Canada’s Nelvana Limited has signed a two-year deal with CBS Television to produce six animated series for CBS Television, making the animation producer the sole provider of programming for the network’s new Saturday morning lineup. The move marks the re-entry of CBS into the animated arena, which it had abandoned in favor of a live-action slate for Saturday morning during the 1997-1998 season.
Nelvana beat out six other entities vying to land CBS’s cartoon slot, according to Toper Taylor, president of Nelvana Communications Inc. ‘Our strategy was to develop, in depth, 12 educational programs. We completed development material on these and were able to come in and not only pitch, but say to CBS, `here is what we are doing-join us,” says Taylor. Announcement of the deal was made jointly by CBS’s Lucy Johnson, senior vice president of daytime /children’s programming and special projects, and Taylor.
The six shows, which all meet FCC educational requirements, include Franklin, based on the Paulette Bourgeois book series, Anatole, about a mouse who lives with his family in Paris, The Dumb Bunnies, From the Files of the Flying Rhinoceros, Guardians of the Legend, a mythology-based action series, and Birdz, about a bird family.
While many of the shows have aired previously, Birdz will be produced solely for CBS. Nelvana will also produce all interstitial programming for the cartoons.