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Portfolio bags new Cat in the Hat toon

Canadian producer and distributor Portfolio Entertainment has taken the international rights to the new animated Cat in the Hat series and will launch it at MIPCOM.

The Cat In The Hat Knows A Lot About That! is produced by Portfolio and UK indie Collingwood O’Hare for PBS in the US and Treehouse in Canada. The show runs as either 80x12mins or 40x30mins.

Portfolio has a handful of well-known kids series in its catalogue including Carl2, but the Cat in the Hat deal is big news for the Toronto-based indie. “This takes us to a completely different level,” company cofounder Lisa Olfman told TBIvision. “The brand is one of the biggest out there, Dr Seuss and The Cat are part of so many people’s lives.”

The series is aimed at preschoolers and is based on the Dr. Seuss Learning Library range of books. Olfman says: “For PBS we have built in a science component, whereas for other broadcasters it will be pure entertainment.”

Creatively, the producers have attempted to stick as close as possible to the original visual style of the books. Collingwood O’Hare’s Tony Collingwood says: “We’ve taken the original artwork and style of drawing, it’s as if the books a come alive in the show. More than any of its other incarnations, this is the definitive one, as drawn by Seuss.

The show will air on PBS from September 2010.Lesli Rotenberg, VP of children’s programming at PBS said it was made such a large order, for 80-episodes, because of the strength of the Dr. Seuss character. “The reason we did that was that we’re really comfortable with this programme. It has history and a great reputation and was a chance to take an iconic children’s brand to TV. The show complements other programs we have that clearly cover the stem (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) area. The Cat is the perfect vehicle to help kids explain that world.”