Classic Sesame Street characters Bert and Ernie are gearing up to take the spotlight in new claymation spin-off The Adventures of Bert and Ernie. German nets NDR and Ki.Ka, and Five’s Milkshake in the UK are onboard as co-producers with Sesame Workshop and have just announced they’ll put the first of two 26 x five-minute seasons on air in 2008.
The preschool series is a first for the familiar characters, as the rich claymation style being executed by Florence, Italy-based Misseri Studios will give viewers a look at Bert and Ernie from head-to-toe in each frame. But don’t expect the duo to go changing personality-wise.
‘We want to bring Sesame Street into the 21st Century, but, we’re not ready to make huge changes to the overall show and brand,’ says Jennifer Monier-Williams,VP of global television distribution for Sesame Workshop.
Accompanying the German and UK deals, presales have been made to ABC (Australia), Cartoon Network India, DBC (Denmark), Disney Asia, Disney Spain, HOP (Israel), NPS/Zeppelin (Netherlands), NRK (Norway), and SVT (Sweden). Interestingly, there is no US broadcast deal in the works, but look for the segments to pop up on DVD releases and in special promotions.
On the L & M side, VP and GM of global licensing Maura Regan says The Workshop’s UK agent CPLG is currently crafting a program for The Adventures of Bert and Ernie. Landing a publishing partner tops the list as ‘the dialogue between the two characters is hysterical,’ she says, adding it should make for solid storybooks. Feelers are also out for apparel, stationery, and lifestyle product licensees.
Regan says four- and five-year-olds will make up the core merch demo and believes the series will appeal equally to boys and girls.