Tuesday, July 11, 2023

Lion Forge Entertainment and Nickelodeon Animation Set First-Look Deal for Animated Series and Features

Lion Forge Entertainment and Nickelodeon Animation have announced a new first-look deal covering animated series and features. Under the deal, Nickelodeon Animation will have a first look at all Lion Forge Entertainment kids and family IP across animated series, features, short-form and digital content, and may bring select Nickelodeon and Paramount IP to Lion Forge to develop and produce.

Lion Forge Entertainment and Nickelodeon Animation Set First-Look Deal for Animated Series and Features

The deal also creates optionality for Lion Forge Entertainment to co-finance certain projects the company brings to Nickelodeon, as well as serve as the animation studio on select Nickelodeon projects. The relationship underscores a commitment by Nickelodeon and Lion Forge to create content that features diverse voices in front of and behind the camera. Lion Forge Entertainment is one of the very few Black-owned animation studios in North America and is recognized for diverse stories, authentically told.

Lion Forge Entertainment currently develops and produces animated and live-action content targeting kids and family, YA and adult audiences, building on the success of earlier Lion Forge Animation projects including the Academy Award-winning Hair Love, and the upcoming Iyanu animated series for MAX based on Yoruban mythology.

Projects which have already been identified for potential development under the Lion Forge Entertainment and Nickelodeon Animation deal, include: Born Driven, a story based on the life of Wendell Scott, the first Black NASCAR driver; a comedy adventure of warrior Iron's story Iron Dragon - original IP created by Jay Kim at Mostapes studio in South Korea and Lion Forge; and Marley and The Family Band - an animated series based on Cedella Marley's picture book of the same title, co-produced by Polygram Entertainment, a film production and development division of Universal Music Group, and Tuff Gong Collective.

Lion Forge Entertainment CEO David Steward II and President and Chief Content Officer Stephanie Sperber oversaw the deal, which was brokered by Activist Artists Management's Greg Suess and Jon Kanak. This deal builds on the successful relationship between Sperber and Nickelodeon, in which Sperber oversaw creative IP development and production of the Annie Award-winning The Tiny Chef Show and Bossy Bear, and served as executive producer of Nickelodeon's live-action series The Astronauts during her time at Imagine Kids+Family Entertainment.

"I am thrilled to work with Ramsey and her world-class teams at Nickelodeon Animation. Nickelodeon has always been a creative north star, and the opportunity to partner in creating new content that features diverse characters and builds a path for diverse talent in the animation industry is incredibly exciting," said Steward.

"Lion Forge Entertainment is on the vanguard of so many exciting and new stories being told in animation, and we are so incredibly happy to be entering into this deal to create new content together for our global audience," said Ramsey Naito, President Paramount Animation and Nickelodeon Animation.

"I look forward to continuing the wonderful creative partnership with the Nickelodeon team. Together, we have a fantastic opportunity to impact kids and families around the world by showing diversity on screen as well as creating a pipeline for young diverse talent within the animation industry," said Sperber. "Plus, Nickelodeon is one of the best franchise-builders in the business and will be an amazing partner as we together launch into other extensions."

Lion Forge maintains a strategy to monetize its own IP to build franchises, as well as to create new IP that can be leveraged across its publishing businesses.

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Originally published: July 11, 2023.

Source: BroadwayWorld TV (via Deadline); H/T: Special thanks to @RoyalSmurf2022 for the news!

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