ANNECY — Japan’s TV Tokyo has boarded animated TV series “Calimero” in partnership with Japanese publishing house Kodansha. The move adds another element to the international roll-out of  the highest-profile project at France’s Gaumont Animation, one of Europe’s biggest producers-distributors of children’s entertainment.

TV Tokyo joins Italy’s Studio Campedelli and right-holder Calidra as producers on the 104-seg toon skein, which will air in 2014.

As one of Tokyo’s biggest TV nets, with a strong line in animation, TV Tokyo’s boarding “Calimero” vindicates the decision of Gaumont Animation, formerly Alphanim, to center one of its flagship series on a brand, here a young naïf black chicken, who still wears half his shell on his head.

“Calimero” is already popular in Japan, where both its NET network and TV Tokyo itself have broadcast versions of the series, TV Tokyo’s running from 1992 to 1993, produced by Telescreen.

Created in 1963 by Nino and Toni Pagot, and Ignazio Colnaghi, “Calimero” has already run to 290 episodes. Series has been broadcast in 80 countries.

Gaumont Animation celebrated “Calimero’s” 50th anniversary at Annecy on Wednesday, staging a sneak preview of the first episode of the new and totally original CGI series.

Broadcasters already on board for “Calimero” include France TF1, Italy’s RAI Fiction, Disney Junior for its channels in Europe, Middle East and Africa, Tele Quebec and Switzerland’s TSR.