‘Oogieloves’ opens new production company

Kenn Viselman, who brought the Teletubbies and Thomas the Tank Engine to the Americas, has formed an eponymous film/TV production company — Kenn Viselman Presents — aimed at tapping into the family audience.

“The funny thing is that I had no plans to retire and even fewer plans to come back to work,” Viselman said. “Telling stories is in my blood, and while I was truly enjoying time traveling with family and friends, there was something nagging at me. The entertainment industry as a whole seems to be abandoning our youngest children and wholesome family entertainment entirely.”

Viselman came to prominence in the 1990s by making the Teletubbies and Thomas ubiquitous through the Itsy Bitsy Entertainment Co. by licensing millions of dollars worth of spinoff toys, videos and books. He has kept a relatively low profile since being ousted as head of Itsy Bitsy in 2001.

Viselman has developed a slate of a dozen pics. Principal photography was recently completed on the banner’s first feature, “The Oogieloves in the Big Balloon Adventure,” starring Cloris Leachman, Chazz Palminteri, Jaime Pressly, Toni Braxton, Cary Elwes and Christopher Lloyd.

Viselman plans on releasing the $12 million film in November on more than 3,000 screens. Other projects in development included “Sleeping Rudy,” “Step Off,” and the second installment of “The Oogieloves” and an untitled coming-of-age comedy — with the latter two going into pre-production early next year.

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