After primarily focusing on animated adaptations for six- to 10-year-olds based on classic IPs, Parisian studio ON Kids & Family is now broadening its TV slate to meet demand for upper preschool series, family co-viewing and originals.
France’s M6, German kidsnet Super RTL and Chinese children’s media company Alpha Group have already picked up the Mediawan-owned prodco’s first show for the four to eight set, Petronix Defenders.
Currently in production, the 52 x 13-minute adventure-comedy (pictured) features a globetrotting team of kid superheroes who help endangered wild animals. On missions, the kids sport backpacks that transform into hybrid animal robots called Petronix.
Petronix Defenders is set to premiere in 2022 on Super RTL in Germany, and on Gulli and M6 Kid in France. Mediawan Rights is handling worldwide distribution, except in Asia-Pacific and MENA, where Alpha holds the rights. Toys from Alpha are expected to roll out next year.
The series marks the first time ON has partnered with a toy company to jointly develop a premium content show, and it’s the studio’s first stab at content focused on environmental protection. ON EVP and head of television/chief content officer Julien Borde says now is the right time for such a message. “Children are more than ever—and from very early ages—super-concerned about the future of our planet and the protection of endangered species.”
Petronix Defenders is one of four new CG-animated shows for upper preschool in the works at the studio. Karters is an original series in development about a team of girl knights who use racing karts to save the world; The Little Prince and Friends is in production as a spinoff of ON’s popular kids series The Little Prince; and The Enchanted Village of Pinocchio is in production with Italian drama prodco Palomar for RAI in Italy and France Télévisions.
The Little Prince and Friends and Karters are ON’s first upper preschool series developed with Borde at the helm. The former head of kids at WarnerMedia France joined the studio in October to help it expand.
ON is also looking to enter the YA animation market and make a more committed move into live action after a successful first foray in 2016 with Snow White-inspired hybrid series Seven and Me.
As it ages its content up and down, ON is still firmly committed to shows in its wheelhouse, and plans on continuing to support its classic IPs within a broader portfolio, Borde says.
ON currently has five more CG-animated shows in development under Borde’s watchful eye: Jo Go for Gold! is an original comedy-sport series for six- to 10-year-olds timed to lead into the 2024 Paris Olympic Games; The 3 Musketeers targets kids ages five to eight and recasts the iconic swordsmen as young girls; Animal Force is an action-comedy for six to 10s that will be co-produced with La Station Animation; and rounding out the slate are two shows from comics creator Joann Sfar that will run through ON subsidiary Joann Sfar’s Magical Society.
After partnering with Sfar in 2019, ON launched the studio to develop the author’s multiverses. The collab’s first project, feature film Little Vampire, premiered last October. A spin-off series Little Vampire and Me is currently in development for five- to eight-year-olds, and a buddy comedy for six to 10s called Mr. Crocodile is also in the works.
Going forward, Borde is looking for potential co-production partners worldwide, as well as acquisition prospects to bulk up Mediawan’s kids and family division. “Our focus is to find good European companies to acquire,” he says.