Childrens entertainment veterans Wendy Moss-Klein and Nancy Steingard have formed 2 Friends Ent., a Westwood, Calif.-based multi-media company dedicated to producing childrens programming. The new venture will create animated and hybrid content for television, home video, theatrical and Internet, and has acquired rights to kid lit favorites Harriet the Spy, What Mommies Do Best and Marsupial Sue.
Moss-Klein was one of the original partners and senior VP of Sony Wonder, a childrens and family production and distribution company under Sony Music. She also served as senior VP and general manager of Hanna-Barbera Home Video. Most recently, Steingard served as senior VP of creative development for Sesame Workshop, producers of Sesame Street. Prior to that, she was exec VP for Universal Family and Home Entertainment, where she oversaw all childrens and family television.
Steingard and Moss-Klein met 20 years ago at Family Entertainment and soon after formed a new company called High-Tops Ent. When High Tops was sold, the two went their separate ways but always dreamed of starting another company together. Steingard tells Animation Magazine Online, "Whats great for us is that we each ended up going to big companies and got a lot of experience. Now were able to take the knowledge weve gathered and apply it to our own company and operate it the way we want to."
"Weve both have had a lot of good experience with animation and feel really comfortable in that medium," adds Moss-Klein. She tells us they will be working with Aha Studios in Wisconsin on Baby Sprout, an entertaining and educational DVD series for parents and infants.
Based on the beloved books by Louise Fitzhugh, Harriet the Spy will most likely be developed for television and home video. What Mommies Do Best by Laura Numeroff, author of the best-selling book, Give a Mouse a Cookie, will be developed in partnership with Numeroff and Jason Grode. In addition, 2 Friends are teaming with actor John Lithgow (Shrek) to bring his best-selling childrens book, Marsupial Sue, to viewing audiences. The property will be developed in partnership with Lithgow palooza and Broadthink, a media, marketing and merchandising company.
While there are no production timetables in place yet at 2 Friends, Steingard comments, "Were very aggressive and very eager to get product out as soon as we can." The duo are now working on striking deals with production partners and distributors. A percentage of their profits will be donated to various childrens charities.