Global Pitch Guide ’07

Wondering what pitches are making programmers smile right now? Looking for tips to entice 'em? Read on. Our handy annual reference guide provides the lowdown on what's at the top of international kidcasters' shopping lists for the next 18 months.
February 1, 2007

Wondering what pitches are making programmers smile right now? Looking for tips to entice ‘em? Read on. Our handy annual reference guide provides the lowdown on what’s at the top of international kidcasters’ shopping lists for the next 18 months.

Cartoon Network UK

Cecilia Persson

VP of programming,

acquisitions and presentation

Looking for: Preschool programming for the Cartoonito block on Cartoon Network Too (CN’s second channel) will be a top priority at upcoming markets. For the main channel, Persson is, as always, on the lookout for visually striking and cleverly scripted comedies for six- to 11-year-olds.

Preferred approach: It’s best to make initial contact via e-mail to either Persson

( or acquisitions executive Richard Rowe


Market circuit: KidScreen Summit, MIPTV, LA Screenings, Natpe

Cartoon Network (U.S.)

Daniel Wineman

Manager of acquisitions

and co-productions

Looking for: Comedies, action-adventures, calendar specials, feature-length animation and live-action programs with a cartoon sensibility. Series meant to tickle the funny bone should have gender-neutral characters and include visual gags, good pacing, high-quality animation and jokes with an edge. Wineman’s action-adventure needs are for girls and boys ages six to 11, or a nine- to 14-year-old boys audience. It takes a minimum of 26 episodes to launch a strip, and CN will need all rights for acquisitions to ensure the broadest platform reach. Bonus points will go to pitches that include options for transitioning the series to new digital screens. Hint: CN is using newer services as promotional and strategic platforms to move viewers to its linear and non-linear networks.

Preferred approach: Never cold call or e-mail. Send a pitch via mail with demo disks, synopsis, character bios and sample storylines.

Market circuit: KidScreen Summit, Toy Fair, Tokyo Anime Fair, MIPTV, MIPCOM,



Anne Gilchrist

Creative director

Looking for: Ambitious and daring programs that reflect the ethos of the BBC. Gilchrist says she often receives pitches for great shows that would work well on any network, but competition in the U.K. kids TV market has forced her to only consider programs that are off-the-wall, surprising and daring. Educational topics are important, but a program should be entertaining first. She says the reality series Evacuation, about kids traveling back in time to Britain during World War II, is a good example as it inadvertently teaches viewers about history. Factual formats are a top draw, and animation isn’t ordered that often because of its expense, but she’ll take a look at ambitious toons.

Preferred approach: Send an introductory e-mail to Gilchrist’s assistant, Becki Shorrock (, with a short project description and reasons why CBBC’s audience will want to watch the series. If interest has been piqued, expect a follow-up call or e-mail asking for production details.

Market circuit: MIPTV, MIPCOM

CBeebies (U.K.)

Michael Carrington

Creative director

Looking for: Four very specific programs for preschoolers ages zero to six. First off, Carrington needs a 26 x 9.5-minute animated series for boys ages four to six. It should straddle the line between reality and fantasy, embracing adventure, energy and fun. Also on his list is a 26 x 9.5-minute gender-neutral toon for four- to six-year-olds with a strong enough visual style that a still image from the program could illustrate it. As for live action, there’s an opening for a comedy series that will bridge the gap for boys four to six and girls caught between CBeebies and CBBC. And preschool producers should rejoice because the broadcaster is keen to find an iconic series for the two to five set that represents a giant creative leap forward for the genre. Although the net’s first priority is to commission from U.K. producers, Carrington will take pitches from international companies if the program is truly original.

Preferred approach: Mail an overall program synopsis, main character description, one or two sample story outlines and episode structures to Carrington at BBC East Tower, Room E1015, London, England, W12 7RJ. Alternatively, e-mails are accepted at

Market circuit: KidScreen Summit, MIPTV, Cartoon Forum, MIPCOM

Discovery Kids (U.S.)

Dea Perez

VP of programming and operations

Looking for: Real-world programming for the core kid demo that gives a glimpse into the lives of children from around the globe. Reality-based or narrative-driven storylines should include children interacting with animals and nature, or feature kids experiencing exciting global adventures. Perez prefers series to specials, and she’ll consider animation so long as it has real-world content woven into its stories. Pitches geared to preschool kids should follow Discovery Kids’ Ready, Set, Learn credo of persistence, resilience and optimism. Live action, puppets or animation will work, but must take on a ‘try and try again’ attitude to problem-solving.

Preferred approach: Potential co-productions and straight-up acquisitions need to be submitted through the website.

