DHX & Mattel Ink Deals for Trio of Properties


HALIFAX: DHX Media and Mattel Creations have signed various agreements for Fireman Sam and Bob the Builder specials and series, as well as for the preschool show Little People.

Fireman Sam: Alien Alert, a special produced by Mattel Creations and distributed by DHX, is headed to Pathé Live, which will debut it theatrically in France in February 2017. The special will also be released by Universal on home video in France. Cartoonito in Italy picked up Fireman Sam: Alien Alert for TV, and justbridge is on board for a theatrical and home-entertainment launch in Germany, with the special slated to hit theaters in January 2017.

DHX Media and Mattel Creations also announced they will co-produce an additional 13×10-minute episodes of the Fireman Sam series, bringing the number of seasons available to 11, as well as a brand-new special for 2018. The show’s tenth season has been licensed by Clan TV in Spain and France 5.

Actor David Tennant, who will voice villain Buck Douglas in the special, added: “Fireman Sam is a true institution of children’s television so naturally it was a joy to be asked to guest-voice the character of Buck Douglas in the new special, Fireman Sam: Alien Alert. I had a lot of fun in the studio bringing Buck’s character to life and I’m certain he’ll be a big hit with audiences when he appears on screens throughout the world in the movie. He’s slick and smug, but his adventurous and gregarious persona, as well as his UFO investigative adventures, makes the kids—and quite a few of the grown-ups—want to be just like him!”

Josh Scherba, the senior VP of distribution at DHX Media, said: “Fireman Sam: Alien Alert is a dynamic addition to the Fireman Sam franchise extending the much-loved elements into an hour-long adventure that features even more heroism, loyalty and teamwork—not to mention the considerable voice talents of David Tennant. Fans in these markets are in for a real treat. The brand is going from strength to strength as shown in the demand for more content. We are excited to see Sam and his co-workers tackling new Pontypandy dramas in 11 brand-new episodes.”

Christopher Keenan, the senior VP of global content and executive producer at Mattel Creations, noted: “Alien Alert is an action-packed Fireman Sam adventure for preschoolers, and we’re delighted to have the talented David Tennant on board as the voice of Buck. The special stays true to core Fireman Sam values—bravery, loyalty, heroism, community and teamwork—but takes us to new levels of excitement with a sci-fi slant that includes new characters, rescue vehicles, locations and plot twists. This movie and new production for [season] 11 cements the incredible moment the Fireman Sam franchise is having in Europe and beyond.”

DHX Media and Mattel Creations have also inked broadcast and theatrical licenses in France for the feature-length special Bob the Builder: Mega Machines—The Movie with France Télévisions and Pathe Live, respectively, as well as a theatrical agreement with X-Verleih Theatrical in Germany. Pathe Live’s world premiere of the movie will take place on April 29, 2017. In a separate deal, DHX Media and Mattel Creations will co-produce an additional 52×11-minute episodes of the hit Bob the Builder series.

Scherba commented: “The enduring popularity of Bob the Builder shows no signs of slowing down with new generations of kids enthusiastic as ever for the stories of Bob and his crew. The addition of a feature-length special Bob the Builder: Mega Machines—The Movie as well brand-new episodes adding to the brand’s content offering are testament to its enduring appeal.”

Keenan stated: “Bob the Builder continues to build momentum across many new markets and, as our stories get bigger, so too does our global reach. Bob the Builder: Mega Machines is a testament to this; the film tells the story of Bob’s biggest build yet and introduces three new ‘mega’ characters who help reinforce the show’s themes of teamwork, perseverance and optimism—with plenty of comedy, construction and conflict-resolution along the way. We are also delighted to be greenlighting new episodes with our partners DHX and growing the franchise even further.”

Actor Brian Cox, who will voice the villain Conrad in the new movie, added: “Both generations of my kids watched Bob the Builder because he’s been around for a very long time. I think the thing about Bob is it’s a very simple concept and it’s not too complicated for children. They link on to it because of the trucks, because of all of the accoutrement that goes with Bob. It’s his simplicity that’s really at the heart of it and that’s what makes it last, and has made it last through generation to generation. I am delighted to be part of this new movie!”

In other news, DHX Media and Mattel Creations have greenlit a 52×11-minute second season of the preschool series Little People, based on the iconic Fisher-Price brand. In addition, DHX Media licensed the first season to Lagardère in France for its Gulli & TiJi channels; Hop! Media Group in Israel; and De Agostini Editore in Italy for its preschool satellite channel DeAJunior.

Scherba remarked: “The original brand has proven success with the preschool demographic and the television show continues the solid themes and style that Little People is best-known for. It’s an uplifting preschool series that builds skills of imagination and problem-solving through discovery and group play and we are very pleased by the response from broadcasters globally and the significant demand for additional episodes.”

Keenan added: “Little People has been a joy to produce and we’re thrilled with the reaction from broadcasters and fans around the world. Season two will follow the same great format—discovery and imaginative adventures rooted in an EQ (Emotional Intelligence) message, focusing on topics like nurturing, caring, sharing, concern for others, patience—all complimented with humor and music sure to delight parents and preschoolers alike.”