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Mike Young Prods. Forms Taffy Biz Unit

Announced at MIP-TV, independent animation studio Mike Young Prods (MYP) announced the formation of Taffy Ent., the new business unit dedicated to the rights management and worldwide distribution of family and childrens entertainment. Mike and Liz Young and Bill Schultz created Taffy to own and represent its library as well as to actively seek to acquire rights to other animation properties. Taffy is expected to post more than $7 million of sales in 2004, while parent company MYP boasts $30 million in annual revenues. While Taffys TV distribution infrastructure is already up and running, the company is considering its options with regard to licensing and merchandising.

"Taffy was one of my favorite candies growing up on the East Coast. It reminds me of all the fun of childhood, so this name is a bit of nostalgia for me. I love Taffy!" said MYP partner Bill Schultz.

"And just like our programs (and us), Taffy is fun and colorful and kids love it," said Mike Young, MYP partner. "Besides, in a British connotation, Liz and I are both 'Taffys'...Welsh that is!"

For the new venture, MYP has promoted TV sales and marketing veteran Regis Brown to the title of evp for Taffy Ent.

"Two short years ago, Regis opened a fledging international TV department under the MYP banner to handle distribution on JAKERS! and HE-MAN and also to secure co-production partners for our original properties," said Mike Young. "He did a terrific job at this bringing us such premiere partners as France-based Antefilms and TF1, among others."

Brown said, "Now the time is right to take the business to the next level, which means giving the distribution company its own identity. With such terrific TV shows as JAKERS! and HE-MAN and now PET ALIEN and TODDWORLD, we have great momentum. This move will also allow us to pursue key acquisitions."

Joining Brown in the Los Angeles Taffy headquarters are two new executive hires: Mevelyn Noriega-Valladares, vp of sales administration, and Jorge Rodriguez, servicing manager.

Noriega-Valladares was formerly vp sales administration for The Kushner-Locke Co., and prior to joining Kushner-Locke was director of contract administration for Vision International/Mark Damon Prods. Most recently Noriega-Valladares was consulting for Senator Ent.

Prior to MYP, Rodriguez spent two years at Franchise Pictures as servicing manager and one year as servicing manager assistant at Cinequannon Pictures.

Taffy Ent. will be at MYPs Stand #R34.14 with various properties including JAKERS!; HE-MAN; PET ALIEN, a co-production with TF1, Antefilms, Crest and John Doze Studios; Discovery Channels TODDWORLD, based on the award-winning books by Todd Parr with partners L & G Licensing and ToddWorld Inc.; and DIVE OLLY DIVE!, a new CGI preschool series.

MYP was formed by partners Mike Young, creator of the British Academy award-winning series SUPER TED; Liz Young, supervising producer of Scholastics Emmy-nominated CLIFFORD THE BIG RED DOG and its spin-off, PUPPY DAYS; and Bill Schultz, Emmy award-winning producer of THE SIMPSONS. Recent credits include PBS KIDS JAKERS! THE ADVENTURES OF PIGGLEY WINKS, Cartoon Networks HE-MAN AND THE MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE and Nickelodeons BUTT-UGLY MARTIANS.

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Rick DeMott
Animation World Network
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