A little insider info certainly doesn’t hurt when you’re trying to lock down international TV sales for kids programming in this tight broadcast market. Keep this guide handy to find out what’s on the radar of kids buyers right now
ABC Kids Australia
Deirdre Brennan, kids programmer
Looking for: Brennan is accepting animation and live-action comedy or drama pitches for her weekday Roller Coaster block aimed at seven- to 13-year-olds. Anything from two-minute interstitials to half-hour eps will be considered and she’s particularly interested in picking up non-violent toons geared towards the five to eight year old set. Preschool acquisitions aren’t a priority right now, but Brennan might be willing to look at animated short-form series for this demo. Check out the editorial policies for the pubnet on its website at www.abc.net.au/abckids before crafting a pitch, and content should be emphasized over the program’s merchandising potential.
Preferred approach: E-mail email@example.com with concise details relating to the program concept, target audience and its availability.
Market circuit: KidScreen Summit, MIPCOM Jr., MIPCOM
Cartoon Network (Europe, Middle East and Africa)
Daniel Lennard, senior director of original animation
Looking for: The co-production door at Cartoon Network Europe is open to comedic creators with fresh ideas. The net isn’t picky about animation style or show format, but Lennard does want gender-neutral creator-driven comedy or comedy-action projects for a six to 11 year old audience. If ancillary product plans are the backbone of the IP’s business model, Lennard will likely lose interest in the TV project.
Preferred approach: Either try to catch a quick word with Lennard at one of the markets or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to inform him of relevant biographical details and career history. Initial approaches should feature a short paragraph outlining the concept and, at the very least, a rough design. If it might be a fit for CN, he’ll give you a ring to arrange face time.
Market circuit: KidScreen Summit, Annecy, Cartoon Forum, MIPCOM Jr., MIPCOM
Cartoon Network (U.S.)
Terry Kalagian, VP of
acquisitions and co-productions
Looking for: Cartoon continues to look for gender-neutral comedy with lots of mischief and visual gags, as well as gender-neutral action-adventure with an ample amount of humor aimed at kids six to 11. A minimum of 26 half hours is required to launch a series in a strip.
Preferred approach: Send snail mail to 1050 Techwood Drive NW, Atlanta, Georgia, 30318. The package should include demo tapes, a synopsis, character bios, and follow it up with a call to 404-885-0610 for an appointment. Kalagian doesn’t ever want unsolicited e-mails or cold-calls.
Market circuit: KidScreen Summit, Toy Fair, Tokyo Anime Fair, MIPTV, Licensing Show, MIPCOM Jr., MIPCOM, NATPE
Michael Carrington, head of animation and program acquisitions
Looking for: Between CBBC’s in-house slate and the U.K. independent-programming quota currently in effect, there’s little room for the net to make international programming acquisitions. Over the next year, Carrington will be courting U.K.-based animation producers with unique preschool projects and comedic series for older kids. He says one or two slots may soon open up for live-action drama, but it needs to be something the Beeb couldn’t make itself; such as previous hits Even Stevens and Lizzie McGuire. CBBC no longer pre-buys programming, but on the commissions front, CBBC will take a look at possible acquisitions in mid-January and at the end of July. A good way to gauge Carrington’s interest in a project is to send a quick e-mail (email@example.com).
Preferred approach: For acquisitions, send two or three eps on DVD or VHS to Carrington (BBC TV Centre, Wood Lane, London, England, W12 7RJ). The commissions procedure is outlined at www.bbc.co.uk/commissioning. Carrington looks after animation, Jon East oversees drama, while Anne Gilchrist supervises all other genres.
Market circuit: KidScreen Summit, MIPTV, Cartoon Forum, MIPCOM Jr., MIPCOM
Estelle Hughes, editor
Looking for: A companion piece for tween series Drake and Josh for CiTV’s Saturday morning lineup – preferably a live-actioner for the eight to 12 set. Gender-neutral and boy- or girl-targeted animation for kids up to eight-years-old is also on Hughes’ checklist. Bonus points go to toons with website plans, but if it’s a show based on animated vegetables, she’s not interested.
Preferred approach: E-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org) with a short outline that includes the target demo, production info and budget. If she’s keen to discuss a co-pro or acquisition deal, she’ll be in touch.
Market circuit: MIPTV, Cartoon Forum, MIPCOM, MIPCOM Jr.
director of domestic television
Looking for: High-profile gender-neutral series with at least 26 eps will get Rodgers’ attention. She’s open to live-action or any style of animation, but the project must have both strong social lessons and curriculum components that meet FCC requirements. DIC’s newest remit is a kid-block on U.S. terrestrial net CBS (check out our story on page 19).
Preferred approach: Before you mail the bible, send a brief series outline with an explanation of why it would be a good fit for DIC to 4100 W. Alameda Avenue, Burbank, California, 90266 or e-mail (email@example.com).
