FME and BBC Sign New Development Deal

BBC Kids and FME Kids & Family division sign a five year deal that will see them develop and produce a continuous sequence of new programming.

BBC Children’s and FremantleMedia Enterprises’ (FME) Kids & Family Entertainment division have signed an innovative long-term deal that will see them develop and produce a continuous sequence of new ground-breaking programs designed to entertain and appeal to children of all ages. The deal will see FME and BBC Children's co-developing, co-producing and co-funding a number of new children’s shows over the course of the next five years, and investing tens of millions of dollars in order to fulfill the production requirements of the agreement. 

The partnership brings together two of the strongest players in the kids and family entertainment space in a dedicated effort to delight and inspire children in the UK and the world over.   BBC Children’s is the UK’s premier broadcaster for kids and family entertainment, winning the BAFTA Children’s Award for “Channel of the Year” for CBeebies in 2010 and 2011 and for CBBC in 2012.  And, in just three years since its inception, FME’s Kids and Family Entertainment division has had continued success in bringing original family programming to fruition across multiple genres including traditional animated, CGI and stop motion series, live-action and mixed media shows. 

The organisations have a proven track record of working together: the preschool hit Tree Fu Tom was one of the highest rated new series on CBeebies in 2012 and received multiple BAFTA Children’s Award nominations, and Wizards vs Aliens, created by Russell T Davies and Phil Ford (Doctor Who, The Sarah Jane Adventures, Torchwood), was CBBC’s number two premiering show of 2012.  This new announcement of a strengthened and committed relationship between BBC Children’s and FME’s Kids and Family Entertainment is designed to result in the continuous creation of new, ground-breaking and high-quality programming for children. 

Within the parameters of this new partnership, BBC Children’s and FME’s Kids and Family Entertainment will collaborate to create memorable, distinctive and thought-provoking programs for both CBBC and CBeebies.  With CBBC focusing on children aged 6-12 years old and CBeebies geared towards younger children under the age of six, the combined talents and strong relationships held within BBC Children’s and FME’s Kids and Family Entertainment make for a productive playground to create new content.  Under the terms of the partnership, the BBC Children’s in-house production teams will produce the shows in conjunction with the FME Kids & Family team including Sander Schwartz, president, and Bob Higgins, executive vice president.

Director of BBC Children’s Joe Godwin says. ”We’re delighted to be signing this new deal with FremantleMedia Enterprises and look forward to building on the success we’ve already had working together on top-rated programs such as Tree Fu Tom. This groundbreaking partnership will allow us to create and develop even more exciting new shows that will entertain and inspire kids throughout the UK.”

This partnership does not affect the first-look deal that BBC Children’s has with BBC Worldwide who continue to invest in children’s programming and also operate the CBeebies international channels. And BBC Children’s will continue to collaborate with a wide range of creative partners, broadcasters, distributors and indies (who currently produce 70% of the BBC’s children’s programs).

An immediate benefit stemming from this new partnership is the commissioning of further explorations in the enchanted kingdom of Treetopolis with the second season of Tree Fu Tom. Allowing each viewer to become a mighty, magical superhero within this miniature fantasy world, Tree Fu Tom was developed to aid children who have movement disorders and difficulties such as Dyspraxia.  Continued seasons of the show are certain to both inspire and entertain pre-schoolers. 

“When we started FME’s Kids and Family Entertainment division just three years ago, our goal was to join forces with leading broadcasters and producers of kids’ content in order to inspire, transform, challenge and stimulate our young audiences who will grow to be the world’s next generation of leaders,” said Sander Schwartz, president, FME Kids and Family Entertainment.  “BBC Children’s and FME’s Kids and Family division joining forces in a strategic relationship is truly an example of 1+1 = 3.  The combining of strong experience and skills from both companies is sure to amplify the quality of shows that will result from this unique alliance.” 

“BBC Children’s is the top echelon in the kids and family genre and we have had phenomenal success in working with them on shows such as Wizards vs Aliens and Tree Fu Tom” said Bob Higgins, executive vice president, FME Kids and Family Entertainment.  “They are fearless in their dedication to make bold, creatively brilliant programs and we couldn’t be more excited to have the opportunity to continue working with such an amazing partner.”

Extending beyond television screens, the deal will also see FME representing a range of global ancillary rights, including merchandise, home entertainment, live events, publishing, worldwide distribution, and more. The BBC will retain television rights for the UK and Eire, as well as certain other rights within those countries.  

Source: FremantleMedia Enterprise

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