Since coming aboard to launch and head up Blueprint Entertainment’s kids programming division this spring, Frank Saperstein has been busy putting together a development slate that covers off just about every demographic, format and style a children’s broadcaster might conceivably need. ‘We have five to 10 projects that will be in active development by the time we get to MIPCOM,’ says Saperstein, who recently left his L.A. office to tour the Canadian company’s HQ for the first time.
A top priority for the division to date has been to try and set up co-productions with other Canadian companies as a first financing step. One such partnership is with Montreal-based Mad Science, which deals in hands-on programs, products, theatrical productions and live presentations designed to get kids excited about science. The two companies have hooked up to produce an animated TV series and related merchandising program for six- to nine-year-olds. The show will be anchored by live-action hosted segments leading into animated stories about using science in unlikely ways to solve mysteries.
Also in the Blueprint pipeline is a reality gameshow for the 10 to 14 set that’s all about trying on different professional hats. Each episode of Make It or Break It will see two groups of kids take on a job – firefighter, secret agent, Mountie – and race against the clock in challenges related to that line of work.
Saperstein and his team plan to shop a handful of projects to potential partners in Europe, Asia and Latin America at MIPCOM, and they’ll also be on the lookout for a comedy-action concept for the nine to 12 set to round out the growing kids portfolio.
More of a creative hatchery than a production hub, Blueprint doesn’t have any interest in owning its own studio, says Saperstein. ‘It’s all about bringing in writers and producers on a project-by-project basis and being a matchmaker,’ he explains.
He does see the company expanding into new media, though, and would naturally need to bring someone in to sell onto those platforms. ‘All of our TV projects have mobile, broadband and internet elements built into them organically, and these lend themselves to digital business,’ says Saperstein. But for now, the goal is to make compelling TV shows.