*Treehouse TV sprouts
YTV Canada is branching out this month with the launch of Treehouse TV, a commercial-free specialty service dedicated to preschoolers. More than Cdn$7 million (US$5.1 million) spread over seven years is slated for the development of original Canadian programs, including several in-house productions. Treehouse TV will be available through cable and DTH distributors and will reach approximately five million subscribers.
*Marina sails with Cousteau
Jacques Cousteau will be the hero of a new animated series by Marina Productions. The company signed an exclusive deal with Cousteau’s widow to use his image and the image of his boat Calypso in an animated project. The Fantastic Adventures of Commandant Cousteau will enter pre-production in April 1998 for delivery in the year 2000. The 26 x 26-minute series has a budget of FF50 million (US$8.5 million). France 3 will co-produce the series.
*Fox Kids begins broadcasting in France
After some delays, Fox Kids Network will begin broadcasting in France on November 15. The new French cable channel will air programs from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. According to general director Beno’t Runel, programming will be geared to children age four to 10. Animated shows will make up 80 percent of the programming mix. The Saban catalogue will supply some programs. In a deal signed with the Conseil supžrieur de l’audiovisuel, Fox Kids will have five years to meet the required quota of French programming (60 percent of programs aired must be European and 40 percent of those must be French).
*Mediatoon and PorchLight sign deal
Mediatoon and PorchLight Entertainment have signed an agreement to co-finance two new animated series. Cždric, an animated 52 x 13-minute series based on a comic book by Dupuis and to be co-produced with Dupuis Audiovisuel and France 3, is scheduled to begin production in the second quarter of 1998. The second series, Time Spies, is a 26 x 30-minute live-action show.
*TVFI creates international database
TV France International (TVFI), created in 1994 to support the promotion and world sales of French television programs, announced at MIPCOM the launch of a new service on its Web site (www.tvfi.com) designed to provide information to members about foreign markets. More than 1,600 companies are listed, with 3,700 contact names in 200 countries.