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TV+DVD: Kids’ shows create a year-round draw


Licensed merchandise for children gets a boost every year from a handful of feature films, or more than just a handful in the 2007 summer of sequels. But it’s TV shows and DVD releases that sustain interest in franchises year-around and there will be dozens of examples on display at the 2007 Licensing Show.

Disney is winding down its hit show “That’s So Raven,” but is still going strong with “Hannah Montana” and “The Cheetah Girls” and signing new licensees. “I think one theme you’ll see at this year’s Licensing Show, at least in our booths, will be the power that live-action TV show properties have with pre-teens and young children,” said Jim Fielding, senior vp of global retail sales for Disney Consumer Products.

Jakks Pacific will help build the merchandise lines for both “Cheetah Girls” and “Hannah Montana” with a new line of fashion dolls, play sets, electronic games, dance mats and musical instruments designed for tween girls.

The star of “Hannah Montana,” Miley Cyrus, will also be at the Licensing Show on June 19 to help announce new extensions to the Hannah Montana brand including new apparel and youth electronics. And some of that apparel and accessories will be showcased during a performance at the show.

American Greetings Properties and DIC Entertainment are teaming up to launch three new TV shows on the CBS Saturday morning block that appeal to kids ages 4 to 11.They’ll include an animated series with old favorites the “Care Bears” and “Strawberry Shortcake” and a new series called “Sushi Pack” about the exploits of five crime-fighting pieces of sushi that protect the town of Wharf City from a group of villains.

“We’re excited about bringing the new look of ‘Care Bears’ to another generation of kids as well as introducing the brand new ‘Sushi Pack’ and our timeless ‘Strawberry Shortcake’ through this new programming,” said Jeffrey Conrad, senior vp of creative for American Greetings Properties.

All three shows are due to debut in September and will provide the foundation for new licensing programs. American Greetings Properties is building a program around “Sushi Pack” that appeals to boys ages 4 to 6 and girls ages 4 to 8 that will include toys, apparel, accessories and home entertainment.

Universal Studios Consumer Products is continuing to sign new licensees for its Cartoon Network show “The Land Before Time.” Playmates, Toy Things and Pressman are launching lines of toys this fall for the TV series, which is based on the best-selling DVD line, and Harper Collins is slated to release a series of books.

Fisher-Price is taking a new merchandising angle on its “Little People” DVD series by teaming with Somerset Entertainment, a leading producer of specialty music sold using interactive kiosks at retail outlets.

And Out of the Blue Enterprises will be looking for licensees for its new show “Super Why,” an interactive fairy tale adventure designed to boost literary skills that’s set to debut on PBS Kids this fall. Out of the Blue is also slated produce new “Blue’s Clues” TV specials for Nickelodeon later this year.

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