The Children’s Television Workshop and pubco Random House are poised to do the synergy dance. The two companies recently signed a multimedia production agreement giving both the option of collaborating on future TV shows, book series and related on-line content.
‘All of CTW’s new shows will initially go to Random House to be assessed for their publishing potential, and it’s certainly our expectation that they will take on the majority of those [titles],’ says Gary Knell, executive VP of operations at CTW. Likewise, Knell adds, Random House and its kids division, Random House Children’s Media, will bring CTW the publishing properties it has in development for possible TV adaptation. Random House will publish the books based on CTW properties under a CTW imprint, along with a line of classic kids books that may or may not have a TV component. Knell says Random House is considering turning the CTW-CTHV co-production Dragon Tales, slated to air on PBS this fall, into a book series. Initially, in the area of on-line, the two companies will try to build awareness for any co-ventures through Random House parent company Bertelsmann AG’s strong international presence on the Web, with possible e-commerce applications to follow.
The deal will also see Random House assume publishing and distribution rights for all of CTW’s trade and mass-market titles, including all Sesame Street titles. This part of the agreement, which takes effect on July 1, gives Random House the ability to create and distribute new formats for CTW properties, such as storybooks, activity books and workbooks for the Canadian and U.S. markets.