They say behind every great success story, there’s a great team. And this maxim certainly applies to Big Tent’s success in the TV business. Through a unique and open-ended partnership that can’t really be summed up as consulting or contract distribution, kids entertainment veterans Joan Lambur and Suzanne Wilson have steered the licensing agency’s entrée into IP acquisition, development and broadcast sales for the past five years.
And with Domo set to roll out shortly on NickToons and Nick International, Miffy on Noggin and a series of two-minute Planet Groove animated music vids featuring the Star Girls in production for NickToons, it’s patently obvious the two companies have found a good fit in one another.
Looking to replicate that dynamic, Lambur & Associates has hooked up with Toronto, Canada’s Story City in a similar way. The five-year-old indie studio is run by former Cambium staffers Ed Lee and Dave Beatty, and so far, its work slate has been dominated by third-party servicework (most notably on Bigfoot Presents: Meteor and the Mighty Monster Trucks, a CGI series that debuted on Discovery Kids last fall).
But Lee and Beatty have been working on original concepts for awhile now, and they have the development and production expertise to handle the creative end of crafting them into TV products. What they don’t have, however, are relationships with broadcasters, and this missing link is crucial to financing. Enter Lambur and Wilson, who specialize in finding TV placement for properties, particularly on State-side outlets. ‘We’re able to advise them in the development phase about what will work in the US and internationally, and what will work in licensing,’ says Lambur. ‘We’re also helping them prioritize their slate and come up with an action plan for IP development.’
At the top of the pile is a mixed-media series called Doc Knowledge, which is built around a science curriculum for six- to nine-year-olds. Doc lives in the cosmos with a gaggle of little ETs called Edlings. When a mystery worth investigating crops up – i.e. one of the Edlings spends too much time outside and gets a sunburn one day – Doc beams down to his colleagues on Earth for answers. The show combines archive footage, live action ‘man on the street’ bits and animation, and L&A is talking to educational broadcasters and foundations about partnering on the project.