Starz Animates Raggedy Ann

Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing has partnered with Starz Media to develop and produce a series of animated movies based on the publisher’s Raggedy Ann and Me! line of books. The Raggedy Adventures releases will lend an updated look to the classic character, first introduced in Johnny Gruelle’s Raggedy Ann & Andy stories and adored by generations of kids.

The films will be produced by Starz Media’s Film Roman unit, which produces such popular animated children’s programs as Wow! Wow! Wubbzy! and the Emmy-winning Eloise, as well as the primetime FOX hits The Simpsons and King of the Hill. The company has hired writer Joe Ansolabehere (Recess, Hey Arnold, Rugrats) to help bring this new vision of Raggedy Ann to the screen. Russ Berrie will create a new doll based on the franchise update.

TV sales for Raggedy Adventures will be handled by Starz Media, whose Anchor Bay Ent. will distribute them on home video. United Media is currently building a licensing program in support of Raggedy Ann and Me!, and will release merchandise in conjunction with the videos, dolls and books this fall.