Planeta, EM.TV toon up

Four of nine series already have deals

MADRID – In its biggest production move to date, Spain’s Planeta 2010 is in advanced talks on an animation co-production pact with Germany’s EM.TV.

The talks turn on nine cartoon series; accords on four are already inked.

Series under negotiations include 13 new episodes of the PBS-broadcast “Dragon Tales,” co-produced with Children’s TV Workshop and Columbia TriStar TV Group.

Last April, Planeta 2010 and EM.TV announced Planeta Junior, a 50-50 joint venture to distribute EM.TV’s 30,000 half-hour Junior catalog of children’s programming in Spain and Portugal.

Pinned down at this year’s National Assn. of Television Program Executives, new deal will make Plan2eta 2010 one of EM.TV’s most significant production partners.

Planeta 2010 is the film and TV arm of Spanish publisher Planeta, which will bring tech talent to each series and take Spanish and Portuguese rights. EM.TV’s investment will be made through its parent company or international subsids such as Dutch EM.TV & Wavery B.V. or the Sydney-based Yoram Gross-EM.TV.

Series already inked are:

  • “Mr. Baby,” a 26-part kids-skewed comedy;

  • 13 more episodes of “Pigs Next Door,” co-produced with Fox Kids Intl. in association with Ireland’s Magma Films;

  • “The World of Tosh” based on a Swedish story; and

  • “Nick and Perry,” teaming with Germany’s WDR and France’s Ellipse Animation and M6.

Planeta 2010 has steadily upped its presence in TV and pic production and distribution. It picked up 25 films at last month’s American Film Market.

Pics in the acquisition slate targeted for theatrical release via UIP in Spain include:

  • Three from Overseas Filmgroup — “Quicksand,” with Michael Keaton and Michael Caine; the Steven Segal starrer “Overkillers”; and Chuck Parello’s new horror pic, “Bundy”;

  • “My First Mister” from Global; and

  • “Lantana,” toplining Geoffrey Rush, from Beyond Films.

EM.TV is not Planeta 2010’s only international cartoon partner. Planeta has also boarded two animation series from Germany’s Kirch Group, each to spawn feature-film spinoffs: “Momo” and “The New Adventures of Heidi.”

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