Indie replaces Nick kids block at CBS
CBS and DIC Entertainment are partnering on a Saturday morning kids block, “CBS’s Secret Saturday Morning Slumber Party,” for the fall. The deal exemplifies the split between just-separated Viacom and CBS.The CBS hookup with DIC means the current kids programming block on the Eye, “Nick Jr. on CBS,” will go away come fall — an interesting development in its own right, since up until three weeks ago Nick and the Eye were siblings within the single Viacom fold. Now they’re units of two separately quoted congloms, and the same family values are no longer shared. The new five-year arrangement is a coup for DIC (an indie briefly owned by Disney/ABC) since Nick programming (sibling or not) is nothing to sniff at. Deal was unveiled Thursday by Nancy Tellem, prexy of the CBS Paramount Network Television Entertainment Group, and Andy Heyward, chairman-CEO of kids producer DIC Entertainment. Although financial terms were not disclosed, hookup supposedly diverges from the typical time-buy for network kids blocks. It does, however, allow DIC to sell the national ad time in the block. DIC’s Heyward told Daily Variety the Eye deal repped “the largest, most important deal in the history of his company” and had come together after an initial meeting with CBS topper Leslie Moonves at the Mipcom trade show in Cannes in October. He also stressed that the deal went beyond merely a programming block to involve other joint initiatives by the partners, especially in new media. (DIC owns a trio of online communities popular with pre-teen girls.) As part of the programming agreement with DIC, the block will feature three hours of FCC-compliant kids shows and serve as a platform to introduce new shows created by DIC. In addition, it will run series from DIC’s library of animated product, including “Madeline,” “Where On Earth Is Carmen Sandiego,” “Strawberry Shortcake” and “Trollz.” “DIC is a leader in children’s entertainment with a deep library of kids programming and a successful track record for launching and running an educational-informative block in the U.S.,” Tellem said. DIC and CBS execs will collaborate with the DIC Educational Advisory Board, a group comprised of media experts, educators and pediatricians, created to provide information and advice to creative professionals in the development of programs for children. DIC, whose library consists of 2,800 half-hours, is headquartered in Burbank, with overseas offices in Paris, London and Cologne, Germany. Company recently listed on London’s AIM stock exchange.