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Former Hallmark & Mattel Execs Hatch New Firm

Veteran industry executives Margaret Loesch and Bruce Stein have teamed to create The Hatchery, LLC, a new entertainment and marketing firm. Loesch, an Emmy Award-winning producer, was most recently president/ceo of Crown Media U.S./Hallmark Channel. Stein was formerly president/coo of Mattel Inc. Also a partner in the new production house is Emmy and Peabody Award-winning producer/writer Dan Angel.

The venture will focus on delivering family entertainment experiences featuring new and existing content through many platforms, including film, television, direct-to-home videos and consumer products. The Hatchery is financed by a group of investors and companies who will also play a strategic role in its operation. Among the key investors are entertainment icon Peter Guber, chairman/ceo, Mandalay Entertainment Group, and Paul Schaeffer, Mandalay vice chairman/coo. The two are also members of The Hatchery's operating committee.

"In The Hatchery we've assembled a group of entrepreneurs, each of whom has proven accomplishments and creativity in specialized areas," said Loesch. "Our collective creative backgrounds enable us to identify or create those intellectual properties that fit perfectly within our niche. We will be a much-needed launch pad for the small property creator and a valuable resource for larger players who seek the efficiencies and creative and strategic skills of a streamlined group of professionals in maximizing the potential of their properties."

Stein added, "We're not a traditional company. We have a unique ability, flexibility, and sensibility. Companies like ours that are focused and streamlined have a special appetite for smaller properties which, if handled properly and with unique applications, have proven that they can be developed into major brand franchises with enormous commercial success."

The Hatchery already has projects in development. The properties include THE FREAK, an acclaimed CGI short film that has been honored at 13 film festivals worldwide. Loesch is producing BENJI RETURNS: RAGS TO RICHES with the film's writer/director Joe Camp. The feature film will be released in the summer of 2004.

Loesch was the founding president and ceo of Crown Media U.S. and its U.S. Hallmark Channel and was one of the key architects in building and launching the general entertainment cable network. She was also the founding president and ceo of FOX Kids Networks. She has also been president of Jim Henson Television Group Worldwide, president and ceo of Marvel Productions and an exec with Hanna-Barbera Productions and the NBC and ABC Television Networks.

Stein has served as chairman/ceo, Radical Communication; worldwide president and coo, Mattel, Inc.; ceo, Sony Interactive Entertainment; and president, Kenner Products. He has been a strategic consultant for several leading Silicon Valley venture capital companies in media convergence and technology-based consumer products. Additionally, he serves on the boards of numerous public and private companies.

Angel is an award-winning producer, writer and production exec. He was the key creative force behind the production of the family film DOOR TO DOOR, winner of this year's Emmy Award for Outstanding Television Movie, starring William H. Macy. Along with his former partner Billy Brown, he produced and wrote children's television series GOOSEBUMPS, recognized by TV GUIDE magazine as a Best Children's Program pick, and was honored by the Writer's Guild of America with an award for Best Children's Teleplay. Angel's other TV credits include creating the children's series ANIMORPHS and serving as story editor/writer on the hit series THE X-FILES.

For more information about The Hatchery, contact Mark J. Kern at (323) 936-1055.

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