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BET Inks Animation Pact With Film Roman

BET's newly-established animation division announces two new major deals in the world of animation. BET has partnered with Film Roman to produce a slate of animated films and multi-platform series. In addition, BET is re-uniting Denys Cowan, BET svp of animation and his former creative partner, Milestone Media co-founder Dwayne McDuffie (STATIC SHOCK) to create a new action adventure series.

Through its pact with Film Roman, BET plans to produce a slate of animated films, series and multi-platform content for Internet, broadband and mobile applications. In addition, the companies plan to jointly develop and produce direct-to-DVD and theatrical releases. The terms of the three-year, non-exclusive deal also include international distribution outside of the BET Network.

This is BET animation's second major announcement, coming on the heels of the recent HANNIBAL THE CONQUEROR series development deal with Vin Diesel and One Race Prods. Animation is expected to hit the channel this year by fourth quarter.

"If Black America is a cultural superpower, then there's no better medium to express the full range of our collective imagination than animation," said Reginald Hudlin, BET president of entertainment. "There will be shorts that will air throughout our programming schedule as well as online content. Hopefully, by fall of next year, we'll begin to launch our animated series."

Sidney Clifton, evp of creative, programming & production for Film Roman, added, "We are very excited at the opportunity to use animation to provide our audience with strong storytelling illustrating the full breadth, depth, and texture of the black creative consciousness.

In regards to the deal with Dwayne McDuffie, Hudlin said, "Cowan and McDuffie are the Lennon & McCartney of the black comicbook industry. They've produced several of the top animated series on television. We're thrilled to have this 'dynamic duo' come together again to develop a new franchise for BET."

As a writer, Dwayne has created or co-created more than a dozen series, including DAMAGE CONTROL, DEATHLOK II, ICON, XOMBI, THE ROAD TO HELL and HARDWARE. He has written stories for dozens of other comics, including SPIDER- MAN, BATMAN: LEGENDS OF THE DARK KNIGHT, THE TICK, CAPTAIN MARVEL, AVENGERS SPOTLIGHT, BACK TO THE FUTURE, HELLRAISER, ULTRAMAN, (THE ARTIST FORMERLY KNOWN AS) PRINCE and X-O MANOWAR.

"Black culture is youth culture. Where black people go pop culture follows," stated Cowan. "At BET Animation, with our creative partnerships and working with established superstars as well as young, hip creators, we hope to be the leaders of the next revolution in animation."

BET Networks, a subsidiary of Viacom Inc., is the nation's leading provider of entertainment, music, news and public affairs television programming for the African-American audience. The primary BET channel reaches more than 80 million households according to Nielsen media research, and can be seen in the U.S., Canada and the Caribbean..

Film Roman, an IDT. Ent. company, is the award-winning animation company known for the primetime television series THE SIMPSONS and KING OF THE HILL, as well as the popular Saturday morning series X-MEN: EVOLUTION and SCI-FI Channel's 3D series TRIPPING THE RIFT. In addition to television, Film Roman's animation division produces feature films, direct-to-DVDs, commercials and music videos.

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Rick DeMott
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