FremantleMedia grabs 'Backyardigans' DVD rights

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TORONTO -- FremantleMedia Enterprises has picked up the worldwide home entertainment rights to pre-school series "The Backyardigans," which Canadian cartoon producer Nelvana co-produces with Nick Jr., Nelvana said Friday.

FremantleMedia grabbed the DVD rights for all territories, excluding North America, to up to 60 episodes of the computer-generated animated series.

"The Backyardigans," on air since 2004, features five critters -- Tasha the Hippo, Tyrone the Moose, Pablo the Penguin, Uniqua the Purple-Spotted Creature and Austin the Kangaroo -- who do imaginative song and dance routines in their backyard.

The deal with Fremantle will make Season 1 available in Japan, while the second and third seasons will sell for the first time in global territories outside the Canadian and U.S. markets.

Earlier this month, Nick Jr. renewed "The Backyardigans" for another 20 episodes to take the cartoon into its fourth season.

"Their passion for the brand, their distribution network and their ability to partner with our other licensees will ensure that Backyardigans DVDs are available for children everywhere," Peter Maule, vp of worldwide home entertainment and digital media at Nelvana, said of the pact with FremantleMedia.

Toronto-based Nelvana is best-known for its "Babar" and "Franklin" cartoon series, and new product "Ruby Gloom" and "Di-Gata Defenders."
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