Jacki Blum, senior VP for licensing and entertainment at Santa Barbara-based Big Dog Sportswear, was hired a year and a half ago to bring the big guy to the small screen. ‘Big Dog is a family brand, with a lot of humor and attitude,’ Blum says, ‘and we were looking for someone with the same vision.’ That someone turned out to be Los Angeles-based Hartbreak Films president Paula Hart, whose credits include Sabrina the Teenage Witch. Together, they plan to develop a live-action, prime-time series geared to a family audience with a real Big Dog-well, sort of.
He’ll be more like Babe, an animatronic creation. He’ll also be the first character to break from a sports brand into TV, and not the other way around. ‘I think a lot of sportswear companies have been involved in entertainment in some way, but it’s never been done like this-where the character icon of a brand has become the star of a show,’ says Blum.
Big Dog isn’t footing the bill for the series, however. ‘We are traveling the path of the traditional entertainment property,’ Blum explains, and at this early development stage, the company is looking for broadcasters. ‘We do come with a bit of a marketing push,’ she adds. Big Dog has 181 retail stores, with sales figures for last year hovering at the US$100-million mark. The branded chain carries activewear, sportswear, accessories, gifts and pet products, and about 25% of the merchandise is children’s apparel. ‘We’ve kind of done it backwards, ‘ Blum says. KB