Fisher-Price and HIT Entertainment to turn

Fisher-Price plans to turn its Little People line of toys into an animated TV series that will debut in 2015.

The company has turned to children’s television producer HIT Entertainment to begin pre-production on a CG-animated series Fisher-Price will introduce at this week’s Licensing Expo in Las Vegas, that kicks off Tuesday.

The production is the first collaboration between HIT and Fisher-Price to develop a Fisher-Price franchise since HIT was acquired by Mattel in 2012.

A 55-year-old brand, Little People is still going strong. It was the No. 1 play set among pre-schoolers over the past two years. New brand extensions like a TV show or web series are seen as ways to grow the popularity of the line with kids while introducing it to new ones.

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“Children have grown up with and loved the Little People brand for generations,” said Geoff Walker, executive VP, Fisher-Price global brands team and HIT Entertainment. “Today’s preschoolers connect to brands through powerful and engaging storytelling. Green lighting the first production of Little People series means we will bring the brand to life for this new generation. We’re committed to growing the Little People brand into a true entertainment franchise by leveraging the development and production expertise of HIT Entertainment.”

HIT’s series will promote the power of discovery to inspire imagination, creativity and thinking skills, the company said.

Built on the “connecting little ones to the big world,” the Little People play sets include environments like the farm, zoo, town, school and airports.

“The Little People brand has been close to the hearts of girls and boys, aged 1-5, around the globe for over five decades, and we look forward to bringing these characters to life and to the screens of viewers globally,” said Michael Carrington, VP Global Content & Executive Producer at HIT Entertainment Keeping true to the Little People brand essence, the content will be fun and engaging; inspiring children to build connections with the world around them to stimulate their imaginations.”

HIT also manages the Thomas & Friends, Mike the Knight, Fireman Sam, Bob the Builder, Barney, Angelina Ballerina, Pingu and Rainbow Magic brands, popular among the pre-school set, marrying various forms of storytelling formats, including TV shows, with playthings.

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