Market circuit: NATPE
Discovery Kids (U.S.)
Dea Connick Perez, VP of programming and operations
Looking for: It’s all about real-world preschool and older kids programming at Discovery Kids. Finding shows that cover topics such as healthy lifestyles for both age groups, and literacy skills or science-friendly fare for the school-age set are top priorities for Perez. For Discovery Kids en Espanol, she’s keeping her ear to the ground for appropriate Spanish-language projects.
Preferred approach: Any producers new to Discovery must first register their development pitches on-line at http://producers.discovery.com. Descriptive outlines and sketches tend to catch Perez’s eye, and she’ll be in touch if there’s a possibility of moving forward.
Market circuit: KidScreen Summit, MIPTV, MIPCOM, NATPE
Family Channel (Canada)
manager of original production
Looking for: Walmark’s prime focus is on live-action half-hours for the tween set. She also needs boy-targeted comedies that are gate-keeper friendly. Family will commit to 13 or 26 eps, and it’s best to contact Walmark early in the development stage to tap into any Canadian co-production funding. Bonus points go to properties that translate into alternative media streams, such as the web.
Preferred approach: Mail a detailed description of the concept, including character and environment profiles, to BCE Place, 181 Bay Street, Box 787, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M5J 2T3. Be clear as to whether the pitch is for development or production, and please don’t e-mail Walmark.
Market circuit: KidScreen Summit, Banff, MIPCOM
Nick Wilson, controller of children’s programming
Looking for: U.K.-based preschool producers rejoice! Wilson is accepting pitches for 2-D and 3-D series with a strong focus on storytelling for his youngest viewers. A live-action format will also be considered, as long it’s a high-quality puppet- or presenter-led program produced in the U.K. For the school-age group, Wilson will take a look at story-driven dramas with a traditional feel. If you feel the need to write a 20-page biography before getting to the point of your pitch, don’t bother sending it to him.
Preferred approach: E-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org) or mail (22 Long Acre, London, WC2E 9LY)
Market circuit: MIPCOM
senior VP of programming
Looking for: Lekes is seeking edgy, character-centric, 11-minute formats with a cheeky sense of humor, and skewed to a boys six to 12 demo. Given Jetix’s pan-European remit, animation or live-action are fine, just as long as the content has an international appeal. He’s happy to develop content originating from sources such as the web or comic books – and although projects with ancillary potential are preferred, the consumer products plan shouldn’t drive the concept.
Preferred approach: Any approach is fine, but a good start is e-mail (email@example.com). He’ll look at most ideas, even those scribbled on a napkin. Ideally, Lekes would like to see more developed content, initial designs and a description of the key creative talent.
Market circuit: Tokyo Anime Fair, MIPTV, Annecy, Cartoon Forum, MIPCOM Jr., MIPCOM
Kids WB! (U.S.)
Betsy McGowen, senior VP and GM
Looking for: Animated or live-action half hour programs that are either character-driven comedy or action-adventure with a humor angle. She’s not looking for boy-targeted right now, but instead needs gender-neutral fare for kids six to 11. McGowen suggests producers check out the Kids WB! website (www.kidswb.com) to get a feel for the block before pitching.
Preferred approach: McGowen prefers an initial call (phone call 818-977-5000) before receiving any pitch materials. She’ll then discuss whether it’s best to pitch in person or to send bibles.
Market circuit: KidScreen Summit, Tokyo Anime Fair, MIPTV, Ottawa Animation Festival, MIPCOM
Sebastian Debertin, head of fiction,
acquisitions and co-productions
Looking for: Projects with strong merch potential and at least 26 half hours in the can are preferred. Debertin looks for innovative, gender-neutral toons with characters and stories that don’t portray ‘good versus evil’ clichés.
Preferred approach: Phone calls that briefly introduce the project are welcome (49-361-218-1869). Bibles, scripts and DVDs can be mailed to Gothaer Str. 36, 99094 Erfurt, Germany. Both snail mail and e-mail should be directed to Debertin’s assistant Constanze Spilling (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Market circuit: MIPTV, Cartoon Movie, Cartoon Forum, MIPCOM Jr.
Thomas Schreiber, controller of factual and children
Looking for: Preschool-targeted interstitials falling anywhere from two-and-a-half to three minutes and produced in either animation or live-action. Schreiber is also keen to receive pitches on live actioners for the 10 to 12 year old set as long as the eps are at least half-hours and linked to the everyday life and experiences of German kids.
Preferred approach: NDR doesn’t accept unsolicited e-mails or cold-calls. Send a one-to-three page summary and a screener by mail (Hugh-Greene-Weg 1, 22529, Hamburg, Germany).
