Rapidly expanding media conglom IDT Ent. has entered into a joint production venture with North Star Entertainment Group, a subsidiary of the Christian Broadcasting Network. The two entities will together develop, produce distribute and promote family-friendly entertainment including animated properties. The pact also forms an unexpected alliance between IDTs Jewish Orthodox founder Howard Jonas and CBN founder and CEO Pat Robertson.
Jonas comments, "By connecting IDT Ent.s proprietary animation technology and original programming with CBNs loyal audience, international reach and th credibility of Pat Robertson, its visionary leader, this joint venture creates a new distribution channel with the potential for reshaping the entertainment landscape for positive family entertainment."
The first property to be produced under the agreement is a CG-animated series titled Hip Hop & Hamilton. Created and produced by IDT, the preschool show will employ music to entertain kids as it prepares and encourages them to read.
In March, IDTs computer-animation unit, Digital Production Solutions (DPS), acquired rights to the previously undeveloped Gene Roddenberry properties Starpoint Academy and Char, and has already put Starpoint into production. DPS is also contracted to provide production services on the feature Brothers Grimm fairytale reinterpretation Happily NEver After for Vanguard and German production company Berlin Animation Film (BAF).
IDT Ent. recently announced plans to buy independent home video distributor Anchor Bay, the latest in a string of acquisitions that includes controlling interests in Simpsons animation house Film Roman and Canadian CG producer Mainframe Ent., and a minority stake in British digital animation studio Vanguard Animation.