Bohbot Kids Network is in talks with animation veteran Rick Ungar about taking over as president and CEO of the kids syndication arm of Bohbot Entertainment Inc., sources said.
Ungar previously was president of firstrun and animated programming at New World Entertainment, and he still is under contract with Fox, which purchased New World in January. Bohbot and Ungar would not comment on talks, but sources say Ungar may also be interested in signing a new feature animation deal at Fox.
Although company CEO Allen Bohbot would not confirm that Ungar is the man he’s courting, he said Kids Network will have a president and CEO in place by early summer. Ungar is a well-known executive in animation; he created “Biker Mice From Mars!” and has worked as president and CEO of Marvel Prods. Ungar also was involved in the launch of the Fox Kids Network hit “X-Men.”
New DIC deal
Separately, Bohbot has just inked a new output deal with DIC Entertainment, which will provide five series to Kids Network over the next three years. Right now, the service has 12 hours of programming a week, including two hours of strips and two weekend hours, which have cleared an average of 104 stations reaching 75% of the country, according to Bohbot.
About 65 of the client stations are airing all the Bohbot shows in pattern, while 34 stations have signed three-year deals. Nine of the top 10 markets have been cleared for fall, including WWOR New York, KCOP Los Angeles and WCIU Chicago.
Bohbot Kids Network consists of an “Extreme Block,” which runs 7-8 a.m. weekdays, the “Comedy Block,” which runs 8-9 a.m. and is led by “The Mask,” and “Kids Toons” and “Amazin’ Adventures” for weekends. “Sonic the Hedgehog” currently airs as part of the “Comedy Block,” but Kids Network is developing a show to replace it in April 1998.
Bohbot said the company is even courting rival syndicators to take their shows onto the service, if they are good shows but can’t get them cleared. Kids syndication has been a shrinking business the past few years, as UPN and the WB netlets expand their kids lineups. “We can pay the equivalent of Fox and WB license fees,” Bohbot said of his efforts to compete in the new environment.