Market circuit: KidScreen Summit, MIPTV, MIPCOM Jr., MIPCOM
Jane Gould, programming and research director
Looking for: Gould is on the hunt for either animated or live-action music-based programming for preschool-targeted Nick Jr. As for the main channel, she’s looking at gender-neutral projects with a comic twist and kid protagonists for eight- to- 12-year-olds or specifically targeted to boys five to nine. Half-hour (or 2 x 11-minutes) series with a minimum of 26 eps are favored.
Preferred approach: Mail (GPO Box 4371, Sydney NSW, 2001, Australia) a show bible and story outlines, as well as scripts and screeners, if available.
Market circuit: KidScreen Summit, MIPTV, MIPCOM
head of acquisitions
Looking for: Co-production ideas across all genres are welcome, thanks to Nick UK’s initiative to test pilots before greenlighting a full series. On the acquisitions front, she’s accepting pitches for live-action comedy for the seven to 12 year old set and is also looking for toons that appeal to four-to nine-year-olds. She’s also keen to add participatory and interactive programs to Nick Jr’s preschool slate.
Preferred approach: Initial ideas and designs can be submitted via mail (Rathbone Place 15-18, London, England W1T 1HU) or e-mail (email@example.com). Pitches that begin by highlighting the show’s merch potential are a turn off.
Market circuit: KidScreen Summit, MIPTV, L.A. Screenings, Cartoon Forum, MIPCOM
PBS Kids (U.S.)
Linda Simensky, senior director of programming
Looking for: Programming originating from any medium that’s geared to preschool (two to five) or school-age kids (up-to-nine-years) will be considered. Simensky is open to hearing all pitches, as long as the show has a strong educational curriculum.
Preferred approach: Educational curriculum outlines are a must, and insure the pitch includes a synopsis, character descriptions and designs. Include four or five episode ideas and thoughts on how the series would also work on the PBS Kids website. Simensky will accept e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org) or mail (1320 Braddock Place, Alexandria, Virginia, 22314) submissions.
Market circuit: KidScreen Summit, Ottawa Animation Festival
Andrea Lang, head of animation and children’s programming
Looking for: CGI series with at least 52 eps and strong storylines will help producers get a foot in the door. Landing boys action and fantasy series is a focus for Lang in the coming months.
Preferred approach: Check out RTL2′s website (www.pokito.de) to get a feel for the network before sending in a pitch. Submit DVD screeners to Lil-Dagover-Ring 1, 82031 Grunwald, Germany and if she’s interested, Lang will arrange a meeting.
Market circuit: MIPTV, MIPCOM, NATPE
Super RTL (Germany)
Frank Dietz, head of acquisitions and co-productions
Looking for: Comedies with obvious merchandising and on-line potential top Dietz’s shopping list – just make sure the series has at least 26 half hours and the pitch doesn’t over-hype its cross-media appeal. Even though Super RTL’s audience skews boys ages six to nine, Dietz isn’t currently in the market for action toons. However, he is scouting for high-quality animated family movies. ‘Me-too’ series (i.e. ‘this is the next SpongeBob!’) don’t interest him, and he gets turned off by the hard sell.
Preferred approach: Send bibles, storylines and DVD trailers to RTL Disney Fernsehen, Richard-Byrd-Strasse 6, 50829 Koln, Germany.
Market circuit: KidScreen Summit, MIPTV, Annecy, Cartoon Forum, MIPCOM
TV2 Junior (Norway)
Beathe A. Daae, head of programming and acquisitions
Looking for: Daae continues to keep her door open for short- and long-form programs and specials. Series can run from five to 25 minutes, and one-offs should be at least a half-hour and no longer than 90 minutes in length. She’s not interested in live-action, but wants to see animated or puppet-led shows for kids ages two through 12, especially if it’s a high-quality humorous concept with strong character development.
Preferred approach: Dub the demo tape into English and snail mail the pitch package (Postboks 7222, 5020 Bergen, Norway).
Market circuit: MIPTV, Cartoon Forum, French screenings, MIPCOM
Carole Bonneau, VP of programming
Madeleine Levesque, director of original productions
Looking for: Save your live-action ideas for another network, because Teletoon is all about animation. Projects should target the upper end of the six to 11 demo, and pitches need not resemble series currently airing on the cablenet. In fact, Bonneau and Levesque are eager to see innovative concepts.
Preferred approach: Original co-production pitches should be mailed to 2100 St. Catherine Street West, Suite 1000, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, H3H 2T3, while potential acquisitions can be snailed to BCE Place, 181 Bay Street, P.O. Box 787, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M4G 2T4.
Market circuit: NATPE, KidScreen Summit, MIPTV, Banff, Annecy, MIPCOM, MIPCOM Jr.
