NBCUniversal Is Building Its Own Children’s Channel

The New York Times has an interesting article up about NBCUniversal’s new kids network which will replace the Sprout Network.

From the article:
LOS ANGELES — In a new salvo in the children’s television wars, NBCUniversal is creating its own Disney Channel.

Starting on Sept. 9, NBCUniversal will turn one of its smallest cable properties, Sprout, into a network called Universal Kids, said Deirdre Brennan, who will oversee the effort. She said NBCUniversal wanted to create an “umbrella brand” for its family offerings — television cartoons made by the Universal-owned DreamWorks Animation, Universal-Illumination films and attractions at Universal theme parks.

Sprout is solely aimed at preschool viewers, but Universal Kids will concentrate on children 2 through 11. The revamped channel’s first series will be “Top Chef Junior,” a spinoff of the cooking show on NBCUniversal’s Bravo.

“Reality programming is a real white space in the U.S. children’s market — food, pets, dancing, even news,” said Ms. Brennan, who will be general manager of Universal Kids. “Look at how sophisticated 11-year-olds are these days. They want more than the same sitcoms.”


Studio 100 Media - Maya The Bee2


Munich, September 25, 2015 – Studio 100 Media announced today that Sprout, NBCUniversal’s preschool TV network, has acquired the rights for both the new CGI series and 3D feature of worldwide popular brand MAYA THE BEE.

Maya the Bee (78 x 12 min) tells the story of Maya, a young bee who left her hive to discover the beauty and mysteries of nature. As she explores the meadow where she lives, she meets other creatures, goes on adventures, and shares her joy with her friends. The series will premiere on Sprout on Saturday, September 26th, with brand new episodes airing Saturdays at 9:00am ET. Maya the Bee will also air SundayFriday at 9:00am ET. The movie will air on September 26th at 5:00pm and 9:00pm ET.

“We are delighted about this collaboration with Sprout and thankful for their trust in our brand,” said Patrick Elmendorff, CEO of Studio 100 Media. “We are happy that now it is possible for Maya the Bee to reach Sprout’s audience.”

“Maya The Bee takes preschoolers on exciting adventures filled with humor and action,” said Andrew Beecham, Senior Vice President of Programming at Sprout. “We’re excited to introduce US audiences to this colorful, fresh, and joyful world.”

Studio 100 Media’s CGI series Maya the Bee is a French-German co-production of Studio 100 Animation with TF1 and ZDF. Studio 100 Film presents the Maya the Bee – Movie as an German-Australian co-production of Studio 100 Media and Buzz Studios in association with Flying Bark Productions.

Studio 100 Media GmbH

Studio 100 Media is a subsidiary of the Belgian Studio 100 NV. The Munich-based company is an international production and distribution company for quality and non-violent children’s entertainment. It has a private, diversified library and develops and acquires new formats. It is also responsible for the global sales of its own rights portfolio as well as for third-party distribution of programmes and exploits its motion picture portfolio in the digital arena.

The Studio 100 Group uses the new technical possibilities on offer to produce new productions of TV series, which have also been adapted to suit the viewing habits of children today. Since 2012, Studio 100 Media has been a producer of animated children’s films and so continues to foster their brands beyond their mere presence on TV. With the founding of Studio 100 Film, a subsidiary of Studio 100 Media, the company has expanded its business areas to include to the worldwide distribution of feature films.

Recently, the company has begun to present selected brands in the form of stage shows. The well-known brands under the umbrella of Studio 100 Media include “Maya the Bee”, “Heidi”, “Vic the Viking” and many Astrid Lindgren series, including “Pippi Longstocking”.

About Studio 100 Film

Studio 100 Film is a worldwide sales company of motion pictures within the family entertainment sector.  Based in Munich, Germany, the company is a hundred percent subsidiary of the international distribution and production company Studio 100 Media GmbH.

It is the objective of Studio 100 Film to offer top-class, non-violent and above all family entertainment around the globe.  In so doing, the company works on the basis of long-term partnerships, as well as project-based co-operations.

About Sprout®

Sprout is the first 24-hour preschool destination available on TV, on demand and online for children ages 2-6 and their parents and caregivers. Available in over 58 million homes, Sprout features original programming, including Ruff Ruff, Tweet and Dave and Astroblast!, a library of series, including Caillou and Sesame Street, and U.S. exclusives including Lazytown and Tree Fu Tom. Sprout’s Sunny Side Up Show is the only daily morning show for preschoolers and broadcasts live from NBCU Studios in Rockefeller Plaza. Sprout’s VOD offering is the #1 on demand service for younger children with over 1.8 billion views. Sprout was fully acquired by NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment in November 2013.  Please visit sproutonline.com for additional information.


