Nouky & Friends leaps from toy shelf to TV screen
May 1, 2006

Nouky & Friends leaps from toy shelf to TV screen

In the almost 11 years since the property’s toy launch in Europe and Asia, Antwerp, Belgium’s AMTOYS has finally found TV gold in its Nouky preschool brand. After selling more than 1.8-million plush in three years and launching dedicated concept stores called Noukies in France, Belgium, Italy, Lebannon and Abu Dhabi, the toyco is now taking its characters to the small screen for a new preschool series. Nouky & Friends, produced with Luxembourg’s Studio 352, takes tender stories and gives them an educational twist. In one five-minute episode, Nouky and his friends are playing when they see a strange person on the wall. They slowly approach this mysterious creature and it’s only when Nouky touches the wall that he realizes the suspect specter is the shadow belonging to his friend Lola.

The CGI series, budgeted at approximately US$1.3 million, has already captured the prebuy attention of Norway’s TV2, YLE in Finland, Hop! in Israel, Belgium’s Ketnet and Hungama in India. Its 52, five-minute eps are in production right now for an April 2007 delivery.

Santa Apprentice, minus The Donald

It might be surprising to learn that after serving 178 Christmases, Santa Claus will be forced into retirement. But 15 years before he packs up his sleigh for good, his elves must find an orphan to start apprenticing under the jolly one. Fortunately, Australian Nicolas Barnsworth is up for the challenge of shimmying down chimneys. And so starts Alphanim’s first holiday series, Santa Apprentice. The 52 x 13-minute series isn’t a warm and fuzzy tale about Christmas. Nicolas also has to deal with real-life problems; well, as real life as he can get while uncovering the plot of a jealous reindeer who’s looking to dethrone the beloved sleigh-driver Rudolph, or trying to distract the head elf so he doesn’t fall victim to another panic attack.

This comedy is geared for the four to eight year old set, and the Parisian production house is promoting the series as a year-round programming option. Budgeted at approximately US$5.5 million, France 5, Tiji and Super RTL in Germany have come onboard as co-producers. Alphanim is courting U.K. broadcasters for a presale deal, and will have the first set of episodes of this 2-D, crayon-rendered series delivered by October this year.

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