Market circuit: KidScreen Summit,


Family Channel (Canada)

Sandra Walmark

Manager of original production

Looking for: Programs geared to kids ages eight to 14. Walmark is excited to review any series for this age group that takes a multi-platform approach, so it’s best to consider how tweens will access the content in new media such as the internet and handheld screens before pitching. Family wants to be involved early in a show’s development, but Walmark says she’ll also accept pitches on more fully developed properties.

Preferred approach: The best plan is to e-mail Walmark first ( to ensure the pitch fits the broadcaster’s needs. Bibles and other materials can either be presented in person or mailed to 181 Bay Street, Box 787, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M5J 2T3.

Market circuit: KidScreen Summit, Banff, MIPCOM


Nick Wilson

Controller of children’s programming

Looking for: Programs with secondary revenue potentials are very interesting to Wilson, but good storytelling shouldn’t be jeopardized for the sake of a toy line. When pitching, keep in mind Five’s Milshake preschool block reaches kids up to seven years old. Since the launch of the second block on Digital Channel Five, he’s picking up all U.K. broadcasting rights for crossover potential. Wilson prefers co-production and commissioning, but he’ll take a gander at completed programs that are open to some regional reversioning. As for what not to pitch, keep drama proposals for four- to eight-year-olds on the shelf until late 2008. He still commissions factual, but almost exclusively from U.K. production companies.

Preferred approach: Send Wilson an e-mail ( with your ideas to gauge his interest.

Market circuit: MIPCOM

Jetix Europe

Paul Taylor, CEO

Looking for: Fantasy-driven adventure with a healthy dose of character-centric, cheeky humor. While half-hour formats are fine, the broadcaster welcomes seven- and 11-minute series and shorts up to three minutes in length. Jetix is looking for toons and live-actioners, and the team wants to help develop content with new storytelling methods, animation styles and talent. Please pitch with multi-platform initiatives in mind, but be sure the project is driven by its story and not interactive or consumer products plans.

Preferred approach: Nathan Waddington (, director of pan-European acquisitions, will take a look at ideas via e-mail. Include initial designs, a synopsis and a bio of the key creative talent.

Market circuit: MIPTV, Annecy, Cartoon Forum, MIPCOM

Kids’ WB!

Betsy McGowen

SVP and GM

Looking for: Boy-targeted action-adventure, especially programs infused with character-driven comic elements. But McGowen is also on the lookout for pure comedies that will appeal to boys ages six to 11. Animated or live-action programs that are E/I-compliant should be targeted to boys five to seven or six to 11.

Preferred approach: Creators should always begin by calling McGowen directly at 818-977-5000, and then she’ll let you know if she’s interested in seeing anything further.

Market circuit: KidScreen Summit, Tokyo Anime Fair, Licensing Show, MIPCOM, Comic Con, Natpe

Ki.Ka (Germany)

Sebastian Debertin

Head of fiction, acquisitions and co-productions

Looking for: Animated features are high on the agenda for 2007, as well as animated series for the six to nine demo. Keep the storylines gender-neutral, and focus on creating positive and strong characters. Debertin is on the lookout for innovative content that will excite his viewers. Be sure to outline a program’s merchandising potential in the pitch.

Preferred approach: To make initial contact, send an e-mail to Debertin’s assistant (, or place a phone call to 49-361-218-1869 to discuss the project. It’s also a good idea to send a fax to 49-361-218-1850 with some supporting materials. Alternatively, send a package with bible, pilot scripts and DVDs to Gothaer Str. 36, 99094 Erfurt, Germany. If Debertin is interested, he’ll request more material.

Market circuit: KidScreen Summit, MIPTV, Cartoon Movie, Cartoon Forum,


NDR (Germany)

Thomas Schreiber

Controller of factual

and children’s programming

Looking for: Live-action tween programming that relates to everyday life in Germany, with episodes that are at least a half hour long. Short programming for preschoolers is also a top priority, and animated or live-action interstitials running between two and a half minutes and three minutes are ideal.

Preferred approach: Don’t make unsolicited calls or introduce yourself via e-mail.

Schreiber prefers a DVD screener and a one- to three-page summary sent via snail mail to Hugh-Greene-Weg 1, 22529 Hamburg, Germany.

Market circuit: KidScreen Summit, MIPTV, Annecy, Cartoon Forum, MIPCOM

Nickelodeon Australia

Katrina Southon

General manager

Looking for: Programming for the 2008 season that promotes interactivity and exploration for the Nick Jr. preschool audience. Series can be comprised of half hours or interstitials, with content that translates to the broadcaster’s website. Developing projects with online and interactive applications are also of interest. Make sure pitches include some scheduling strategies based on a child’s ability to play and learn through repetition. For kids eight to 12, Southon is on the hunt for live-action dramas and comedies with at least 26 half hours.

