Kids round-up: Wildbrain, Kevin Smith link for ‘Green Hornet’; Planeta Junior takes ZAG stake; ‘Oddbods’ goes global
‘The Green Hornet’ flies again; Kevin Smith and Wildbrain team for new series
Children’s entertainment company Wildbrain has partnered with filmmaker and actor Kevin Smith to develop an animated series based on The Green Hornet superhero franchise.
Smith is best known as the creator of the Jay and Silent Bob movie franchise, including films such as Clerks, Chasing Amy and Dogma. He has already very familiar with the character, having written numerous Green Hornet comics for Dynamite Entertainment.
The Green Hornet originated as a radio series in the 1930s, telling the story of Britt Reid, a wealthy newspaper owner and publisher. By day, Reid oversees his paper’s reporting on crime and injustice, but by night he dons his green mask and ventures across the city with his sidekick Kato – in their high-tech car ‘Black Beauty’– to battle criminals and villains head on.
The new series will be aimed at a family audience and set in the modern day, with a re-imagined Green Hornet and his sidekick Kato now the grown children of the original heroes.
The franchise has been adapted many times, including a 1960s TV series that introduced future martial arts star Bruce Lee to North American audiences as Kato.
Smith said that it was an “honour” to bring the “iconic” characters to the screen in an animated series for the first time: “We’ll be telling a tale of two Hornets – past and future – that spans generations and draws inspiration from a lifetime spent watching classic cartoons and amazing animation like Batman: The Animated Series, Heavy Metal, and Super Friends.
“I can’t believe WildBrain gave me this job and I can’t thank them enough for the opportunity to extend my childhood a little longer,” he added.
Moonbug becomes largest digital kids’ entertainment company
London-based Moonbug Entertainment has acquired live-action kids’ series Blippi and YouTube channel CoComelon, bringing its monthly subscribers to over 235 million and making it the largest digital kids entertainment company in the world.
Operating across more than 100 global platforms, including YouTube, Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, Joyn, Sky and Roku, Moonbug provides values-based programming for children, including shows like Little Baby Bum, My Magic Pet Morphle and Supa Strikas.
Simon Philips, senior in-house advisor at Moonbug said that the new acquisitions showed that the company was “a proven leader in the industry.”
“Blippi and CoComelon represent what lies ahead in the years to come for children’s entertainment: dynamic characters with a close relationship to their audience through content, licensing, merchandise, and social media,” added René Rechtman, Moonbug’s co-founder and CEO.
Planeta Junior invests in ZAG Entertainment
Spain-based kids’ producer and distributor Planeta Junior has invested in France-and-US prodco ZAG Entertainment.
Planeta Junior has bought a minority stake in ZAG Entertainment with the possibility of increasing it up to 49% of the company in the next few years. Financial terms of the deal were not revealed.
The agreement will also see Planeta Junior join ZAG Entertainment’s management board.
The two companies first started working together in 2016 with a deal to promote and represent action-comedy series Miraculous: The Adventures of Ladybug and Cat Noir in Europe.
The following year they expanded their relationship with a co-production agreement covering five new Zag Heroez series.
Alongside the agreement, both companies have drafted a European strategic plan, which includes a content creation agenda for cinema and television audiences and experiences, as well as a road map to strengthen licenses and merchandising.
“We are very proud to announce this agreement, which intensifies our business relationship and our longstanding friendship with ZAG. Planeta Junior shares ZAG’s enthusiasm for creating quality content that excites and entertains children, and is capable of becoming a very powerful brand,” said Ignacio Segura, GM at Planeta Junior..
Jeremy Zag, founder & CEO of ZAG, added:“Planeta has always believed in Zag and has given us the strength to push beyond our limits, and we are thrilled to have them on board In this next new chapter to continue the journey to build the ZAG dream!”
‘Oddbods’ goes global
Content creation, distribution and licensing studio One Animation has secured a raft of international deals with broadcasters in Europe, Latin America, and across Asia Pacific for the third season and specials of the pre-school comedy series Oddbods.
Canal+ Group-owned TeleTOON+ in France and TV3 Catalunya in Spain are onboard for season three as well as Turner Latin America. Mango TV in China has also taken up season three along with new short-form content.
One Animation’s agent for Asia (excluding China), Bomanbridge Media, has added new deals for the long-form series, as well as the seasonal specials, with kids’ broadcasters including Eastern Broadcasting’s YoYo in Taiwan, Mediacorp in Singapore, and RTV in Indonesia.
ABC in Australia has also acquired a second season of Oddbods short-form compilations, while AVOD platform Tubi is airing Oddbods short form and other One Animation content in the US, UK, Latin America and Australia. iQiYi Taiwan is taking Oddbods long-form seasons one and two, while Malaysia’s Astro network has acquired VOD rights for short-form Oddbodsseason one as well as One Animation’s Zee Force Five special.
Michele Schofield, SVP of content distribution at One Animation, commented: “Oddbods continues to be a highly sought-after property for both linear and on-demand platforms, with our specials providing fans a longer form treat for a seasonal highlight. We’re excited to welcome new broadcast partners and strengthen our ties with existing ones through this wave of deals.”