Sheldon Wiseman, president and CEO of Ottawa toonco Amberwood Entertainment, and actor Leslie Nielsen have created a joint venture that will produce 390 half hours of animated programming for TV, three animated features and one live-action film (starring Nielsen) over the next five years. It will also be involved in the distribution and acquisition of programming.
The new venture, fuelled by an investment of about US$100 million from Nielsen, has been set up, in part, to eventually buy Wiseman’s former Lacewood library from PricewaterhouseCoopers.
The library, consisting of roughly 150 hours of animated programming including 39 episodes of Katie and Orbie (PBS, The Family Channel), was taken over by now-defunct Paragon Entertainment when Wiseman failed to repay a US$1.7 million debt in 1997. When Paragon folded the following year, the Lacewood assets were transferred to trustee PricewaterhouseCoopers.
An announcement regarding the acquisition of Lacewood is expected shortly. Meantime, Wiseman says, ‘[the new joint venture] will permit Amberwood to expand its children’s and family programming very quickly.’ Details on the new slate were not available at press time.