Preferred approach: Mail a show bible and outlines, scripts and screeners, if available, to GPO Box 4371, Sydney, NSW 2001, Australia

Market circuit: KidScreen Summit, MIPTV, MIPCOM

Nickelodeon UK

Layla Lewis

Senior programming manager

Looking for: Co-production ideas across all genres, but Nick UK will want to test them with a pilot before committing to a full series. For acquisitions, the top priority is live-action comedies for seven- to 12-year-olds and animation for kids four to nine. Preschool pitches should keep Nickelodeon’s participatory and interactive themes for this young demo in mind. To get in Lewis’s good books, don’t begin a pitch by discussing program’s merch potential.

Preferred approach: Mail (15-18 Rathbone Place, London, England, W1T 1HU)

Market circuit: KidScreen Summit, MIPTV, LA Screenings, Cartoon Forum,


Once TV (Mexico)

Mariana Cano Fuentes

Head of children’s

programming and acquisitions

Looking for: Live-action preschool programming and girl-skewing series. Fuentes is eager to look at non-fiction series for three- to five-year-olds, especially if the project is about the lives of animals. For older kids, she needs fiction for girls. Pitch tip: Doing a little research on Latin American kids will help your proposal cut through.

Preferred approach: Send a bible via

e-mail (

Market circuit: KidScreen Summit,


PBS (U.S.)

Linda Simensky

Senior director of

children’s programming

Looking for: Programming originating from any medium geared to preschoolers ages two to five or kids six to nine. Simensky has no preference for animation over live action and mixed media, but she insists on a strong educational curriculum. Keep in mind the pubcaster’s library has no room right now for literacy or social/emotional series. Be ready to explain how the series’ website would look, and give ideas as to how the program’s content might translate to other platforms.

Preferred approach: Send an e-mail with an overall series idea, an educational curriculum outline, character descriptions, four to five episode ideas and designs to Brad Pettingell at PBS Children’s Programming ( or via snail mail to 2100 Crystal Drive, Arlington, Virginia, 22202

Market circuit: KidScreen Summit, Ottawa Animation Festival

PBS Sprout (U.S.)

Andrew Beecham

SVP of programming

Looking for: Creative plans that include cross-media initiatives. He’s not looking to fill any scheduling holes right now, but that shouldn’t deter producers from contacting Beecham. He wants to brainstorm and fill his rolodex with creative contacts who have clever ideas for VOD and broadband.

Preferred approach: Contact Beecham’s assistant, Maria Weglarz

(maria_weglarz@sproutletsgrow), or via mail at 2000 Market Street,

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 19103. He’ll be in touch if he’s interested.

Market circuit: KidScreen Summit, MIPCOM, Natpe

RTL 2 (Germany)

Andrea Lang

Head of kids and animation

Looking for: High-quality adventure series and CGI projects. The Pokito block is being fuelled by anime series, and Lang’s keen to look at programs inspired by that genre to serve action-hungry boys and comedy-loving girls ages six to nine. She’s stepping into projects at an earlier stage these days, so producers need not pitch completed series.

Preferred approach: Send an e-mail to

Market circuit: MIPTV, Natpe

Super RTL (Germany)

Frank Dietz

Head of acquisitions

and co-productions

Looking for: High-quality animated family series and comedies with at least 26 x half hours. Pitches should detail how the show will succeed on both new screens and retail shelves. But don’t try to win him over with the hard sell – avoid over-hyping a program’s potential, and don’t call a series ‘the next’ anything.

Preferred approach: Send bibles, storylines and screeners to RTL Disney Fernsehen, Richard-Byrd-Strasse 6, 50829 Koln, Germany.

Market circuit: KidScreen Summit, MIPTV, Annecy, Cartoon Forum, MIPCOM

Teletoon (Canada)

Caroline Tyre

Acquisitions manager

Looking for: Programs that answer three questions: Does it make you laugh? Does it make you think? And does it entertain? The cablenet is on the lookout for bold and spontaneous programming geared to pre-teens, particularly holiday specials and movies. Tyre will always take a look at pitches for series and specials aimed at a younger demo, but don’t bother sending preschool-targeted or educational bibles. Teletoon is keen to expand its multimedia offerings, but it’s not imperative to outline new media initiatives in the initial pitch. For developing projects, send a package that includes a clear description, the development stage it’s in, a pilot (if available), information on the production company and creative team, a preliminary development or production budget, a proposed financial plan and contact info. For completed projects, Tyre will contact you if she’d like to see a screener. It’s best to e-mail her first with a brief description, and don’t send unsolicited packages.

Preferred approach: Mail packages for programs in development to Dominique Dussault, project coordinator of original production (2100 Ste. Catherine Street West, Suite 200, Montréal, Quebec, Canada, H3H 2T3), and for acquisition queries, e-mail Tyre (

Market circuit: KidScreen Summit, MIPTV, MIPCOM, Natpe

TV Ontario (Canada)

Pat Ellingson

Creative head of

children’s, youth

and lifeskills programming

Looking for: Live-action educational programs with arts and crafts, music or science themes. But she’ll also take a look at animated series without a curriculum focus for demos from preschool up to age nine. Pitches for younger viewers should have companion web activities, and for tween viewers, Ellingson wants programs that encourage co-viewing with parents. These pitches should be educational, and she’s looking to top up on science, drama and reality topics. In terms of format, Ellingson will look at anything for this older demographic.

