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HIT Scores Jim Henson Distribution Agreement

HIT Entertainment has reached a five-year global rights and production venture agreement to distribute The Jim Henson Companys classic family properties across many platforms, including television, home entertainment and consumer products.

The 440 hour strong Family Classics portion of Henson's catalog includes the ACE Award- winning titles FRAGGLE ROCK and EMMET OTTER'S JUGBAND CHRISTMAS, BAFTA Award-winning JIM HENSON'S THE HOOBS, BAFTA-nominated JIM HENSON'S CONSTRUCTION SITE, JIM HENSON'S MOPATOP'S SHOP, and Emmy Award-winning JIM HENSON'S MOTHER GOOSE STORIES. The deal does not include titles involving THE MUPPETS or BEAR IN THE BIG BLUE HOUSE, the rights to which were recently acquired by The Walt Disney Co.

In addition to the distribution deal, the arrangement allows HIT to distribute newly produced properties. The first of such projects is FRANCES, a new pre-school program based on the best-selling Frances Treasury series of books.

"I am absolutely delighted to be announcing this partnership, said Peter Orton, founder/chairman of HIT. The Henson name stands for outstanding quality in programming and we are confident of being able to maximize the value of these excellent properties. The combination of Jim Henson programming and our own pre-school classics presents a formidable portfolio of young children's properties. We are especially pleased to be forging such a close and strong relationship with The Jim Henson Co., given the shared legacy of both companies."

Brian Henson, who with his sister Lisa is co-chair and co-ceo of Henson, said, "Given our long history with Peter Orton and his team at HIT, we're thrilled to be working together with them again. As we continue to form strategic alliances across all our businesses, HIT is especially well-suited to help us realize the full potential of the Family Classics portion of our catalog."

"HIT's demonstrated success with many well-known brands makes them an ideal co-production partner for our new preschool properties such as FRANCES, said Lisa Henson. The show, using Henson's proprietary CG animation technology, will be one of the most innovative productions ever created for young children. We look forward to developing other imaginative and exciting projects with HIT under this new venture."

HIT is one of the world's leading independent children's entertainment producers and rights owners. The company includes live action and animation production studios in both the U.S. and U.K. as well as home entertainment, licensing and publishing operations. HIT's famous characters which include classic global brands such as BOB THE BUILDER, BARNEY, THOMAS & FRIENDS, PINGU, KIPPER and ANGELINA BALLERINA , which are enjoyed by children in more than 150 countries and territories.

The Jim Henson Company, an established leader in family entertainment for nearly half a century, is recognized worldwide as a leader in puppetry, animatronics and computer graphics. Best known as creators of the world famous Muppets (the rights to which are now owned by The Walt Disney Co.), Henson is the recipient of nearly 50 Emmy Awards and nine Grammy Awards. Additionally, Jim Henson's Creature Shop has received two Academy Awards for the visual effects and animatronic builds for the 1996 smash BABE, and the invention of the Henson Performance Control System a powerful, custom-built puppeteering mechanism. Recent projects include the Emmy nominated FARSCAPE, the family film GOOD BOY! and the upcoming feature FIVE CHILDREN AND IT, starring Eddie Izzard as the voice of "It". Headquartered in Los Angeles with offices and production facilities in New York and London, The Henson Website is located at: