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Nelvana Seals Deals for Backyardians & Jane and the Dragon

At MIPTV 2005, Nelvana confirm a raft of new television and home entertainment partners for musical adventure series THE BACKYARDIGANS as well as initial broadcast sales for JANE AND THE DRAGON.

Picking up episodes 1 to 20 of BACKYARDIGANS are Nickelodeon channels in Holland, Asia and Australia, Cartoon Network India, Discovery Kids Latin America, Teletoon Canada, KM Productions (Middle East), RTP 1 & 2 (Portugal), and Maori Television (New Zealand), while France 5 acquires the remaining episodes 11 to 20.

On the home entertainment front, CNR Kids has signed on as distributor for the Benelux market, with Miracle Enterprises taking on Korea. A large, multi-territory distribution deal with a key studio is expected post-MIP-TV.

Kids all over the world are finding five new TV friends in the BACKYARDIGANS gang. Each musical adventure helps kids develop their imagination and express themselves creatively as they sing and dance along to a catchy soundtrack, said Emmanuele Petry, Nelvanas svp, international. We welcome this latest round of partners to our broadcast and home video backyard.

A co-pro with Nickelodeon, the 3D preschool series follows the backyard adventures of five pals quick-moving penguin Pablo, mellow moose Tyrone, thrill-seeking Uniqua, ladylike hippo Tasha and Austin, the new kangaroo on the block. For the gang, daily backyard playdates bring fantasy to life. Each episode features four kid-friendly tunes suitable for sing-a-long.

Recently launched in the U.S, Canada and France on Nick Jr. Treehouse TV and France 5 respectively, the series is building a loyal audience. For the month of February 2005, THE BACKYARDIGANS ranked fourth among all series for kids two to five, averaging more than one million viewers (ages two to 11) on Nick Jr. In its top Sunday slot on Treehouse TV, the show ranks seventh (twelfth overall for the combined weekend), among kids two to five. In France, the series garnered an average 17% share among kids four to 10 and an 11.9% share among boys four to 14 in February 2005.

JANE AND THE DRAGON is a contemporary coming-of-age story set in medieval times.

France 3, TVNZ and ABC Australia have each acquired 26 episodes of the 3D toon, a co-production between Nelvana and Weta Prods. They join Canadian broadcaster YTV on the partner roster.

Targeting the six to 11 set, the series stars Jane, a headstrong knight in the Kings Guard who unlike most 12-year-old girls of her time has a suit of armor in her closet, a sword in her belt and an unforgettable and unpredictably endearing 300-year-old dragon by her side.

This series was the headliner of our MIP-TV 2004 development slate, and we are thrilled with its sales record over the past year, said Doug Murphy, Nelvanas evp of business development. We look forward to tracking its performance on these top channels as we develop plans for a Jane and the Dragon consumer products program.

We are proud to add such a cute red-headed girl and her wonderful 300-year-old mate to our current slate of strong characters, said Eve Baron, France 3s head of childrens programming. Congratulations to Weta and Nelvana for their original collaboration. We expect this ambitious series to be as successful for us as BRACEFACE.

JANE AND THE DRAGON has brought together two highly respected organizations from different hemispheres, working closely to create an animated series that will be truly uniquea story book brought to life, said Deirdre Brennan, ABC Kids programmer, ABC Australia. I believe our ABC Kids audience will form a strong connection with Jane and her friends for years to come.

Nelvana Limited is one of the worlds leading international producers and distributors of childrens programming and products. Nelvana is owned by Corus Ent., a Canadian-based media and entertainment company. Corus is a market leader in both specialty TV and radio. The companys other interests include music, television broadcasting and advertising services. Corus website can be found at www.corusentertainment.com.

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Rick DeMott
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