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Nickelodeon toys with ‘Monsuno’ toon

Picks up worldwide broadcast rights to animated kids property

Nickelodeon has picked up the worldwide broadcast rights to “Monsuno,” an original animated kids property from toymaker JAKKS Pacific, Japanese entertainment conglom Dentsu Entertainment USA and FremantleMedia Enterprises.

Net will start airing the first of the 52 half-hour episodes in spring 2012.

JAKKS Pacific is treating the property as an inhouse entertainment franchise it can launch across various platforms to promote the toy line, similar to how Hasbro has recently grown “Transformers” or Saban is rebooting “Power Rangers.”

Company has been eager to launch its own brands after have having manufactured licensed toys such as action figures for WWE’s wrestlers in the past. It has acquired 17 companies in the last 16 years, including “Creepy Crawlers,” as part of that effort.

“We would be paying a tremendous amount in royalties just for the rights to make the toys,” said Stephen Berman, president and CEO of JAKKS Pacific, if the company didn’t own “Monsuno.” “But this is our own content.”

“Monsuno” is an action adventure, targeting boys 6-11, in which kids have the power to command and battle creatures with amazing destructive potential.

“The show’s action-adventure elements are an especially great fit for Nicktoons in the U.S. where the viewership skews towards boys,” said Keith Dawkins, senior VP, general manager, Nicktoons and TeenNick.

Nickelodeon will first launch “Monsuno” in the U.S. on Nicktoons before expanding it in Europe, Eastern Europe, Australia, New Zealand, India, Southeast Asia, Russia and Africa. Toys will hit store shelves around the series, with licensed merchandise like videogames, apparel and other products to follow in the fall. FME handles distribution of “Monsuno” in all worldwide territories except for Asia and acts as the master licensing agent. Dentsu controls the distribution and licensing for the brand in Asia.

“Monsuno” is co-produced by Pacific Animation Partners, a joint venture between JAKKS Pacific, Dentsu Entertainment USA (whose Tokyo-based animation subsid Dentsu Tec oversees the toon work), FME and the Topps Co.

JAKKS Pacific will produce action figures, gadgets and collectibles around the show, while Topps will create trading card games, confectioneries and related products.

“Monsuno” became the first title from FremantleMedia’s new children and family division to help grow it beyond reality and gameshow fare like “American Idol.”

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