CBS, DIC To Partner on Kids Block

Putting an end to its longstanding relationship with Nickelodeon this fall, CBS is partnering with DIC Entertainment on a five-year deal in which DIC provides the network with a Saturday-morning branded kids programming block.

CBS’ Secret Saturday Morning Slumber Party replaces the network's synergy-minded relationship with Nickelodeon, which has provided kids fare to CBS since 2000.

A CBS spokesman attributed the change to the end of a contract rather than the newly separate, increasingly competitive companies going in different directions. Nickelodeon is now part of Viacom’s cable and film assets, run by Tom Freston, while Leslie Moonves controls CBS Corp.

But some observers said they believe CBS would have renewed the contract if it was still part of the same company as Nickelodeon.

As was previously the case, DIC will handle advertising and essentially lease the block from CBS, providing it with FCC kid-friendly fare.

DIC--which issued the announcement a day after CBS’ portion of the Television Critics Association press tour--and CBS will explore new-media ventures to promote the programs.

Nancy Tellem, president of the CBS Paramount Network Television Entertainment Group, and Andy Heyward, chairman/CEO of DIC, emphasized that the deal provides for three hours of FCC-compliant children’s programming. It will serve as a platform to introduce new kids shows created by DIC and feature its library series, which include Madeline,Where on Earth Is Carmen Sandiego and Sabrina: The Animated Series.

The announcement emphasized how the two companies will collaborate with the DIC Educational Advisory Board, which has leading media experts, educators and pediatricians that offer advice on kids programming.

The board is chaired by Robby London, executive VP, creative affairs, at DIC for the past 18 years.