Preferred approach: Get on Ellingson’s good side by sending a hard copy intro rather than an e-mail. First-time TVO pitchers should deliver a bio of their company, past projects and a list of partners. Send in as many details as possible, and if a full bible isn’t yet available, be sure to present enough information to give Ellingson a clear idea of the project and how it will be executed. She promises to read the pitches ASAP and will respond either by phone or letter.

Market circuit: KidScreen Summit, MIPCOM

TV2 Junior (Norway)

Beathe A. Daae

Head of children’s programs

Looking for: Holiday specials with Easter or Christmas themes. All other pitches should have a high number of episodes already in the can so Daae can establish the series in her territory. Cheerful, high-quality programs with strong characters top Daae’s list, and she’s keen to look at shows for any age up to 12.

Preferred approach: Mail a pilot to Postboks 7222, 5020 Bergen, Norway, or if one isn’t available, send over a storyline, script and some images. She’ll accept e-mail packages (, or feel free to stop by for a visit the next time you’re in Norway.

Market circuit: MIPTV, MIPCOM, Le Rendez-Vous

VRAK.TV (French Canada)

Johane Landry

Director of acquisitions

Looking for: Live-action dramas or comedies for kids ages nine through 12 with at least 26 episodes planned. All shows will need to be translated into Quebeçois French, and pitches should have a contemporary and unconventional feel.

Preferred approach: Send an e-mail with concise details about the program’s synopsis, its audience target and available rights ( Send viewing material to 2100 Ste. Catherine Street West, Suite 700, Montréal, Quebec, Canada, H3H 2T3.

Market circuit: KidScreen Summit, MIPTV, MIPCOM


Brigid Sullivan

VP of children’s education and interactive programming

Looking for: Entertaining, curriculum-oriented series for preschool, six- to eight-year-olds and the nine to 12 set. Sullivan wants programs with partial or full funding, an easily understood concept or well-known brand, and a cross-platform strategy. She needs proof the show can be delivered on budget, and would like to see details about the creative team. It’s a great idea to add research data that demonstrates a need for the series.

Preferred approach: E-mail Eric Taub ( or mail him the pitch at 125 Western Avenue, Boston, Massachusetts, 02030

Market circuit: KidScreen Summit, MIPTV, Banff, MIPCOM

YLE (Finland)

Virve ‘Vicky’ Schroderus

Acquisition executive

Looking for: Program pitches that include plans for new media distribution. Animated series (shorts, 10-minute, 13-minute or half-hour eps) and specials (from five minutes to a half hour) for preschoolers and core kids up to 10 have the best shot.

Preferred approach: Send Schroderus an e-mail ( or mail the details to Tohlopinranta 31, PO Box 196, 33101 Tampere, Finland. Pitches should have synopses for at least three episodes and main character designs.

Market circuit: KidScreen Summit, MIPTV, Annecy, Cartoon Forum, MIPCOM

YTV (Canada)

Phil Piazza

VP of programming and business development for children’s TV

Looking for: Series that promote family co-viewing and are suitable for prime-time broadcast. Strippable comedies work best (Malcolm in the Middle currently sits in the cablenet’s 8 p.m. slot), and producers should make sure their series will amuse kids ages six to 11 and adults 18 to 49. Piazza and his team will also review pitches for YTV’s core youth audience, but programs must have appealing characters and strong storylines. Commissions need to qualify as 100% Canadian content and require a Canadian producer to move forward.

Preferred approach: For acquisitions, send screeners and short descriptions to John Rooney, director of programming ( Commission packages with bibles and scripts should be e-mailed to Coral Schoug, original producers coordinator (, and then producers should follow up with Bonita Siegel (

Market circuit: KidScreen Summit,


ZDF (Germany)

Nicole Keeb

Commissioning editor

Looking for: Animated and live-action programming. Preschool series must have at least 13 eps, and Keeb is not interested in seeing shows that have episode lengths shorter than 12 minutes. Programs for the older set can either be 13 x half hours or 26 x 12 minutes. Fresh design and original concepts will pique her interest, but Keeb says there’s always room in the sked for classics. Don’t bother pitching shows with violent content.

Preferred approach: Send at least the general idea, the designs and budget, but pitches delivered with outlines and scripts will be better received. Mail to Lise Meitner Str 9, Mainz 55129, Germany.

Market circuit: KidScreen Summit, MIPTV, Bologna Children’s Book Fair, Annecy, MIPCOM

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