Children's TV series to become online game

The children’s TV series “Saddle Club,” which runs on some PBS stations and on Discovery Kids, is moving into the virtual world through Sun Microsystems’ online-game platform Project Darkstar.

GS New Media, which owns the Internet and mobile rights to “Saddle Club,” is hoping to tap into the success of online games including “Club Penguin” and virtual Barbie, which draw millions of users.

Crawford Prods. of Australia and Protocol Entertainment have produced 78 half-hour episodes of “Saddle Club,” based on the series of bestselling books by Bonnie Bryant about three young girls who ride horses at Pine Hollow Stables in Perth, Australia.

Investors ponied up more than $1 billion for virtual-world companies in 2007, noted Marty Keltz, one of the principals at GS New Media.

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