Cookie Jar sets up primetime arm

Canadian producer and distributor Cookie Jar Entertainment is moving into primetime television for the first time with the launch of a new division – The Jar.

The company has hired former Columbia TriStar and Paramount executive Tom Mazza to run the subsidiary.

Cookie Jar is best known for producing and distributing animated kids series including Inspector Gadget and Strawberry Shortcake as well as live action preschool series such as The Doodlebops.

However, it is keen to take advantage of the current popularity of Canadian primetime series on US network television such as CTV’s Flashpoint and Shaftesbury-produced The Listener, which air on CBS and NBC respectively.

Cookie Jar has more than a dozen crime and sci fi projects currently in development from writers including Die Hard director Steven de Souza, Xena: Warrior Princess producer Steven L. Sears and Charmed directors Tony Blake and Paul Jackson.

Mazza joins the company from branded entertainment firm MRE. He was previously in charge of Paramount productions including Cheers and Star Trek: The Next Generation as well as Columbia TriStar series Dawson’s Creek and King of Queens.