(February 12, 2003 – New York, NY) - In the first deal of its kind for both companies, Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit educational organization, and Warner Bros. Consumer Products will partner to develop and distribute television, print, video, interactive and related merchandise based on “Zhima Jie,” the Chinese version of “Sesame Street.” The multi-media early learning initiative will run for an initial period of five years. The partnership will seek local and global partners to support the creation of three new seasons of television with a total of 195 episodes of “Zhima Jie.” The goal is to begin airing the first season in 2004. The series encourages children to develop a life-long love of learning, as well as to help them learn to count, to read, and to respect and appreciate others. Targeted to preschoolers, “Zhima Jie” aired in China from 1998-2001 on Shanghai Television (STV) and was syndicated nationally. The updated series will feature more interactive segments showcasing the beloved “Zhima Jie” characters Hu Hu Zhu, Xiao Mei Zi, and Da Niao (Big Bird) in even more prominent roles. Sesame Workshop and Warner Bros. Consumer Products, in conjunction with Warner Bros. International Television, will jointly seek underwriting for the production. Sesame Workshop will oversee content and the production of the series. The organization has co-produced four children’s series in China in addition to the 1982 ground-breaking television special, “Big Bird Goes to China,” produced with China Central Television. Warner Bros. Consumer Products will mobilize its distribution, marketing, and consumer products expertise to partner with leading Chinese companies across a wide range of media and licensed merchandise. A dedicated staff, based initially in Hong Kong, will oversee marketing, sales and retail initiatives for Sesame branded programming and products. Warner Bros. International Television will be responsible for handling the distribution of the programming in China. “Warner Bros. Consumer Products, a global leader in entertainment and consumer products, expertly manages multiple brands around the world that delight consumers and impact the market,” said Gary E. Knell, Sesame Workshop’s President and CEO. “We are proud to partner with them on developing educational media specifically relevant to the children of China.” “We are very pleased to partner with Sesame Workshop on this groundbreaking initiative,” said Dan Romanelli, President, Warner Bros. Worldwide Consumer Products. “Capturing the fun and creativity of some of the world’s most revered brands has been our strength for decades and we are excited to apply these skills to the brands of Sesame Workshop.” The partnership also includes the broadcast, distribution, and product development rights for “Sesame English,” a live-action series that introduces children and their families to conversational English, common expressions, and vocabulary. “The partnership with Sesame Workshop will allow the combined expertise of our two great companies to create a truly unique experience for the people of China,” said Mark Matheny, Executive Vice President, International Licensing, Worldwide Interactive and Publishing for Warner Bros. Consumer Products. “The partnership will focus on the values of the Chinese marketplace and expressing these values through brilliant television programming, publishing, and creative merchandising.” Sesame Workshop is a nonprofit, educational organization making a meaningful difference in children’s lives around the world. Founded in 1968, the Workshop changed television forever with the legendary “Sesame Street.” Today, the Workshop continues to innovate on behalf of children in 120 countries, using its proprietary research methodology to ensure its programs and products are engaging and enriching. Sesame Workshop is behind award-winning programs like “Dragon Tales” and “Sagwa, The Chinese Siamese Cat” and ground breaking multi-media productions in South Africa, Egypt and Russia. These are among many Workshop endeavors recognized for their deep understanding of children’s developmental needs and the most effective ways to address them. Find the Workshop online at www.sesameworkshop.org. Warner Bros. Consumer Products is a division of Warner Bros., an AOL Time Warner Company, and is one of the leading licensing and retail merchandising organizations in the world.
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