Aussie TV series The Fairies is about to get a spicy makeover. In a new deal between Adelaide, Australia’s Roadshow Entertainment and New York-based V-Me, the hit girls preschool show will be produced as a Spanish- and Portugese-language format for distribution in Latin America, Spain, Brazil and Portugal.
The project marks the first time US Hispanic broadcaster V-Me has gotten involved in production, and as part of the deal, the channel will hang onto US broadcast rights to the language-versioned series and two direct-to-DVD specials. The production team’s goal is to finish the format by early 2008, working with an Hispanic American cast, and dubbing the finished product into Argentinean Spanish.
Roadshow plans to build on this first format when it goes into Asian-language production for China (Hong Kong and Taiwan), Singapore and Malaysia in July 2008. At the same time, the studio will be working on season three for Australia, as well as locking down partners for an English-language Canadian/US version by year’s end, and a European version by early 2008.
The original girls preschool show airs on Seven Network in Australia, Nick Jr. in the UK and a handful of other channels across Asia and the Middle East. A 26 x half-hour live-actioner created by Jen Watts, The Fairies takes place in an enchanted garden setting created by Lord of the Rings studio WETA Workshop, where lead characters Harmony and Rhapsody have musical adventures with a motley cast of fairies, elves, wizards, insects and animals.
Even with the incorporation of culturally relevant elements to suit each territory, Roadshow’s director of business development Grahame Grassby is confident The Fairies will maintain its brand integrity. While the characters will be the same, they may appear differently in other territories (Harmony, for example, may not be blonde in the Asian-language format). The most noticeable difference between the formats will be musical in nature. Grassby says that since the show was designed to be formatted and not dubbed, translating its original song lyrics is too difficult, so the formats will feature soundtracks inspired by each territory’s local culture.
Grassby will be at MIPCOM in search of a European production hub, and he’s just closed a deal that will see The Fairies air on Nick Australia in a year-long trial starting this December.