Los Angeles, CA (August 29, 2009) — The Jim Henson Company will be back directly distributing its world-renowned Family Classics and Fantasy library titles to the international marketplace at MIPCOM 2009 now that the agency agreements with HIT Entertainment and Warner Brothers have expired. The announcement was made today by Peter Schube, President and COO, The Jim Henson Company.
“The MIPCOM market this year is a great opportunity to once again share our portfolio of family classics and fantasy brands. Together with our new properties, we look forward to working with our partners across all broadcast and digital platforms to deliver this incredible slate of new and classic Jim Henson Company branded programming to viewers across the globe,” commented Schube.
The sales effort at MIPCOM Jr. and MIPCOM will be spearheaded by Sam Ewing, Head of International Sales, who said, “With broadcasters continuing to seek out top quality, evergreen programming with brand appeal, MIPCOM this year provides the perfect platform to share this library of classic properties which have enormous worldwide recognition.” Ewing added, ”We’ll be actively working on our own as well as with our agents in specific territories to expand the reach and impact of our efforts. As a group we’ll be working very hard to ensure that we and our broadcast partners achieve maximum results.”
The Jim Henson Company’s extensive catalog of award-winning Family Classics includes the ACE Award-winner and five-time Emmy Award-winning Fraggle Rock™ (96 x 30). This fan favorite currently has both film and television projects in development. Also in the Family Classics library are Emmy Award-winning Jim Henson’s Mother Goose Stories (39 x 8) featuring familiar nursery rhymes; the ACE Award-winning animated feature Emmet Otter’s Jug – Band Christmas™, based on a book by Russell and Lillian Hoban, a groundbreaking series featuring the first radio-controlled puppets; BAFTA Award-winning Jim Henson’s The Hoobs™ (250 x 30), who investigate different worlds to learn “everything Hoobs could ever want to know about the Universe”; BAFTA-nominated Jim Henson’s Construction Site™ (26 x 30), a special place beyond the fence where, through the antics of machines, children are exposed to important messages about the nature of learning, thinking, and behaving; and Jim Henson’s Mopatop’s Shop™ (260 x 8), a wondrous shop where kids are introduced to a variety of concepts such as circles and squares and musical sounds by the use of imagination, humor and the inventive use of language.
Fantasy brand properties include the full-length feature Labyrinth™ (1 x 102), produced by The Jim Henson Company with creatures brought to life by Jim Henson’s Creature Shop, and directed and co-written by Jim Henson who worked closely with acclaimed artist and conceptual designer, Brian Froud and executive producer, George Lucas; the masterful live-action fantasy The Dark Crystal™ (1 x 93), for which Jim Henson served as co-writer and co-director and Jim Henson’s Creature Shop worked to build both animatronics and soft puppets, marking it as the first ever all-puppet full length feature; and the groundbreaking award-winning sci-fi production Farscape™ (series: 88 X 60; miniseries: 2 X 120), named by TV Guide as one of television’s best cult shows ever and known for the overwhelming fan-based campaign that led to the miniseries production.
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment will release Blu-ray™ High-Def versions of Labyrinth and The Dark Crystal in the U.S. on September 29, 2009. And in November, to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of Farscape, A&E Home Entertainment and The Jim Henson Company will re-launch the DVD franchise in the U.S. with the release of the first-ever COMPLETE SERIES MEGASET™ featuring all four seasons of the series.
The news follows The Jim Henson’s Company’s announcement earlier this year that the company’s new in-house consumer products division, helmed by Melissa Segal, Senior Vice President, Global Consumer Products, will be establishing licensing and merchandising programs for the Company’s well-known fantasy brands and Family Classics.
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Family Classics Synopses
FRAGGLE ROCK (96 X 30)
With millions of DVDs sold and 5 international Emmy Awards, this wonderfully inventive program which hit the air waves from 1983 – 1987 with 96 original episodes was designed to entertain while encouraging an understanding and embracing of diversity. A fan favorite around the world, Fraggle Rock continues to be distributed on DVD by Lionsgate.
EMMETT OTTER’S JUG-BAND CHRISTMAS (1 x 60)
Based on a book by Russell and Lillian Hoban, and marking a breakthrough in radio controlled puppets, this Christmas story, which first aired in 1977, is about Ma and Emmet Otter – a family that has little more than each other. Released on DVD to celebrate the 2008 Christmas season and premiered on in December 2008 at the Tony-Award winning Connecticut Goodspeed Theater, Emmet Ottter continues to have successful distribution on DVD with Lionsgate.
JIM HENSON’S THE HOOBS (250 X 30)
Join Iver, Tula, Groove and Roma on a friendly, fun-filled, journey as they investigate different worlds and search for answers to “everything Hoobs could ever want to know about the Universe.” A truly innovative program, “Hoobs” reaches the multi-media generation with a delightful mix of puppetry, animation, and live-action. The series originally aired between 2000 and 2002 and currently airs daily on Sprout in the U.S. and on Channel 4 in the U.K.
