HIT Weighs Development of Kids Network

HIT Entertainment, the owner of TV hits such as Barney the Dinosaur, Thomas the Tank Engine and Bob the Builder is reported to be considering launching a U.S. TV network based on its library of over 2,000 hours of preschool shows. This move comes at a time when the London-based company posted a weaker profit for its latest six-month period thanks to a weak dollar and a 29& drop in revenue from its most lucrative property Bob the Builder.

Hoping for a launch date of early 2005, HIT CEO Rob Lawes recently said the channel would help HIT get better control of its distribution in the U.S. "We are in a powerful position to forge strategic alliances with key industry partners and are currently exploring ways in which we might control distribution of our properties," he told investors during HIT’s presentation of fiscal half-year results.

HIT is producing 78 new episodes of Bob the Builder, with a new location and new adventures to help revive the brand, with a spring 2005 launch date. The company is also giving a facelift to Barney, which will be packaged with local segments and globalized with interactive features.