Canadian kids TV execs on the move
Paula Parker, VP of programming at Canadian kids cable net YTV, has left the company. According to Laura Heath, a spokesperson with YTV’s parent company Corus Entertainment, Parker plans to spend time with her family before pursuing future opportunities.
As VP of programming, Parker acquired and commissioned children’s shows for Corus weblets Treehouse TV and a Discovery Kids diginet, as well as YTV. A 13-year veteran at the network, Parker took over the VP of programming post in January 2000 from Peter Moss, who left YTV to join Canuck prodco Cinar Entertainment as president, a position he vacated last month to work on independent TV and film productions. Moss’s decision to exit the troubled Canadian kids entertainment studio fueled industry speculation that he would return to YTV to replace Parker. However, when reached for comment, Moss, who is currently working on a movie for Toronto-based Shaftsbury Films, unequivocally denied the rumors.
At press time, YTV had yet to announce a replacement for Parker, or even a time frame for naming one. In the interim, YTV director of programming Joanna Webb will oversee kids TV programming and acquisitions at Corus.
4Kids lands Fox’s Saturday morning block
4Kids Entertainment has scored Fox’s much-coveted Saturday kids morning block in a four-year deal worth US$101.2 million that includes options for an additional two years. Under the deal, Fox has sold 4Kids the right to program the net’s 8 a.m. to noon block. In return, 4Kids will retain all advertising revenues generated during the time period.
Though 4Kids has yet to reveal its full lineup plan, Japanese imports Kinnikuman Ultimate Muscle and Ultramantiga will be included in the block when it launches this fall, according to company CEO Al Kahn. In addition, DIC Entertainment will be tapped to help 4Kids meet its FCC educon requirements.
With three shows (Pokémon, Cubix and Yu-Gi-Oh!) airing in the Saturday morning lineup on Kids’ WB!, 4Kids’ addition of the Fox block will enhance an already solid presence in that time period.
The 4Kids-Fox pact comes on the heels of a similar agreement signed in December between NBC and Discovery Communications in which the Peacock network leased out its Saturday morning kids block to the doc cabler for a reported US$18 million over three years.
Scholastic swallows Tom Snyder Productions
U.S. pubco Scholastic has purchased Watertown, Massachusetts-based software studio Tom Snyder Productions from Canadian publishing company Tortstar Communications for US$9 million. A producer of K-12 educational software, Snyder posted sales of US$15 million last year.
As part of the acquisition, Scholastic also gains ownership of Tom Snyder’s animation production arm Soup2nuts (Dr. Katz: Professional Therapist, Science Court), which currently produces Flash programming for Cartoon Network (Home Movies) and the Oxygen network (Hey Monie). For Scholastic, which previously outsourced production work on its shows, the Soup2Nuts pick-up gives it the in-house facilities it needs to develop its own programming.
‘It will be a great resource for us to test out ideas and pilot new shows,’ says Deborah Forte, executive VP of Scholastic Entertainment. Soup2Nuts will remain in Watertown, and will continue to work on developing programming for its own clients as well as future Scholastic projects.