Henson deal’s a hit for HIT

Pact includes fraggles but not 'Muppets'

LONDON — Preschool specialist HIT Entertainment has signed a five-year distribution pact with Jim Henson, increasing the prospects of its plan to launch a dedicated digital children’s channel in the U.S.

The 440-hour catalog includes prime kids fare such as “Fraggle Rock,” “The Hoobs” and the Emmy- winning “Jim Henson’s Mother Goose” stories.

Deal does not include “The Muppets” or “Bear in the Big Blue House,” recently acquired by Disney.

The kids’ specialist announced a co-production arrangement to kick off with a skein based on Russell Hoban’s Frances series of badger books.

HIT topper Peter Orton, who once led Henson’s sales division, said the deal brought together a formidable portfolio of preschool properties.

HIT insiders said a final decision on the launch of a preschool web in the U.S. will be made by fall. If the net is successful, an international rollout is likely to follow.

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