Babar, The Berenstain Bears, Braceface, Franklin the Turtle, George Shrinks, Maurice Sendak’s Little Bear and Maggie and the Ferocious Beast Come Together at the Largest Toy Trade Show

Building on a history of strong brands Corus Entertainment’s Nelvana toy licensees will have an opportunity to showcase the company’s hottest brands at Toy Fair 2003.

Reaching toddlers to tweens, Nelvana’s unprecedented lineup for 2003 includes The Berenstain Bears®, Maurice Sendak’s Little Bear (TM), Franklin (TM), George Shrinks (TM) and Maggie and the Ferocious Beast (TM) for kids and preschool kids along with Braceface (TM) for tweens.

“We’ve built and extended licensee opportunities around the world by translating the very foundation that make these brands a success and identifying and embracing the cultural distinctions,” says Tracy Ewing, Vice President Marketing. “With characters that speak any language, Nelvana offers integrated marketing platforms and a licensing program with all the elements for success.”

To further strengthen its commitment to these global brands, Nelvana’s new energized marketing management team will oversee the company’s marketing direction to ensure all products, advertising, programming and messages are dynamic, consistent and appropriate for the intended audiences. Nelvana licensees are offered unrivaled exposure through television programming based on the brands, mass consumer awareness, market segmentation, and consistent well-honed positioning. Building upon this success, the marketing division has fostered a wide variety of retail relationships and partnerships to gain distribution and promotion for its key character brands that both engage audiences and drive loyalty.

THE BERENSTAIN BEARS
In 1962, Stan and Jan Berenstain released their first book about the family of bears and have since sold over 260 million copies from the series. The Berenstain Bears have found a home on Publishers Weekly’s top 250 titles of all time with 35 of the titles on the list and 15 among the top 100 best-selling children’s paperbacks. Bringing timeless life lessons and furry family values to a new generation, Nelvana has produced a new country-cozy animated television series. Set in the rolling hills of Bear Country, it stars the fun-loving family of bears whose love, loyalty and humor allow them to overcome any obstacle that finds its way down their sunny dirt road. The book-based series launched on Canada’s YTV in September 2002 and will be coming to PBS KIDS in January 2003. With The Berenstain Bears now poised to reach an even wider audience, Nelvana is seeking licensing partners for all categories on behalf of this charming and world-renowned brand. Already onboard this special preschool brand is Children’s Apparel Network as master apparel licensee, Wormser for sleepwear and Fisher Price for Viewmaster and Power Touch toys.

BABAR
Marked by the 70th anniversary earlier this year of this global giant, Babar, the world’s most beloved elephant, continues to rule the licensing world with an extensive international program. Jean and Laurent de Brunhoff’s heartwarming tales of Babar and his family have charmed generations of children. The television series is seen in over 150 countries and airs regularly on HBO and HBO Family in the U.S., NHK in Japan and FR3 in France. The Babar merchandising program continues to be jointly licensed worldwide by Nelvana and The Clifford Ross Company. Due to the huge success of the Lansay plush, Babar plane, Babar bus and plastic toy lines, Lansay has come on board as the master licensee for Babar with numerous retail and national promotions planned in France. Abrams will be launching new books along with a specialty plush line from Crocodile Creek in the U.S.

MAGGIE AND THE FEROCIOUS BEAST
A ravenous favorite with preschoolers, the Maggie and the Ferocious Beast series plays weekdays on Nick Jr. in the U.S., and consistently ranks among the top shows for kids 2-5 since its summer 2000 debut on the premium specialty service. Nelvana’s licensees will continue to introduce new products that let kids expand their imaginations, focusing on lead character Maggie, sidekick Hamilton Hocks, and especially the cuddly Ferocious Beast, whose good-natured personality and bright red spots have provided licensees with “ferocious” inspiration for product development. Master toy licensee for Canada, Danawares recently launched a line of plush and pillows.

