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Saban Brands to rebuild CW toon block

Time lease for five-hour span acquired in bankruptcy sale from 4Kids

The CW is turning over its Saturday-morning animation block for kids to Saban Brands, the network announced Thursday.

Pact comes days after the previous owner of the time lease to the five-hour block, 4Kids Entertainment, sold off assets in bankruptcy court to both Kidsco Media Ventures (a division of Saban) and Konami’s 4K Acquisition Corp. for $15 million. Kidsco won the rights to the CW block as part of the selloff.

The daypart will be rebranded and resupplied with new programming in the fall, though tentpole attractions “Power Rangers” and “Yu-Gi-Oh!” will stick around. A companion website will also be launched.

Saban will assume responsibility for selling ads in the block, a portion of which will go to CW in exchange for the airtime.

Financial terms nor the length of the deal were disclosed. The end of 4Kids’s current five-year pact with CW was scheduled to expire in October.

“The association with Saban and the programming and marketing they will bring to us will be a great asset for The CW and its affiliates on Saturday mornings,” said CW chief operating officer John Maatta.

In addition to oversight of the global phenomenon that is the “Rangers” franchise, which was bought from Disney in 2010, Saban has been in the Saturday-morning business before. In 1996, Haim Saban’s company merged with Fox Kids to program toons for kids on Fox for a few years.

Saban Brands is back in the kids’ television business in a big way,” said Elie Dekel, president of Saban Brands. “The broadcasting block represents a unique opportunity for us to be the premier destination for action/adventure and comedy on Saturday mornings, while delivering what kids want online and on mobile 24/7/365.”

4Kids launched a The CW4Kids brand on CW in 2008 before rebranding as Toonzai two years later.

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