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'Thomas & Friends' Heads to Japan

HIT Entertainment announced a major deal that will see the new CGI series of "Thomas & Friends" air on Japanese public broadcaster NHK for the very first time.

Press release from HIT Entertainment:

LONDON/JAPAN --

HIT Entertainment announced a major deal that will see the new CGI series of Thomas & Friends air on Japanese public broadcaster NHK for the very first time. Broadcast distribution on NHK will significantly increase the presence of the brand in the country where it is currently the number one pre-school property.

As part of the multi-year agreement, Thomas & Friends will air weekly on NHK’s children’s entertainment block starting this month. The content will include all of the new CG-animated series as well as the hour-long Thomas & Friends specials which NHK plans to air on a spot basis. All programming will be broadcast in Japanese. NHK will also take a co-production credit in Japan starting with series 16.

Edward Catchpole, Senior Vice President, HIT Brands said: “We’re delighted to enter into this new partnership with NHK to bring Thomas & Friends to children and families in Japan. This is the next major step in cementing Thomas’ position as the number one pre-school property in Japan and will significantly grow the brand in the future.”

Kazumasa Lida, Head of International Program Development at NHK, said: “Thomas & Friends is so popular with children around the world that we’re extremely happy to be airing the new series on our channel. We look forward to further collaborating with HIT Entertainment to make Thomas & Friends an even bigger success in Japan.”

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