National Geographic Kids Entertainment is now fully back in the hands of parentco Nat Geo following the dissolution of the joint-venture forged with London-based Handmade Kids in 2009. And to get the ball rolling NGKE has hired execs Debbie Back and Jennifer Liang to head international sales for its kids properties, coinciding with the Canadian pubcaster CBC’s third season renewal of live-action kids series Are We There Yet?: World Adventure.
Both execs will be based in New York and hail from Handmade Kids, where they conducted sales on behalf of the National Geographic Entertainment/Handmade Kids’ joint venture.
Back will head worldwide sales and intends to expand the Are We There Yet? interactive website. She says that seasons one and two of the series will likely be sold in bundles with the brand’s accompanying website. At Handmade Kids, Back managed TV, home entertainment and licensing and merchandising rights for Animation Collective and National Geographic Kids programming in major territories, including the US, Canada, Europe, Australia, New Zealand and Asia Pacific. She previously served as SVP, international program sales for MTV Networks International.
Liang, who will report to Back, will negotiate domestic and international program sales for National Geographic Kids Entertainment and will manage all financial aspects of the National Geographic Kids business in the role as senior director, sales and strategy. Liang previously served as VP, international program sales for Handmade Kids, handling contract negotiation, managing agents and implementing worldwide sales strategy for National Geographic Kids and Animation Collective properties. Prior to that, she was director, worldwide sales, for HBO Enterprises, and also has held various positions at MTV Networks.
NGKE is now developing new programming,making acquisitions and forging production partnerships where it makes sense for the company, but both execs are focusing on Are We There Yet?, which they say stays core to the National Geographic brand. The 39 x seven-minute/13 x 21-minute series is a kids’ global adventure program, currently sold into 40 countries worldwide, that is hosted by real sister and brother duos who share their explorations through journal writing, travel logs and on-location chatter. Are We There Yet?: World Adventure is a Sinking Ship Entertainment production produced in association with the CBC, Treehouse TV and NGKE. National Geographic Kids Entertainment is the US and international distributor for the series.