Just Group is upping its TV volume with several new series and recently acquired a veteran kids show producer to facilitate the expansion.
The U.K.-based publishing, toy manufacturing, licensing and merchandising company that produced Jellabies acquired London-based Abbey Home Entertainment Group in October for about US$2.1 million. Abbey produced Bump, Teddy Trucks and Enid Blyton’s Adventures of the Faraway Tree.
‘The aim is to develop more preschool shows with Abbey for sale around the world,’ says Just Group CEO Wilf Shorrocks. ‘We knew we needed expertise in TV and multimedia.’ Abbey will be a subsidiary company of Just Group, along with Just Entertainment.
JE will co-produce the 26 x half-hour Wiki’s World, now in development and set for a fall 2000 delivery, as well as One Big Happy Family, which
is slated for a 2001 delivery, with U.K.-based Optical Image Broadcast, co-producer of Jellabies.
JE has also come on-board as a co-producer for Butt Ugly Martians, along with Agora, California-based Mike Young Productions and Hong Kong’s DCDC animation studio. Geared to ages six to 12, the 26 x half-hour CGI series is set for a September 2000 delivery with a budget of US$275,000 per ep. The toon will go into production this month. JE handles worldwide distribution, with the exception of China, Taiwan and Hong Kong, which is handled by DCDC.
In October Just Group also acquired the rights for classic Brit property Pinky and Perky for about US$800,000. The characters were created by Jan and Vlasta Dalibor in 1956, with iterations as a series on BBC, ITV and Thames, 14 LPs, and as stage shows. Just Group plans to revamp the Pinky and Perky TV series for a 2001 delivery.