Nickelodeon and HIT Entertainment PLC, a leading supplier of children's programming, have agreed to co-produce 26 half-hour episodes of a new Nick Jr. series entitled, OSWALD. As part of the deal, HIT Entertainment will control all international rights in all media excluding the U.S., which Nickelodeon will handle. The show tells the story of a blue octopus who lives in a whimsical city with his best friends, a pet hot dog, penguin and daisy. The animated series, which will be produced by Nicktoons, is based on characters created and designed by childrens book author Dan Yaccarino. HIT Entertainment's current animated properties include KIPPER (which currently airs on Nick Jr.), ANGELINA BALLERINA and BOB THE BUILDER, a U.K. preschool phenomenon. OSWALD will hit TV screens in spring 2001. "We're delighted to be joining forces with Nickelodeon once again on OSWALD," said Peter Orton, CEO of HIT Entertainment. "We believe that the property has the potential to become a children's classic and look forward to working together to develop yet another successful pre-school branded property with the #1 children's network in America." Brown Johnson, senior VP of Nick Jr. said, "OSWALD has the potential to become another big success for Nick Jr. and we're excited to be working again with HIT Entertainment. OSWALD has all of the endearing qualities that we look for in a preschool property, and we're confident it will fit beautifully within the Nick Jr. block."