Nickelodeon has inked a deal with Italy’s public broadcaster RAI to produce the first localized foreign language version of Blue’s Clues, a top-rated U.S. series for preschoolers. RAI will use blue-screen technology to interpose an Italian host into the existing animated format. A localized version of the show featuring a British host is just going into its second season of production in the U.K. after launching there in January. Its Italian counterpart is scheduled to debut on RAI UNO in the second quarter of 1999.
In other Nick news, the kid programming powerhouse has signed a pre-sale deal with the BBC and France’s TF1 giving the two terrestrial broadcasters the rights to air all 20 episodes of Animorphs, beginning in the fall of 1999. On the German front, RTL has picked up four series from Nick, two of which will bolster the channel’s KRTL kids block starting in November. Airing in two windows, the quartet of shows will first appear on RTL, and then later on Super RTL.
Nick has also signed a multiyear deal with Television New Zealand (TVNZ) for the broadcast rights to 17 animated and live-action series, including CatDog, Kenan & Kel, Rugrats, Hey Arnold! and Angry Beavers. The deal commits the New Zealand terrestrial broadcaster to 755 episodes of programming through 2003.