On the heels of Toronto-based Entertainment One’s 2008 shopping spree that brought L.A.’s Blueprint Entertainment and London’s Contender Entertainment into the fold, the company has rebranded as E1, setting up E1 Kids in the process. Former Blueprint head honcho Frank Saperstein is now heading up the division as SVP, also overseeing all animation. KidScreen caught up with Saperstein to get the lowdown on how this new summation of all parts is approaching the kids biz.
‘It’s not just the integration of Rubber Duck [the preschool production arm of Contender] with Blueprint; it’s also the integration of those entities into the larger E1 universe,’ says Saperstein. He adds that the universe includes a vast music library and licensing and merchandising resources. So going forward, the company has restructured its operations into four main units: E1 Television, E1 Films, E1 Music and E1 Distribution.
Laura Clunie will be working closely Saperstein at E1 Kids, which falls under E1 Television, championing the company’s preschool slate that she was largely responsible for at Rubber Duck, including Peppa Pig and Ben & Holly’s Little Kingdom. He says that his forte in producing Blueprint’s older-skewing late-night animation, such as Ren & Stimpy and Bob and Margaret, brings a broad expertise in working across all demos and genres. Clunie and Saperstein will also be coordinating efforts to grow the development slate with Elizabeth Madariaga who heads up development for the division from the Toronto office.
Saperstein says the newly merged companies have been weeding the deadwood out of their development slates to bring together a lineup focused on what broadcasters are looking for. On that note, he’s looking to make acquisitions to round out the portfolio. Right now he’s interested in wacky comedy live-action series with slightly stronger boy appeal for the six to nine set.