Variety, the paper of record for international showbiz, now has an offspring. Just as Variety covers entertainment around the world, from film and television to music to technology to legit, Variety Junior will cover these areas for the global children’s market.Children’s entertainment is bigger business than ever before, and the demand for children’s programming is increasing daily. According to the recent statistics, U.S. children control about $47 billion of spending money a year. Some countries have at least half a dozen kids cable channels duking it out; although in the U.S. only Discovery Kids and the Children’s Cable Network have had the moxie to take on the powerful Disney Channel, Nickelodeon, and Cartoon Network. Of course, not all of the programming filling these channels is Emmy quality and Variety Junior will try to not only report the business news, but also to highlight those who aim to add to the creative canon pioneered by children’s entertainment from “The Wizard of Oz” to Kermit the Frog. In this first issue, for example, we look at how Disney is adapting renowned illustrator William Joyce’s “Rolie Polie Olie” for television, the resourceful way Cinar has taken the character Arthur from books and given it a personality that adds to the original material and Humungous Entertainment’s challenge of inventing its own multimedia characters, and its impressive success as one of the few software creators to sell a concept to television. Variety Junior will spotlight the creators and the youngsters in the business, go behind the scenes to investigate technical innovations affecting kids programming, analyze the successful players, and look at the world view behind this fast moving field. It’s a fast-growing business, and Variety Junior plans to keep its coverage as lively and energetic as the kids at the center of it all.
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