Sesame cooks up Cartoon Pizza pact

Six-project deal unprecedented for kids' programming

Sesame Workshop has signed a two year nonexclusive pact with kidvid production company Cartoon Pizza, creator of Nickelodeon’s “Doug” and Disney’s “PB&J Otter.”

Deal is the first of its kind for the nonprofit Sesame Workshop and calls for six new properties, both live-action and animated, across all media. Output will come from jointly developed new ideas as well as projects already on the org’s respective slates.

Cartoon Pizza also will relocate its offices to Sesame Workshop’s Upper West Side location in Manhattan to better partner with its creative development group, led by senior veep Nancy Steingard.

Cartoon Pizza, co-founded by Jim Jinkins, David Campbell and Bill Gross, launched earlier this year with the core group of staffers who worked on Nickelodeon’s “Doug.” Pact evolved out of a series of conversations with the Sesame Workshop creative team, and Cartoon Pizza hopes that it will serve as a springboard toward something bigger.

“It’s a unique kind of deal. Our hope is that as we get to know each other and really identify our needs, we can make it even more complete,” said Jinkins.

The team has already begun pitching projects and hopes to be in production by next year on at least one. “We hit the ground running,” said Campbell.

Sesame Workshop is best known for its PBS shows: “Sesame Street,” now in its 33rd season; animated hit “Dragon Tales”; and the newly launched “Sagwa, the Chinese Siamese Cat,” based on the Amy Tan children’s book of the same name. It also co-owns 24-hour educational channel Noggin with Nickelodeon.

“In the true spirit of the word ‘workshop,’ we are opening our doors to one of the most influential children’s production companies,” said Gary E. Knell, Sesame Workshop’s prexy and chair. “This is a win-win for all involved.”

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