Cookie Jar cuts 35 animation jobs

Canadian indie producer eyes more live-action production

TORONTO -- Canadian indie producer Cookie Jar Entertainment has cut 35 animation production jobs as it pivots toward more live-action series production.

Toronto-based Cookie Jar in a statement said it was "realigning" its production dollars amid the economic downturn to move deeper into live-action programming.

The Canadian producer added it will expand its copyright promotions licensing group, based in London, and maintain all of its 16 offices internationally.

Cookie Jar is best known for its cartoon properties that include "Caillou," "The Doodlebops" and "Richard Scarry's Busytown Mysteries."

But the studio has also expanded into consumer products and educational publishing. Cookie Jar has broadened its entertainment programming reach into U.S. network series and syndicated fare after acquiring the global brand management group DIC Entertainment for $83 million in 2008.

Cookie Jar has since hired former Columbia TriStar and Paramount TV division boss Tom Mazza to lead a foray into U.S. network series production, and veteran TV writer and producer Bruce Kalish to showrun the animation-live action hybrid series "Mudpit."