U takes worldwide rights to French special
International brand manager PGS Entertainment has inked a deal with Universal Pictures Video for worldwide distribution of “The Jungle Bunch,” a one-hour, CGI 3D toon special produced by Gaul’s TAT.UPV also picked up “The Jungle Report,” comprising 26 1 1/2-minute episodes, for distribution in the U.S., Canada, U.K., Germany, Italy, Benelux and Australia. Deal was announced at Mip Junior, the two-day kids’ programming mart, which wrapped Sunday in Cannes. “The Jungle Bunch” was presented by Philippe Soutter, co-founder of Paris-based PGS Entertainment as a promising TV property during the Licensing Challenge. A family laffer, “The Jungle Bunch” turns on a band of jungle animals and an eccentric penguin embarking on an eventful trip to the Antarctic ice flow. Commissioned by French pubcaster France Televisions, both formats were pre-bought by Disney Japan, Discovery Channel Latin America, Italy’s RAI, Denmark’s DR, Belgium’s RTBF and Switzerland’s TSR. “The Jungle Bunch” and “The Jungle Report” were penned and directed by TAT founders David Alaux, Eric Tosti and Jean-Francois Tosti. TAT is also developing a spinoff half-hour TV series for France Televisions. Soutter, who described the show as a “‘Madagascar’ meets ‘The A-Team,’” said the one-hour special will be a great point of entry to expand the brand, while the shorts will help create global awareness. Julien Borde, head of children and youth programs at France Televisions, said developing various formats on “The Jungle Report” allowed the pubcaster to “limit risks by investing more time on developing the program, and the brand, before committing to a half-hour series, which involves high production costs.” “Jungle Report” is co-produced by Vanilla Seed and Master Films.