9 Story Secures Multiple Sales for Emmy® Award-Winning Preschool Hit PEG + CAT



9 Story Secures Multiple Sales for Emmy® Award-Winning

Preschool Hit PEG + CAT

Toronto, Canada – September 24, 2015 – 9 Story Media Group is pleased to announce that it has secured multiple sales of the award-winning animated preschool series, Peg + Cat (80 x 12’). Leading Canadian preschool channel Treehouse acquired the second season to the series, while Super RTL (Germany) along with Canal+ Family and Piwi+ (France and French-speaking territories) picked up an additional 40 episodes of season one. A deal was also secured with Canadian-based GRICS, which licensed the first season for French speaking Canada. The series originally debuted onPBS Kids in the fall of 2013 and has won 4 Emmy® awards, including Outstanding Pre-School Children’s Animation Program.


The series has also been licensed to Télé-Québec, TFO (Canada), Tiny Pop (UK), ABC TV Australia, TVNZ (New Zealand), TG4 (Ireland), Super RTL (Germany and German-speaking Europe),SVT (Sweden), YLE (Finland), RTP (Portugal), MiniMini (Poland), Telewizja Polska (Poland), Discovery Kids (Latin America), Beijing Sunshine Culture and Communication (China), MediaCorp(Singapore), PTS (Taiwan), Disney (Korea), Television Media Korea (South Korea), True Visions (Thailand), TV3 (Thailand), HOP! (Israel), E-Junior (UAE), MBC Kids (Middle East), and Zee Learn (Indian Subcontinent). Netflix holds SVOD rights for multiple territories while ABC Commercial (Australia), Nelvana (Canada), Sony Music (Germany) and PBS Home Entertainment (U.S.) hold home entertainment rights to the series.

The series follows the adorable spirited, Peg, and her sidekick, Cat, as they encounter unexpected problems that require fun and creative solutions. In order to solve the problems, Peg and Cat must add, subtract and apply basic arithmetic. Their adventures take them to historical far-away lands, art centers in bustling metropolises and the colorful cosmos, all the while demonstrating that it’s never too early to start learning the magic of numbers.

Peg + Cat is co-created and executive produced by Jennifer Oxley (Little Bill, The Wonder Pets!) and Billy Aronson (Rent, Postcards from Buster) and co-produced by The Fred Rogers Company and 9 Story Media Group for PBS KIDS. Kevin Morrison of The Fred Rogers Company and Vince Commisso of 9 Story also serve as executive producers. 9 Story, which also handles international distribution, has secured distribution in 180 countries. HiHat Media is the licensing agent within the U.S. while 9 Story manages licensing for the brand internationally.

9 Story Media Group is a leading content creator, marketer and distributor of kids & family focused intellectual property. Recognized around the world for best-in-class brands such as Daniel Tiger’s Neighbourhood, Wild Kratts, Numb Chucks, Arthur and Peg + Cat, 9 Story represents over 1,800 half hours of animated and live action programming, seen on some of the most respected international channels and platforms.  With one of North America’s largest animation studios, 9 Story employs over 250 creative and production staff in its Toronto facility and has produced over 900 half hours of award-winning children’s content. 9 Story recently acquired the award winning animation studio Brown Bag Films, which employs over 170 staff members across Dublin, Manchester and Los Angeles.  Brown Bag is recognized for producing leading animated children’s series such as Octonauts, Doc McStuffins, Bing Bunny and Henry Hugglemonster.  9 Story is owned by senior management, ZMC, (Zelnick Media Capital) and media entrepreneur Neil Court.  www.9story.com

About The Fred Rogers Company

The company was founded by Fred Rogers in 1971 as the non-profit producer of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood for PBS. In the years that followed, it not only created hundreds of episodes of this much-loved program, but also extended Fred’s values and approach to other efforts in promoting children’s social, emotional and behavioral health and supporting parents, caregivers, teachers and other professionals in their work with children. The Fred Rogers Company continues to build on Fred’s legacy in innovative ways through a wide variety of media, and engaging new generations of children and families with his timeless wisdom. The company’s highly-rated, award-winning children’s series include Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, Peg + Cat and Odd Squad. For more information, visit www.fredrogers.org.

Portfolio Entertainment Launches Animation Studio in Toronto, Canada

Portfolio Entertainmment Animation Studio_Sept 2015_Email


Portfolio Entertainment Launches Animation Studio in Toronto, Canada

(September 21, 2015 – Toronto, Canada) – Producer and distributor Portfolio Entertainment is pleased to announce the launch of Portfolio Animation, a creative-driven animation studio equipped with top-tier talent, cutting-edge technology and commitment to excellence. The studio is part of Portfolio’s multi-faceted expansion plan that commenced in 2014 with the installation of a new senior management team to drive the company’s growth and diversification strategy.   

Situated in the creative hub of Toronto’s King West district, the new ultra-modern studio encompasses 9,000 square feet. Portfolio’s corporate office has also relocated to this facility.

The launch of Portfolio Animation builds on the company’s distinguished track record in production, distribution and brand-building of award-winning animation content, including international success stories, The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That! and DOKI. Senior Vice President of Production Julie Stall is at the helm of the new studio, along with Head of Studio Operations Sonya Carey, while Dave Beatty is the Senior Producer and showrunner for the studio’s first series Freaktown.

