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Five Commissions New Rupert Bear Animation Series From ER

U.K. broadcaster, Five, has commissioned Entertainment Rights Plc. (ER) to produce a new animated RUPERT AND FRIENDS (52x10) to broadcast in fall 2006.

This agreement follows ERs acquisition of the controlling rights to Rupert Bear from Express Newspapers (Express) in October 2005. ER acquired worldwide in perpetuity all audio visual, licensing and merchandising, publishing, live events and new media rights to Rupert Bear and the world of Nutwood.

The new RUPERT AND FRIENDS combines high quality stop-frame animation and 3D computer generated imagery to produce a completely fresh, contemporary and appealing series for todays pre-schoolers. Rupert and Friends is in pre-production at award-winning production studio, Cosgrove Hall, and will launch on Fives successful childrens block, Milkshake.

The much loved and instantly recognizable Rupert, Bill Badger, Edward Trunk and Raggety the Tree Elf are joined by enchanting new characters, including Ping Pong, Ming and Miranda the Mermaid who explore the wonderful world of Nutwood and other fantastical locations in their adventures together.

ER reports the Rupert Bear brand lends itself to a whole range of new media and online opportunities including interactive, music downloads, games and handheld devices. ER will be implementing a full consumer products campaign, online campaign and DVD release program for Rupert Bear with product rolling out from 2007. The RUPERT AND FRIENDS animated series will be launched globally by ER at MIPCOM in October 2006.

Jane Smith, ERs group commercial director, said, We are absolutely delighted that Rupert will be appearing on Five. Fives Milkshake has become a key destination for British children and is the perfect home for Rupert. We have no doubt that RUPERT AND FRIENDS will become a much-loved favorite. This agreement further demonstrates ERs ability to produce wonderfully creative childrens properties which are in demand from broadcasters and consumer products partners around the world.

Nick Wilson, controller Childrens Programs said, RUPERT AND FRIENDS is a terrific addition to the Milkshake stable. It will be one of Five's key new Milkshake titles for late 2006/2007. Cosgrove Halls delicious recreation of these well loved characters coupled with magical storylines will make RUPERT a huge hit with our young viewers."

London-based ER ( is one of the U.K.'s leading specialist media groups focused on the ownership of high quality children's and family programming, characters and brands. ER owns the rights to many classic characters, including Basil Brush, Postman Pat, Little Red Tractor, He Man and Masters of the Universe, Fat Albert, She Ra, Ghostbusters, Zorro and The Lone Ranger. ER's library has grown to more than 1,800 hours of children's and family programming. This includes rights to global brands such as Mattel's Barbie, Scholastic's Clifford, Hasbro's Transformers, Casper the Friendly Ghost and Felix the Cat. ER is ideally placed to extend and exploit its portfolio of quality programming with its own television distribution, licensing division and an established home entertainment label, Right Ent.

ERs wholly owned subsidiary Tell-Tale Prods., created and produced THE TWEENIES, one of the U.K.s most successful pre-school brands.