Corus Entertainment’s Nelvana has opened a TV sales pipeline to Europe for Stan and Jan Berenstain’s long-running series featuring the eponymous Berenstain Bears. Nelvana has sold the 2D animated, 40-episode strip in a pan-territory deal that includes YLE TV2 (Finland), SVT (Sweden), RUV (Icelandic National Broadcasting), TV 2 (Denmark) and a yet-to-be-named Norwegian broadcaster. The series will begin airing fall 2004.
"It’s fantastic to find a home for The Berenstain Bears in all of the Scandinavian countries simultaneously. Especially since it’s a long-running series and is not based upon a local book or property," says Sylvie Didierjean, Nelvana’s director of international sales. "[The] deal bodes well for the hit potential of the franchise in Scandinavia and could pave the way to further European TV sales."
With more than 240 titles in print and worldwide sales topping 260 million copies, Stan and Jan Berenstain’s bears have become the biggest selling children’s book series in the history of publishing. Set in the rolling hills of Bear Country, the animated comedy stars Mama, Papa, Brother and Sister Bear, whose humorous, identifiable experiences instill timeless life lessons and reflect the traditional community values of country life.
"When Nelvana presented The Berenstain Bears to me, I instantly liked the series," says Lisbeth Mathiesen, acquisitions executive for Denmark’s TV 2. "It has strong storylines that are easy to follow and young viewers will have no trouble relating to and identifying with the bear cubs. The Berenstain Bears focuses on everyday family life and in so doing, emphasizes basic positive social values. How could anyone not want to serve their young audience a healthy dose of that?”
The Berenstain Bears currently airs on Canada’s Treehouse TV four times daily on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, with additional airings on Saturday mornings and afternoons. The series moves to a half-hour format on PBS in the U.S. in September.