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Gerry Cardinale’s RedBird Capital Partners and Greg Silverman’s Stampede Ventures have teamed with popular kids author Mo Willems to launch Hidden Pigeon Company as a kids and family content producer.
Former Lightstorm Entertainment exec Kathy Franklin will head up the new venture as CEO as Hidden Pigeon Company looks to adapt and leverage the Willems library of books for cross-platform content. That includes product for TV, film, digital, gaming, live events, location-based entertainment, publishing and consumer products.
“It is my hope to create a similar bit of surprise and delight in the fabric of everything we make or do. I am thrilled to have found wonderful collaborative partners to make that hope a reality,” Willems said in a statement.
Willems has written and illustrated more than 50 books for children, including the Pigeon, Knuffle Bunny and Gerald and Piggie series. He began his career as a writer and animator on Sesame Street and has also worked on Sheep in the Big City and CodeName: Kids Next Door, among other shows. He also served as the inaugural education artist in residence at the Kennedy Center.
Stampede Ventures and Willems earlier partnered on two Max specials, Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed: The Underground Rock Experience and Storytime All Stars Presents: Don’t Let the Pigeon Do Storytime, which was nominated for two daytime Emmys.
“We’ve deeply enjoyed the success of our partnership with Mo and Cher Willems to date, and it’s shown us that the popularity of his IP and the appetite for premium family entertainment are a powerful combination,” Stampede Ventures’ CEO and founder Silverman said in his own statement.
Franklin served as president, franchise development at Lightstorm Entertainment for 12 years before landing at Hidden Pigeon Company. RedBird’s involvement, including as a financial investor, marks the firm’s first foray into the kids and family entertainment sector.
“Our goal is to help this new company and partnership transform the traditional kids and family entertainment landscape and the way audiences experience Mo’s stories,” Cardinale, RedBird Capital founder and managing partner, said in another statement.
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