The Secret Show
For core kids, BBC Worldwide has The Secret Show, a 52 x 13 minutes 2-D series produced by Collingwood O’Hare for CBBC. Aimed at kids six- to 10-year-olds, the merch program for this spunky spy series will be led by gifts and gadgets. ‘The tone of the show is a tongue-in-cheek look at the spy world with a retro style of animation that hearkens back to some of the great cartoons of the ’60s, with crossover humor that will appeal to adults and children,’ Richard Hollis, BBCW head of U.K. licensing, says.
Formats king Endemol, which is entering the kids programming arena for the first time, is aiming for both a nostalgic and modern kids audience with its new series and brand hopeful Emu. ‘We’re keen to do more in the kids field, but not necessarily animation,’ says Endemol head of consumer products Tim Collins. ‘We want to explore drama, music and talent shows and the traditional Saturday morning magazine format.’
New 26 x 15-minute live-action series Emu mixes in animated sequences and may be a bit of a departure from that strategy. However, it comes with a built-in audience of nostalgic parents in the U.K. and Australia, who may recall the show’s star – a puppet on the hand of actor Rod Shull. Emu and Rod traveled the chat show circuit, where the acerbic bird would ‘attack’ celebrities and hosts. Now the actor’s son, Toby, is looking to bring his father’s character back for a new generation in an odd-couple comedy for kids six to eight. The show follows the exploits of Toby and his puppet Emu, who live in a building where no pets are allowed. Befriended by the kids next door and reviled by an evil neighbor who is forever cooking up get-rich-quick schemes involving Emu, the pair seek to right wrongs in their community with often-hilarious results.
Endemol will debut the series at MIPTV 2007, and Collins is seeking partners in toys, publishing, games and apparel at Brand Licensing Show 2006.
From not-so-humble beginnings as a massive multi-player role-play game by Xai Media that has logged more than 2.3 million players since its 2004 launch, comes the animated series from Sunwoo. International distributor and licensing agent Taffy Entertainment is looking to create a 360-degree multi-platform experience for Mix Master.
Louise O’Toole, who recently joined Taffy from Entertainment Rights to head up the company’s new U.K. office, says the company’s on-line, on-air and off-line components will all be interconnected. Upper Deck has signed on to create a Mix Master trading card game for kids six to 12, which will tie-in to the on-line and mobile gaming elements currently in development.
With other categories up for grabs at Brand Licensing Show 2006, O’Toole believes that Mix Master will draw in multiple demos with its mix-and-match media approach.