Canada’s WildBrain has forged a distribution, production and licensing partnership with LA-based studio Jay Ward Productions for its complete portfolio of iconic animated properties from the ’50s and ’60s, including George of the Jungle, Mr. Peabody & Sherman, Dudley Do-Right, Rocky & Bullwinkle and Super Chicken.
Financial terms of the deal have not been disclosed, but both companies have agreed to create brand-new content inspired by Jay Ward classics. They haven’t announced any specifics about this development push, but nothing is off the table, according to a statement from WildBrain.
The agreement will also see WildBrain add 788 episodes of classic Jay Ward animation to its distribution library. These titles include The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle (326 x 3.5 minutes), Peabody’s Improbable History (91 x five minutes), Dudley Do-Right (38 x 4.5 minutes), Hoppity Hooper (104 x 4.5 minutes), Fractured Fairy Tales (91 x five minutes), Aesop and Son (39 x five minutes), Mr. Know-It All (60 x 1.5 minutes) and Bullwinkle’s Corner (39 x one minute).
This move reunites WildBrain CEO Eric Ellenbogen with Jay Ward Productions president Tiffany Ward—the late producer’s daughter. Ellenbogen and Tiffany Ward previously teamed up 20 years ago when they formed Bullwinkle Studios under Ellenbogen’s former company, Classic Media. A decade later, the Jay Ward portfolio moved to DreamWorks following its US$155-million acquisition of Classic Media, but Jay Ward Productions retained the rights to its classic IPs.
DreamWorks continues to own all original DreamWorks-produced content based on Jay Ward IPs, including the 2014 animated feature film Mr. Peabody & Sherman and two new animated series from WildBrain (at the time DHX Media)—The Mr. Peabody & Sherman Show (52 episodes) for Netflix/DreamWorks, and The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle (26 episodes) for Amazon/DreamWorks. DreamWorks also owns 52 new episodes of George of the Jungle produced by Bullwinkle Studios, and an additional 52 episodes that were later produced by Singapore-based studio August Media.
This latest WildBrain partnership plays into its focus on reimagining iconic brands. The company recently signed deals to refresh Strawberry Shortcake for Netflix, Degrassi for HBO Max and Yo Gabba Gabba for AppleTV+.