GEORGE SHRINKS
Created by the best-selling children’s book author, William Joyce, George Shrinks first debuted in print in 1985 and has sold approximately one million copies in 10 languages. The most highly watched show for kids 2-5 on PBS weekends, George Shrinks, the little guy who celebrates the power of being small, is an ingenious role model who demonstrates a “no-fail” attitude and encourages kids to try and meet new and continuous challenges. George inspires kids to expand their boundaries and overcome obstacles using creative thinking and problem solving, opening the door to giant licensing opportunities.

BRACEFACE An original animated daytime series airing on ABC Family starring Alicia Silverstone (Clueless) as the lead voice of Sharon Spitz, Braceface chronicles the perils of adolescence as the savvy and admired teen negotiates her way through school. Faced with the usual challenges that accompany high school, Sharon also finds herself dealing with mysterious mishaps caused by her braces, which turn out to be a catalyst for things much more perplexing than teenage anxiety. The series, produced by Nelvana, was awarded the Environmental Media Award for “Best Children’s Animated Program,” and was nominated for an Emmy earlier this year. With a tremendous appeal to the tween audience, Nelvana is looking for licensees in apparel, stationery, accessories, publishing, music and promotion partners. Saban Consumer products is responsible for licensing the Braceface brand in Europe.

Sid Kaufman, Nelvana’s Executive Vice President of Worldwide Licensing and Merchandising says: “Quality licensed product, sold with substantial promotion and retail support, gives Nelvana’s licensees the opportunity to meet the market’s utmost potential. A full-service operation staffed with committed licensing executives delivers opportunities to successfully reach the market everyday, cementing Nelvana’s position as a major player in global licensing.”

MAURICE SENDAK’S LITTLE BEAR
Nelvana also returns to Toy Fair with Little Bear, taking preschoolers on a playful journey through nature and the outdoors. In the world of children’s books, Little Bear has been entertaining children for over 40 years with his enchanting adventures. Illustrated by Maurice Sendak and written by Else Holmelund Minarik, the original five-book series has sold over four million copies worldwide. The Little Bear animated series airs in the U.S. five times per week on Nick Jr. where it is one of the network’s highest-rated shows among kids 2-5. Licensed products reflecting the natural, wholesome qualities of the brand have spread across North America and Germany. After a $3.6 million sales success since the launch of its Little Bear Orajel, Del Pharmaceutical is now expanding by rolling out a Little Bear Orajel & Little Bear plush on-pack in February 2003. Master toy licensing rights have been picked up by Toy Island which will be launching a full Little Bear line of products at Toy Fair 2003. There are also new titles from Harper Collins slated for 2003.

FRANKLIN
Franklin
is the fastest growing brand in France with ratings success continuing on TF1. Over 43 million Franklin books have been sold worldwide to date. Kids identify strongly with Franklin, the turtle who really knows what it’s like to be a kid. Nelvana’s Franklin licensing opportunities are supported by extensive consumer marketing programs, promotions with broadcasters, tie-ins with home videos and live entertainment. Hasbro is the master toy licensee in Italy, Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Jemini, having huge success with its full plush line, is now developing foam Franklin furniture complete with chair and sofa. Hachette has had phenomenal success with Franklin books this year with close to one million copies sold. Toys “R” Us France held successful promotions and plan more for 2003. Some exciting U.S. activity for Franklin include: a new line of Scholastic specialty plush, a DTV special called “Franklin’s Back To School” launching fall 2003 and a Fisher-Price Power Touch electronic learning aid. RoseArt is rolling out some Franklin arts and crafts with Warren Industries for puzzles.

ABOUT CORUS ENTERTAINMENT’S NELVANA
Nelvana Limited is one of the world’s leading international producers and distributors of children’s programming and products. Nelvana is owned by Corus Entertainment, a Canadian-based media and entertainment company. Corus is a market leader in both specialty TV and Radio. The company’s other interests include music, television broadcasting and advertising services. A publicly traded company, Corus is listed on the Toronto (CJR.B) and New York (CJR) Exchanges. Corus’ Web site can be found at www.corusentertainment.com.

Note to Editors: Color art available upon request or at www.nelvana.com/publicity

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CONTACT:
Kerry Morgan
(416) 530-2221 
kmorgan@corusent.com 

Lowell Hall
(416) 530-2247
lhall@corusent.com


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