France Televisions nabs seven animated series

Acquisitions include MTVNI, Nickelodeon educational shows

CANNES -- French public broadcaster France Televisions is heading back to preschool with seven new animated acquisitions, the group said Sunday as the 2010 MIPJunior market closed.

France Televisions has become an official member of "Team UmiZoom," MTVNI and Nickelodeon's hit preschool series about a tiny team of superheroes with mathematical powers.

"We're really trying to expand our educational programming," France Televisions' head of youth programming Julien Borde said in an interview. The group has also snagged MTVNI and Nickelodeon's "Bubble Guppies," an interactive 20 x 26-minute show featuring four children singing in an aquatic world.

Also on FTV's animated educational programming slate will be "Sid, the Science Kid," a show featuring a science curriculum mixed with music and humor. "Sid" will premiere on France 5. FTV will air the Jim Henson Company's prehistoric adventure series "Dinosaur Train." FTV will fill it's France 3 youth program slot "Ludo" with MGM's "Pink Panther & Pals," Warner Bros.' "Scooby Doo" plus "Wallace & Gromit's World of Invention" from Aardman Animation. FTV has also bought world distribution rights for the first time for "Lulu Vroumette," which will air on France 5. The 52 x 13-minute "fun-filled bucolic series" is a Mondo TV France and France Televisions production.

Because of the new law banning ads on public networks after 8 p.m., France Televisions is looking to international distribution for another source of income. "We need a new source of revenue and a way to communicate France's artistic universe throughout the world," Borde said of the recent focus on international distribution. He added: "We need more revenue in order to finance French creative content. We've had to look again at our economic model."