CanWest Entertainment International, the London-based distribution arm of Toronto’s Fireworks Entertainment created in March 1999, is concentrating a portion of its efforts on live-action children’s and family programming.
‘The children’s and family area is very important,’ says CEI consultant Catherine Nebauer. CEI is bringing several kids programs to MIPCOM this year, including Fireworks’ Just A Kid, a 26 x half-hour co-pro with Calgary-based Riverwood Productions. Filming of the US$15-million series will be completed by December 15, and Just A Kid will air in January 2000 on YTV in Canada and on Nickelodeon in the U.S. The live-action series chronicles the life of a tough city kid sent to live with relatives in a small western town. Lynch Entertainment holds U.S. distribution rights, with CEI handling the rest of the world.
In library fare, the new arm has acquired international rights to the 20 x half-hour Nickelodeon series Eddy McDowd, produced by L.A.-based Lynch Entertainment, as well as Chuck Finn, a 26 x half-hour series from Australia’s Barron Entertainment, in conjunction with Australia’s Seven Network and the BBC. Eddy McDowd features the adventures of a young Canadian boy transplanted to Australia. CEI will also be distributing two seasons (39 half hours) of Fireworks’ Real Kids, Real Adventures (currently licensed by Discovery USA and Global) and Pet Connection, a 65 x half-hour live-action series.
Nebauer says for now, the distribution arm is concentrating on live-action children’s and family fare, but adds that the division will look into animated series if the right projects come along.
Fireworks president Adam Haight says international market demand and production opportunities for the family/tween genre is high, marking an area in which the company has developed a specialty. Fireworks is owned by Canada-based CanWest Entertainment, part of CanWest Global Communications Corp. In Canada, the CRTC’s new TV policy (which prescribes Canadian content requirements) has extended prime time to include the early 7 p.m. slot, which producers and broadcasters hope will add new opportunities for family fare. AD