Portfolio Animation has hit the ground running with three projects in its pipeline. The company is now meeting with co-producers and networks globally to bring more projects under its collaborative roof.

“We are very excited to be growing our core business with the launch of Portfolio Animation. What sets Portfolio Animation apart is our hand-picked team of extraordinary talent, booming energy and the company’s two decades of production and distribution experience. Our goal is to incubate creativity, foster collaboration and deliver incomparable content,” said Lisa Olfman, CEO and Co-Founder, Portfolio Entertainment. “Through innovation and playful experimentation, Julie, Dave and the in-house team of artists create, shape and realize a shared vision with each partner, while ensuring outstanding quality, value and efficiency.”

The studio’s concept development, design, storyboarding, animatic editing and full animation services are complemented by Portfolio’s distribution arm, which brings international sales and marketing expertise to each project and ensures global success beyond the first screen.

For Portfolio Animation inquiries, please email studioinfo@portfolio-ent.com.


About Portfolio Entertainment

Portfolio Entertainment produces and distributes kids, factual and unscripted entertainment to television and digital media content providers worldwide. With two decades of industry experience, the company has a vibrant, creative culture and an entrepreneurial edge. Portfolio’s most notable projects include the celebrated The Cat in the Hat Knows A Lot About That!; Freaktown, an entirely new property set to launch on Teletoon in 2016; the dogumentary For the Love of Dog; and the MOW Stolen Miracle. Pivotal since start-up, Portfolio’s international distribution division represents a diverse catalogue of original and third party programs and has earned a reputation for superior content, diligence and drive. Portfolio was founded by Lisa Olfman and Joy Rosen and is based in Toronto, Canada. www.portfolioentertainment.com

Media Contact:

Roopa Shah


Portfolio Entertainment


(416) 856-2666


The Little Red Haired Girl Makes Her Debut

THE LITTLE RED-HAIRED GIRL FIRST MENTIONED: November 19, 1961 Not much is known about the The Little Red-Haired Girl except that she is Charlie Brown's unrequited love in the Peanuts comic strip. Charlie Brown never found the courage to talk to her and she was never actually seen. The closest she came to appearing in Peanuts was in May, 1998, where she is seen in silhouette dancing with Snoopy. DID YOU KNOW: In the animated specials, which Charles M. Schulz considered non-canonical, the Little Red-Haired Girl is named Heather.

FIRST MENTIONED: November 19, 1961
Not much is known about the The Little Red-Haired Girl except that she is Charlie Brown’s unrequited love in the Peanuts comic strip. Charlie Brown never found the courage to talk to her and she was never actually seen. The closest she came to appearing in Peanuts was in May, 1998, where she is seen in silhouette dancing with Snoopy.
DID YOU KNOW: In the animated specials, which Charles M. Schulz considered non-canonical, the Little Red-Haired Girl is named Heather.

Today, The Little Red Haired Girl from THE PEANUTS MOVIE made her debut with the help of  Francesca Capaldi, voice of The Little Red Haired Girl in the movie. Head over to Francesca’s Instagram page to check out the adorable first look!
See the Little Red Haired Girl on Francesca Capaldi’s Instagram HERE: https://instagram.com/p/4620d6SWJ9/?taken-by=imthefrancescac

This is the first time the Little Red Haired Girl from the movie has been seen!
To learn more about the Little Red Haired Girl and the real-life woman who inspired her, check out this story from The Washington Post:: http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/comic-riffs/wp/2015/07/09/exclusive-1st-look-thanks-to-peanuts-movie-heres-your-new-little-red-haired-girl/
THE PEANUTS MOVIE hits theaters everywhere on November 6, 2015!
3D Animation
Release: November 6, 2015
Director: Steve Martino
Based upon the comic strip by Charles M. Schulz
Producers: Craig Schulz, Bryan Schulz, Cornelius Uliano, Paul Feig, Michael J. Travers
Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Lucy, Linus and the rest of the beloved “Peanuts” gang make their big-screen debut, like they’ve never been seen before, in state of the art 3D animation.  Charlie Brown, the world’s most beloved underdog, embarks upon an epic and heroic quest, while his best pal, the lovable beagle Snoopy, takes to the skies to pursue his arch-nemesis, the Red Baron.  From the imagination of Charles M. Schulz and the creators of the ICE AGE films, THE PEANUTS MOVIE will prove that every underdog has his day.
THE PEANUTS MOVIE Official Socials
Official Hashtag: #PeanutsMovie

“10 Things No Animator Wants to Hear”

animcolor_largeRenderDigimania has a good article about the “10 Things No Animator Wants to Hear”

“I don’t have any concept art or storyboards yet, but a story outline will do, right?”
No, it won’t. You wouldn’t ask a voice actor to do the gig without a script, so why ask somebody whose job it is to bring the images to life to do so without any bloody reference materials? We will just end up blindly firing out ideas, only to watch each one shot down, as we slowly and painfully try to find out what the hell you were actually looking for in the first place. Animators can do many things, but mind-reading isn’t one of them.

You can read the full article here.