In an effort to air more first-run programming, Nickelodeon UK is jumping into a three-year co-production deal valued between US$24.9 million and US$33.2 million with Granada Media. A four-person core creative team comprised of Nick and Granada execs plans to initiate 16 projects in hopes of seeing at least five through to final production- an ambitious goal considering the high rate of new project failure.
Members of the team include Annie Miles, director of animation at Granada, Steven Andrew, the prodco’s controller of children’s programming, Nick UK’s managing director Janie Grace and director of programs Howard Litton.
Says Grace, ‘We both wanted to commit to give us what we wanted, which is exclusivity, and give them what they wanted, which is rights and ownership of properties to exploit in the commercial world.’ Of the five projects to be completed, Grace is aiming for three animation and two live-action productions, split between two demos-kids ages seven to 12 and the preschool set. Nick UK will retain exclusive rights in the U.K. with worldwide distribution and licensing rights going to Granada. The deal opens up an important new broadcast outlet for Granada, whose kids output has so far been primarily aimed at U.K. terrestrial network ITV.
In the arena of international brand expansion, Nick has announced plans for a first quarter 1999 launch of a shared Spanish-language cable and satellite channel with Paramount Comedy in Spain. Nick and Paramount will occupy the same channel position on Canal Satellite Digital, Spain’s leading digital satellite TV operator, with Nick filling the daytime slots with kids fare and Paramount providing comedy during prime-time and late night hours.