JIM HENSON’S MOPATOP’S SHOP (260 X 8)
“Mopatop’s Shop” is a wondrous shop where you can get everything you could ever want – a rainbow, the hiccups, or a friend. The show, which first aired between 1999 and 2000 is aimed at pre-school age children and features Mopatop and his assistant Puppyduck. The aim of the show is to introduce children to a variety of concepts such as circles and squares and musical sounds by the use of imagination, humor and the inventive use of language.
JIM HENSON’S MOTHER GOOSE STORIES (39 X 8)
This delightful series takes a light-hearted look at familiar nursery rhymes. Each eight-minute episode features a Mother Goose, who shares these nursery rhymes with her three impatient, fluffy goslings. The shows combine the live-action talents of young children with The Jim Henson Company’s extraordinary puppets. The series originally aired between 1987 and 1990.
JIM HENSON’S CONSTRUCTION SITE (26 X 30)
Enter the world of “Construction Site,” a special place beyond the fence where, through the antics of the machines, children are exposed to important messages about the nature of learning, thinking, and behaving. Children learn along with Digs and his friends as they find out the importance of certain beliefs, strategies, and behaviors for learning and doing their best. Together, they discover that we can all think smarter and learn better. The series originally aired between 1999 and 2002
Fantasy Brands Synopses
FARSCAPE (series: 88 X 60; miniseries: 2 X 120)
A groundbreaking sci-fi production, FARSCAPE is a global favorite. Named by TV Guide as one of television’s” Best Cult Shows Ever” and by Empire Magazine as one of the “50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time,” FARSCAPE is known for the overwhelming fan-based campaign that led to its miniseries production, FARSCAPE: The Peacekeeper Wars. The show has continued to find new audiences as it is available on DVD around the world as well as on iTunes, where it debuted as the top selling sci-fi show. Figurines and plush are also available along with the FARSCAPE comic book series which was entirely sold out five days after its first volume premiered in December 2008. The series aired from 1998 – 2002. The miniseries aired in 2004. Webisodes are currently in development.
LABYRINTH (102 minutes)
Produced by The Jim Henson Company with creatures brought to life by Jim Henson’s Creature Shop, LABYRINTH was directed by Jim Henson who worked closely with acclaimed artist and conceptual designer, Brian Froud and executive producer, George Lucas. Today, fans both young and old can find LABYRINTH collectible figurines, sculptures, and plush in stores and online. Tokyo Pop collaborated with The Jim Henson Company to publish manga-style graphic novels titled “Return to Labyrinth”, which have continued to be top sellers in Tokyo Pop’s slate. Almost thirty years since its premiere, DVD sales consistently perform well, most recently with Sony Pictures Entertainment release in 2007 as a newly restored, 2 disc anniversary edition, containing never-before-seen interviews, deleted scenes, and behind-the-scenes footage. A Blu-ray release is scheduled to hit stores this fall. The feature originally aired in 1986.
THE DARK CRYSTAL (93 minutes)
Jim Henson’s Creature Shop worked to build both animatronics and soft puppets for DARK CRYSTAL, marking it as the first ever all-puppet full length feature. This masterful live-action fantasy continues to sell in specialty stores worldwide and on the web in a collection of figurines, sculptures, and plush. The world of the Gelflings, Mystics, and Skeksis can also be found in the exciting new manga prequel, “Legends of the Dark Crystal,” published by TokyoPop in collaboration with The Jim Henson Company. Sony Pictures Entertainment released the latest edition of high performing DVDs with its 2-Disc 25th Anniversary Edition featuring never before seen footage from The Jim Henson Company archives including new commentary by Brian Froud, deleted scenes, and never before-seen footage. A Blu-ray release is scheduled for this fall. The feature originally aired in 1982
The Jim Henson Company has remained an established leader in family entertainment for over 50 years and is recognized worldwide as an innovator in puppetry, animatronics and digital animation. Best known as creators of the world famous Muppets, Henson has received over 50 Emmy Awards and nine Grammy Awards. Recent credits include the Emmy® nominated “Sid the Science Kid,” “Dinosaur Train,” “Wilson & Ditch: Digging America” and “Pajanimals.” Features include “The Dark Crystal,” “Labyrinth,” “MirrorMask,” and “Unstable Fables” and television productions include “Fraggle Rock” and the sci-fi cult series “Farscape.” With additional locations in New York and London, The Jim Henson Company is headquartered in Los Angeles on the historic Charlie Chaplin lot, complete with soundstage and postproduction facilities. Independently owned and operated by the five adult children of founder Jim Henson, the Company is also home to Jim Henson’s Creature Shop™, a pre-eminent character-building and visual effects group with international film, television and advertising clients, as well as Henson Recording Studios, one of the music industry’s top recording facilities known for its world-class blend of state-of-the-art and vintage equipment. The Company’s Henson Alternative brand has recently launched the national tour of “Stuffed and Unstrung,” a live puppet improvisational show named one of the top 10 “Best Stage Shows of 2010” by Entertainment Weekly.
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