Japan TV buys 1st Aussie series

Film Australia, the government-owned production house, has sold what’s thought to be the first Oz series to screen on a Japanese TV network.

After 15 months of negotiation with the Fujisankei Communications Group, its 26-episode kids series “Johnson & Friends” started airing on Fuji TV in early October.

FA has only just disclosed the deal after video, publishing and other ancillaries were finalized.

Deal also includes merchandising, with managing director Bruce Moir saying a major campaign featuring “Johnson’s” main characters is expected to be in place for Christmas. A similar campaign is under way in the U.K.

“Johnson” has already sold in 20 countries and last year was nominated for an International Emmy. In Japan it’s being used to help encourage speaking of foreign languages and is screening alternate mornings in English, French and Mandarin, instead of just subtitling or dubbing only in Japanese.

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