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Tribune, Classic in cartoon venture

Properties include Dick Tracy, Brenda Starr, Broom Hilda

Tribune Media Services has entered into a co-venture with New York-based entertainment company Classic Media that will allow Classic to manage worldwide licensing, marketing, homevideo and production rights for a select group of properties from Tribune’s library, including Dick Tracy, Brenda Starr, Gasoline Alley and Broom Hilda.

Classic, with a successful track record “reviving classic properties,” will develop new merchandise for all properties and animated series for some of the titles, according to Tribune Media Services VP of marketing and licensing Steve Tippie.

One of Classic’s first major projects for TMS will be development of a licensing and merchandising plan to celebrate Dick Tracy’s 75th anni in October 2006. A collector’s edition DVD of episodes from the animated series will be among the products rolled out.

“Dick Tracy” cartoons, created by 1950s animation house UPA Prods., were already part of the Classic library, but Tribune owns the copyright and Classic did not have the right to create new projects.

The partnership will not impact the live-action rights to Tracy, which were complicated last month when Warren Beatty sued Tribune for rights to the character and plans were announced for a live-action TV skein developed by Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Outlaw Prods.

Classic owns and manages some 3,000 family properties such as Lassie, Casper the Friendly Ghost, the Lone Ranger and Rocky and Bullwinkle. It is the third-largest comicbook rights holder after Marvel and DC.

Classic is developing a live action/CGI feature adaptation of “Underdog” with Spyglass Entertainment and a live-action “The Lone Ranger” with Columbia Pictures, and it is shooting “Lassie” in Ireland.

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