Frances James, children’s and youth programming
Pat Ellingson, creative head of children’s and daytime
Looking for: Picking up edutainment shows for the six to nine year old set is a priority for James. Animated, factual or dramatic shows will be considered as long as there are at least 26 eps and there’s a possibility to produce more. Preschool programming and one-offs are off TVO’s radar at the moment, but James would consider all-ages shorter-run series for placement in the net’s prime time Sunday family block.
Preferred approach: Send any pitch, complete with bible or series outline and DVD to 2180 Yonge Street, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M4T 2T1.
Market circuit: KidScreen Summit, MIPTV, MIPCOM
Brigid Sullivan, VP of children’s, educational and interactive
Looking for: Programs tackling an educational or social need are top-of-mind for Sullivan. The pubnet isn’t looking to fill any particular age demographic gaps, so pitches with strong content and solid production values are welcome. Educational programs get a leg up if pitched at the earliest stage of development.
Preferred approach: Pitch packages can be addressed to 125 Western Avenue, Boston, Massachusetts, 02134.
Market circuit: KidScreen Summit, MIPTV, Banff, MIPCOM
VPRO TV (Netherlands)
Els Kuiper, children’s program buyer
Looking for: Programming geared to preschoolers and kids up to age 12 that hasn’t originated from consumer products. Animation, live-action, one-offs, movies and doc series are all on Kuiper’s must-have list. Programs need not be educational or moralistic, but an original story and style are key.
Preferred approach: Send an e-mail (email@example.com) with a short description of the program (no attachments) or pop a package (including images) in the mail P.O. Box 11, Hilversum, 1200JC, Netherlands. Kuiper operates on a ‘don’t call us, we’ll call you’ basis.
Market circuit: MIPTV, Annecy, Cartoon Forum, MIPCOM, MIPCOM Jr.
Denis Dubois, VP of programming
Looking for: The Quebecois network is focusing on live-action or animated series targeting the nine to 14 year old demo. Half hour or full hour programs need to have at least 26 eps in the can, but Dubois is also eager to take a look at three- to five-minute interstitials. Untraditional, contemporary and creative are the key words at VRAK.TV, so pitches should focus on how the program will awaken a genuine connection with its viewers. All shows need to be reversioned in French.
Preferred approach: Mail pitch packages to 2100 St. Catherine Street West, Suite 700, Montreal, Quebec, H3H 2T3, Canada. Include a series bible, pilot script and an NTSC screener.
Market circuit: KidScreen Summit, MIPTV, LA Screenings, MIPCOM, NATPE
Virve ‘Vicky’ Schroderus, acquisition executive
Looking for: Animated series and specials geared to preschoolers and children up to age 10. Pitched programs could be five, ten, 13, or 26-minutes in length, while specials can fall anywhere between five minutes to a full half hour. Schroderus will need a maximum of three program synopses and design samples of the main characters and backgrounds.
Preferred approach: E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or snail mail to Tohlopinranta 31
P.O. Box 196, 33101 Tampere, Finland. If you choose e-mail, don’t link to a website that takes ages to open or resend large files that fill up her account.
Market circuit: KidScreen Summit, MIPTV, Annecy, Cartoon Forum, MIPCOM
Phil Piazza, VP programming
Bonita Siegel, director, original productions, children’s TV
Looking for: Predominantly core kid-centric and strippable programs with a keen sense of humor. YTV’s slate for action shows is almost full, but Siegel will consider unique story ideas. The cablenet is tailored to a six to 11 audience, but the sked ages up as the evening progresses, hitting tweens and families in prime time and on weekends. Commissions must qualify as 100% Canadian content and require a Canadian producer.
Preferred approach: For acquisitions, send screeners and short descriptions to Jackie Pardy, director of program acquisitions (email@example.com). For commissions, e-mail a pitch package and scripts to the original productions coordinator David Watson (firstname.lastname@example.org) and follow up with Bonita Siegel (fax: 416-534-1959, email@example.com).
Market circuit: NATPE, KidScreen Summit, MIPTV, MIPCOM, Banff
Nicole Keeb, commissioning editor, childrens
Looking for: Charming and non-violent shows are the name of the game at ZDF. Acquiring animated, gender-neutral series or specials for six- to 12-year-olds, with at least 13 half hours available, tops Keeb’s to-do list. Keeb is interested in screening programs that incorporate new technologies, such as formats designed to work on mobile phones and traditional broadcast simultaneously. Get to know what ZDF’s kids programming is about through its website before pitching (www.zdf.com).
Preferred approach: Send bibles, synopses, scripts and designs via e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org) or mail (Lise Meitner Str 9, Mainz, 55129, Germany), and know about ZDF or ZDF Tivi’s needs.
Market circuit: KidScreen Summit, MIPTV, Annecy, Banff, MIPCOM Editor’s note: The electronic version of this article has been edited from the original print version in order to correct or clarify some info that it contained