Mattel, ITV Studios form creative partnership

Global toy maker to develop TV, online, mobile formats

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CANNES -- In a deal aimed at putting board game formats into primetime television, ITV Studios and Scrabble and Pictionary creator Mattel Inc. on Tuesday announced a major creative partnership that will see ITV work with the global toy manufacturer to develop television, online, mobile and other formats for some of its best-known brands.

The deal allows ITV Studios to mine the Mattel archive for board game concepts that could translate to a range of different media, and distribute them worldwide, said Barry Waldo, vp worldwide entertainment at Mattel, who said the partnership was "a very organic fit" and would unlock a lot of value from its portfolio.

"We look for talent and relationships when we set up a partnership, and with ITV we have a really aligned creative vision," he said. "These brands are very precious to us."

The deal was crafted for ITV Studios by Paul Buccieri, president and CEO of ITV Studios Inc., and Lee Bartlett, managing director of ITV Studios. Mattel was repped by CAA.

The companies' creative teams will now work together to identify which properties they believe have the ability to translate to multiple screens," said ITV's Bartlett.

"We're not yet in development yet, but we are looking at which brands have the best chance to translate."

The partnership will tap the U.K. market first, aiming to produce and distribute the formats internationally for local markets, said ITV director of formats Remy Blumenfeld.

"The lineup of properties gives us the change to offer broadcasters some really popular presold concepts with immense flexibility."

Games such as Scrabble and Pictionary are likely to be among the concepts that make it to screen, but newer Mattel games like Mindflex, the brainwave-scanning game in which players have to move an object using biofeedback, could also move into different media formats, the companies said.

Mattel, whose toy properties include Barbie, Hot Wheels and Matchbox, has followed a strategy of investment in feature films in recent years, with upcoming launches of Tom Hanks starrer "Major Matt Mason," and Warner Bros. project "Hot Wheels," in addition to the "Barbie" longtime movie franchise.