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‘Batman’ gets 3-yr pact

Fox Children’s Network and Warner Bros. Animation have agreed to a three-year extension on “Batman: The Animated Series” that will keep the children’s hit airing on Fox through the 1996-97 season.

Under the agreement, Warner Bros. has agreed to produce a minimum of 20 new episodes of the show, representing what the studio called “a multimillion-dollar commitment.” The show is said to cost more than $ 400,000 per segment to produce.

“Batman” is the top-rated weekday animated series and has turned into a cottage industry for Warner Bros., which recently announced plans for an animated feature film based on the show to be released in December.

Gifts galore

In a separate announcement, Applause Inc. said Monday that a full line of “Batman” gift products will begin shipping this month — including action figures, mugs and bookmarks — via a licensing agreement with Warner Bros.

The show has enjoyed particular popularity with teens as well as older kids, and recently garnered Fox a Daytime Emmy for writing in a children’s series.

Fox ordered 65 episodes when the series premiered last September, the standard amount for a Monday-through-Friday strip.

The agreement fortifies the relationship between Fox and Warner Bros., which will provide four of FCN’s six animated strips next fall (“Batman,””Merrie Melodies,””Tiny Toon Adventures” and Steven Spielberg’s new “Animaniacs”) as well as the Saturday-morning series “Taz-Mania.”

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