The Australian Broadcasting Company (ABC) and the Canadian Broadcasting Company (CBC) have signed a memorandum of understanding to co-develop English-language children’s content. The three-year agreement will also provide the public broadcasters opportunities for the co-financing and format sales of kids content.
The agreement covers the co-development of children’s programs across television, audio and digital services, including two new television projects (one for kids two to six and one targeting eight- to 14-year-olds). On top of working together to create new programming, ABC has also acquired CBC Kids original commission Big Blue (pictured), as well as CBC co-production Kiri and Lou and the upcoming Sinking Ship series Endlings.
Big Blue, the animated series from Toronto-based Guru Studio, follows the underwater adventures of Lettie and Lemo as they explore and protect an ocean-covered planet. The 52 x 11-minute comedy-adventure show is set to debut on CBC Kids and ICI Radio-Canada Télé in 2020.
Kiri and Lou will premiere on TVNZ (New Zealand) and CBC later this year. The 52 x five-minute preschool series features paper and clay stop-motion animation and focuses on an unlikely group of animal friends. The tween-skewing Endlings, meanwhile, centers around four foster children who discover they’re not alone in the universe after the last elephant on Earth disappears. The half-hour series was greenlit by CBC and US streamer Hulu last year.
The partnership will allow CBC and ABC to co-finance more ambitious projects with greater global reach as the public broadcasters compete with a wave of new content, according to Catherine Tait, president and CEO of CBC/Radio-Canada.
The memorandum of understanding builds on an existing relationship between the broadcasters, which includes CBC’s acquisition of the broadcast rights for ABC programs like Mustangs FC. In addition to kids content, the creative and commercial collaboration will also see ABC and CBC co-develop drama, comedy, factual and podcast content. The broadcasters will also facilitate employee exchanges where appropriate to support these initiatives.