PBS and Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing To Launch PBS Kids Books
Books Based on New Animated Series Inspired by Amy Tan to Be Among the Premiere Projects
ALEXANDRIA, VA - February 10, 2000 - The Public Broadcasting Service has struck an exclusive agreement with Simon Spotlight, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing, to launch a new line of children's books, PBS KIDS® Books. The first titles will be based on a new animated television series entitled SAGWA, THE CHINESE SIAMESE CAT, which is inspired by the children's book from best-selling author Amy Tan, as illustrated by Gretchen Schields; and the popular preschool wildlife program, ZOBOOMAFOO, starring Martin Kratt and Chris Kratt.
PBS KIDS Books expands the PBS KIDS brand and complements the PBS KIDS Ready to Learn Service, a weekday line-up of award-winning television programming aired by PBS member stations. Other PBS KIDS endeavors include the newly relaunched PBS KIDS Online (pbskids.org), PBS KIDS Home Video and the PBS KIDS Channel.
"PBS KIDS Books will extend the impact of our children's programs beyond the television screen, helping more families experience our unique combination of educational and entertaining content," said Ann Blakey, PBS's vice president of licensing and distribution. "We are delighted to partner with one of the world's most respected publishing houses on this exciting venture."
"We are thrilled to be adding PBS KIDS to the Simon Spotlight list of high quality, fun and educational titles everything that people have come to expect from PBS and Simon & Schuster," adds Robin Corey, vice president, publisher of novelty and media tie-ins, Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing.
All PBS KIDS titles will be available everywhere children's books are sold, at shopPBS (shopPBS.com) and from PBS catalogs.
One of the debut projects of PBS KIDS Books will be based on an upcoming series called SAGWA, THE CHINESE SIAMESE CAT, inspired by Ms. Tan and Ms. Schields' award-winning children's book. The daily animated television program, which is produced by CinŽGroupe in association with the Children's Television Workshop and IF/X Productions, is scheduled to air on PBS KIDS starting in the fall of 2001.
Books based on PBS's popular wildlife series for preschoolers starring Martin Kratt, Chris Kratt and a playful little lemur named Zoboomafoo (pronounced zah-BOO-mah-foo), will be the first titles published. Titles from the series, which premiered in January 1999, will be available in 2001. The ZOBOOMAFOO television series is produced by CINAR Corporation in association with PBS and Earth Creatures Company, and airs daily on PBS member stations.
The premier destination for children's entertainment and education, PBS KIDS provides a non-violent, noncommercial daily schedule that kids love and parents trust. PBS KIDS extends far beyond the TV screen to the Web (pbskids.org), home videos, educational outreach materials, and the new PBS KIDS Channel. The PBS KIDS Ready to Learn Service leverages the television programs with workshops in local communities to help adults boost children's reading and social skills. Available to 99 percent of American homes with televisions and to an increasing number of digital multimedia households, PBS serves nearly 100 million people each week.
Simon Spotlight, an imprint of Simon and Schuster Children's Publishing wholly devoted to media tie-ins, was launched in the fall of 1997. Since that time, it has become one of the fastest growing imprints in the children's book industry, with best-selling series based on Nickelodeon's¨ Rugrats ú, Blue's Cluesú, CatDogú, and the upcoming The Wild Thornberrysú, and Jim Henson's Bear in the Big Blue Houseú properties.
Simon & Schuster, the publishing operation of Viacom Inc., is a global leader in the field of general interest publishing, dedicated to providing the best in fiction and nonfiction for consumers of all ages, across all printed and multimedia formats. Its divisions include Simon & Schuster Trade Publishing, Pocket Books, Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing, Simon & Schuster New Media, Simon & Schuster Online, Simon & Schuster U.K., and Simon & Schuster Australia. For more information about Simon & Schuster, visit our Web site at http:///www.simonsays.com.
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Tracy van Straaten
Simon & Schuster