Smurfs to Fight Winter Blues on DIC Kids

Those hard-working little blue folks from Smurf Village are getting ready to make a big splash on DIC Kids’ Network. The Smurfs, the Saturday morning 1980s hit has been acquired by DIC Entertainment from Warner Bros. Domestic Cable Distribution. DIC Chairman and CEO Andy Heyward announced today that his company has bought 26 half-hour episodes of the popular show for broadcast on its three-hour programming block.

The Smurfs will begin airing in January 2005 on the DIC Kid’s Network, designed to provide stations with children’s programming that meets core FCC requirements. Select episodes of the show have been handpicked by DIC to meet the educational standards of the block.

Produced by Hanna Barbera, the traditionally animated toon was first bought by Fred Silverman, president of the Fred Silverman Company & former CEO & president of NBC, to air on NBC where the series dominated Saturday morning for nearly a decade, boosting the network from last place to first place in kids. Based on characters created by Peyo (and first introduced in a strip in Le Journal de Spirou) in 1956, The Smurfs became an international hit which still airs on major broadcast outlets around the world. In addition to a hit TV series and a feature film, the toon evolved into a global brand sensation with a successful line of toys, books and music. The Smurfs made their first appearance in 1956 when creator Peyo introduced them in a story of Johan & Peewit in Le Journal de Spirou.

“I had the privilege to work at Hanna Barbera in the late 70s and early 80s and to collaborate closely with the original creator, Peyo," says Heyward. "We watched the series command a 60 share rating on NBC. Ratings like that have not been seen before or since, and I believe we can bring the series to the top of the ratings charts once again on the DIC Kid’s Network." He adds. "The Smurfs is one of those rare timeless jewels that became one of the first mega-entertainment brands for kids, and with the retro trend showing no signs of slowing down, we believe the environment is right to re-awaken this ‘sleeping giant’ to a new generation of young viewers."

Launched in in September 2003, The DIC Kids’ Network reaches 100% of the U.S. markets and airs on over 450 stations. The programming block airs on major broadcast outlets, including local FOX, WB and UPN affiliates, and offers three separate exclusive programming feeds, along with a Spanish Language feed. The block is comprised of six half-hours of animated programs from DIC Entertainment’s extensive library of over 3,200 half-hours of popular animated programming.