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Henson taps topper for toy unit

Segal to relaunch consumer products division

The Jim Henson Co. has added a key puppeteer to its ranks, tapping Melissa Segal to relaunch the company’s consumer products division.

Segal, who founded licensing and product development agency Brandolution, will serve as senior VP, global consumer products, a new post.

Brandolution, which Segal founded in 2006, has been handling certain elements of Henson’s consumer products efforts, namely for two of its newest series, the preschooler-targeting “Sid the Science Kid” and upcoming animated “Dinosaur Train,” both on PBS.

Company said its new slate of TV and film properties encouraged it to relaunch the inhouse arm. So did the fact that a longterm consumer products deal with HIT Entertainment, which involves most of its classic brands such as “Fraggle Rock” and “Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas,” ends in April.

Segal, who reports to Peter Schube, prexy and chief operating officer of the Jim Henson Co., will oversee new shows including “The Skrumps,” an animated series based on the collectible toy line; as well as the company’s “Labyrinth,” “The Dark Crystal” and “Farscape” fantasy brands; and classic properties. Rights to the Muppets are now owned by Disney.

She will manage deals for its movies, which include a feature-length “Fraggle Rock” pic, as well as redo of “Dark Crystal” and “Happytime Murders,” based on its more adult-themed “Puppet Up” stage show.

First products for “Sid” will come out later this year.

As part of Segal’s hire, Brandolution will be renamed Brandolution JHC and become a banner inside the Jim Henson Co. In addition to Henson’s properties, it will work with outside clients.

Before forming Brandolution in 2006, Segal spent eight years at Disney Consumer Products, working on “Winnie the Pooh,” “101 Dalmatians” and “Toy Story,” rising to the post of VP of the U.S. toy business.

She also served as senior VP for “Mommy and Me,” before it was bought by DIC Entertainment.

In 2003, she co-founded Evergreen Concepts, an indie licensing agency which repped Build-A-Bear Workshop, Alvin & the Chipmunks and Little Golden Books, among others. She sold the company to form Brandolution.

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