Lancit inks Humongous prod’n pact

Kidvid programmer Lancit Media Entertainment has entered into a production alliance with children’s soft-ware powerhouse Humongous Entertainment to create television, motion picture and homevid content based on Humongous’ original characters.

Humongous characters became popular with young CD-ROM users. Software reviewers, too, have praised the company’s titles, which include “Pajama Sam in: No Need to Hide When It’s Dark Outside” and “Freddi Fish 2: The Case of the Haunted Schoolhouse.”

Humongous is a subsidiary of GT Interactive Software, which is traded publicly on the NASDAQ exchange. Lancit also is traded on NASDAQ. Last September, Discovery Communications made a $5 million investment in Lancit, acquiring about 438,000 newly issued shares.

According to Ralph Giuffre, Humongous exec VP of marketing, “We’ll both come up with financing for projects. We’ll either finance them ourselves or get financing from a variety of sources. We’ll share in revenues based on participation at the front end.”

Giuffre said the exclusive agreement extends over a period of several years, “with clauses built in for performance.”

Both Giuffre and Noel Resnick, Lancit’s senior VP for development, emphasized that the two companies have identical views on usage of the Humongous characters.

“We’re hoping to launch properties by the fall of ’98,” Resnick said. “We’re interested in maintaining the quality of the characters, instead of rushing things.”

In the next month or so, Resnick said, Lancit expects to announce its upcoming slate of feature film and TV proj-ects. The company’s current on-air productions are “Puzzle Place” and “Reading Rainbow” for PBS. It also has a series in development at the Disney Channel.

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