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Nick Picks DIC Flicks

Nickelodeon has commissioned kids' programmer DIC Entertainment to produce 36
original, full-length animated films for the network's new Sunday-afternoon
movie block.

The block, 'Sunday Movie Toons,' will launch in October and run from 12:30
p.m. to 2 p.m., Nick officials said.

The deal calls for DIC -- which has a library of more than 3,000 animated
television episodes -- to develop animated films based on such familiar and
popular properties as Inspector Gadget, Sabrina, Archies,
The Time Machine, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Treasure
and The Mark of Zorro.

Nickelodeon executive vice president Cyma Zarghami said the move complements
the network's own Saturday-night original-movie franchise, while providing
ratings-strong movie product for its Sunday-afternoon lineup.

'DIC has been providing animated programs for us over the years, so we
thought it would be interesting to have a mix of DIC-produced acquired movies
and our own original films,' Zarghami said. 'They're providing attractive movies
for kids, but not titles we would make on our own.'

DIC president and CEO Andy Hayword called the deal 'groundbreaking,' adding,
'Full-length movies bring a unique value, and this is going to be a special
appointment brand of television.'

The movie block is one of several moves Nick is making to fortify its Sunday
lineup. Two months ago, the network announced that it will slate more
action-oriented programs targeted to boys during the 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. time
period, including a kids-oriented version of TNN: The National Network's
high-tech action series, Robot Wars.