazil), Hakka TV (Thailand) and RTV (Slovenia).
  • Billy, a series from Little Entertainment Company, is picked up by SVT (Sweden) and RTV (Slovenia).
  • RTV (Slovenia) also picks up a package of S4C international’s programming including Bibi Ball, Little Engine that Could, Santa’s First Christmas, Sali Mali and Star Hill Ponies.
  • Jakers! – The Tales of Piggly Winks is re-licensed to SVT (Sweden), S4C (Wales), RTE (Ireland), TF1 (France), as well as a re-licensed DVD distribution pact with Svensk Filmindustri (SF) across Scandinavia.
  • SF also licenses the DVD rights to A Child’s Christmas from Brave New World Films, and the Blue Zoo produced Those Scurvy Rascals.
  • Additionally: The movie Roman Mysteries is picked up by RTE (Ireland); Penguin’s First Christmas is licensed by PIWI (France); Sun Media Korea licenses the DVD rights for some S4C programs; Al Jazeera acquires Bibi Ball, Animated Tales of the World and Animal Crackers.

Correction: In yesterday’s edition the name of one of the shows that Nelvana will feature at NATPE next month was misidentified.  The series is actually titled Skull Kids (26×30) – a 3D animated series co-produced with Korean studio Enemes, about five tiny creatures trying to get a grip on their size, shape and superpowers. (K6-11).


Big Bocca Productions names Upper Deck International (UDI) as the worldwide master toy licensee for its new series Huntik: Secrets and Seekers.  Upper Deck will launch its toy line, which includes 6 and 9-inch character figures and an electronic device featured in the series, in fall 2009.  UDI is set to introduce the line at the upcoming Toy Fairs in Hong Kong, London and Nuremberg.  Additionally, The Huntik: Secrets and Seekers trading card game bows in March 2009.  In addition to serving as co-creator/producers for the property, Big Bocca Productions will manage all marketing, promotional and licensing initiatives in the Americas, the UK, Japan, China, Korea and Oceania.


Common sense Media launches Common Sense Media Schools: A Parent Media Education Program.  The free program is designed to provide educators with resources that address parents’ questions and concerns about TV, movies, the internet, gaming, cyberbullying and virtual worlds and so on, giving schools the tools they need to run a media education program for parents and faculty.  The program, which can be tailored to specific groups and grade levels using information from Common Sense Media, offers videos, printed handouts and workshop presentations.  The program and information can be found at www.commonsensemedia.org/educators .


Europe’s Copyright Promotions Licensing Group (CPLG) is expanding its operation to North America, and sets up shop in Canada.  Kelly Elwood will head the Toronto office and report to Katrina Dietrich, CPLG CEO.  CPLG Canada is the Canadian Affiliate of the CPLG companies, which was recently acquired by Cookie Jar Entertainment.  CPLG Canada will manage the consumer products on all Cookie Jar properties.

Answer to Yesterday’s Trivia Question:   What is the name of the big orange monster that chased Bugs Bunny and wears sneakers?  GOSSAMER Kudos to: Carmela Strnatko/Norwalk, CT; Jeanne Holzknecht-Animation Collective, NY; Christine Ferrara-WSBK/WBZ/ Boston; Wendy DeNicolo/NY; Heather Hargrave-Breakthru Marketing/Lafayette, LA; Jeff Jan-Wieden + Kennedy/Portland, OR; Pat Brady-CESD/LA; Ted Biaselli- Disney Channel/XD/ Playhouse Disney/CA

Today’s Trivia Question: What was the name of the pilot in the cartoon series DuckTales? (Email Joanne@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.)

Later — Gwen
 Gwen Billings for Cynopsis Kids!

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