2007 Hot Property

Principal: Elie Dekel, exec VP, 20th Century Fox Licensing & Merchandising

Licensees include: BioWorld, Briefly Stated, Hasbro Games, McFarlane Toys, TGA Unlimited and many others

The story: Featuring arguably the most popular sitcom family in history, “The Simpsons” revolutionized not only the TV industry but also the TV licensing biz, with a wealth of quirky characters that have translated into a multibillion-dollar merchandising franchise.

To date, Bart, Homer, Marge, Lisa, Maggie and their Springfield neighbors have appeared on everything from T’s to pinball machines, raking in more than $5 billion worldwide. All told, the program involves more than 600 licensees.

Over the spring, the evergreen franchise got a licensing push with the airing of the 400th episode of the toon series in May; this summer, it’ll get a major shove with the bow of “The Simpsons Movie” in July.

According to Dekel, Fox will continue to “support established partners and look for other select opportunities” — one of which is the Simpsons Ride, set to be added to the Universal Studios Orlando and Universal Studios Hollywood rosters in spring 2008.

POV: “The film is a celebration of the show itself, and while we are doing a certain amount of flick-specific product, the focus of our merchandising program will remain on the core TV show,” Dekel says.

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