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PR: Warner Announces an Exclusive, Worldwide Distribution Agreement for ‘Peanuts’

by on October 3, 2007

October 03, 2007 – Warner Home Video (WHV) has entered a multi-year, exclusive worldwide home video distribution deal with United Media (a.k.a.United Feature Syndicate, Inc.), Charles M. Schulz Creative Associates, and Lee Mendelson Film Productions for Peanuts, the acclaimed syndicated comic strip which generated highly successful television programs revered by generations of viewers globally. The distribution deal includes the Peanuts library and original made-for-videos for home video and new media distribution based on the Peanuts work of Charles M. Schulz. The announcement was made today by Jeff Brown, WHV, SVP and General Manager, TV, Family and Animation.

“As we continue our efforts to maintain the integrity of my husband Charles Schulz’s work, partnering with Warner Home Video was the logical choice,” said Jeanne Schulz, wife of Peanuts creator Charles M. Schulz. “After meeting the Warner creative team, it’s clear that they have an understanding and respectful dedication to classic animation, which we think will make them a great distribution home for Peanuts.

Doug Stern, President and CEO of United Media, the company that licenses and syndicates Peanuts stated, “As we continue to oversee the extraordinary legacy of Charles M. Schulz with our long term partner Charles M. Schulz Creative Associates, it made strategic sense to align ourselves with a creative distribution partner like Warner Home Video. A perfect match for Peanuts, Warner Bros. has demonstrated to us and the industry its enormous global reach, creative foresight, marketing expertise, as well as its ability to understand classic properties.”

Under the terms of the agreement, WHV will exclusively distribute multiple Peanuts DVD titles, which include over 50 classic television specials and television series episodes. The first of these releases includes a deluxe edition of Be My Valentine, Charlie Brown, scheduled for release on January 15, 2008, followed by a deluxe edition of It’s the Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown, scheduled for release February 26, 2008. The titles will be offered to consumers completely re-mastered, in all-new deluxe editions, with newly created bonus features. Each title will feature a new updated look while maintaining the integrity and feel of classic Peanuts.

All of the programs encompassed by the deal were written by Charles M. Schulz with Bill Melendez directing and Lee Mendelson as Executive Producer; all three are multiple Emmy-award winners. The agreement also contemplates production of new made-for-video titles as well as new short-form content based on the Peanuts work of Charles M. Schulz for digital distribution via wireless, EST and video-on-demand platforms. Mendelson/Melendez Productions, LLC will be associated with some of these projects.

Executive Producer Lee Mendelson says, “On behalf of Bill Melendez and our respective staffs, as we continue our 43rd year of Peanuts production for television, we excitedly look forward to our new association with Warner Home Video. With both our library and new media, we are pleased to bring the genius of Charles Schulz to new generations in 21st century technology.”

Regarding the announcement, Brown said, “This agreement is a testament to Warner Home Video’s dedication to bringing some of the world’s most foremost and cherished properties to consumers. We have tremendous passion for Peanuts and look forward to the opportunity to build this perennial brand by reinvigorating the home video library via product and packaging innovation, potentially creating original content based on Schulz’s work and building digital distribution on new media platforms.”

“Warner Bros. is the only major studio with a dedicated business unit for non-theatrical properties,” commented Ken Ziffren, attorney for Peanuts right holders. “Their understanding of the value of this evergreen brand, respect for what Charles Schulz has created and presence in the video market makes them a great partner. It’s been a pleasure working with them in crafting this deal.”

A leader in the video distribution industry, over the years Warner Home Video has successfully signed agreements with content owners of some of the world’s most renowned brands including BBC, National Geographic, Dr. Seuss, Popeye, American Girl, Cartoon Network, Leap Frog, Scholastic, The Wiggles, NFL, NBA and NHL. Other perennial animated properties in Warner Bros. library include Looney Tunes, Tom and Jerry, Hanna Barbera, Scooby-Doo, Batman, Superman and all of the other DC Comics characters.

Peanuts is one of the most beloved entertainment brands of all time. What began in the funny pages in 1950 has developed into an enduring classic. The tales of Linus, Lucy, Snoopy, Good Ol’ Charlie Brown, and the rest of the Peanuts gang reach fans through a variety of media including newspapers, TV, home video, theater, the internet, wireless, video games, music, and books. Over 18,000 comic strips celebrate numerous themes (holidays, school days, friendship, sports), countless images (Lucy holding the football, Snoopy lying on top of his doghouse) and well-known expressions (“Good Grief!,” “happiness is a warm puppy,” “security blanket”) that have become part of the American – indeed global – vocabulary. Whether you’re a fussbudget like Lucy, philosopher like Linus, Flying Ace like Snoopy, or a lovable loser like Charlie Brown, there is something to touch your heart or make you laugh in Peanuts.

About Peanuts
Peanuts is licensed and syndicated by United Media. United Media (UM) is a worldwide licensing and syndication company that focuses on building brand equity around a wide range of creative content. The company recently partnered with HarperCollins to build a licensing program around the publishing phenomenon Fancy Nancy. United Media licenses and/or syndicates other properties, including Precious Moments, Dirty Dancing, Televisa’s El Chavo, Mary Engelbreit, Raggedy Ann & Andy, and Dilbert. United Media is an E. W. Scripps Company (NYSE: SSP). For more information, visit www.unitedmedialicensing.com.

About Charles M. Schulz Creative Associates
Charles M. Schulz Creative Associates was established to work in partnership with United Media on the creative and business management of the Peanuts worldwide licensing program, providing creative oversight and art direction to the over 900 Peanuts licensees. Creative Associates is located in Santa Rosa, California, where the Peanuts creator maintained his studio for over thirty years. On the same property Schulz built an ice arena, café, and gift shop. In August 2002, the Charles M. Schulz Museum and Research Center opened adjacent to his studio. The museum fulfills its mission to preserve, display, and interpret the life and art of Charles M. Schulz by offering rotating exhibitions of original art and personal artifacts, showcasing Schulz and his cartoon creations Charlie Brown, Snoopy, and the whole Peanuts Gang.

Over the past 43 years, Lee Mendelson Productions and Bill Melendez Productions (Mendelson/Melendez Productions, LLC) have produced all of the countless Peanuts prime time specials, winning four Emmys, two Peabodys, and sixteen other Emmy nominations. They also produced four Peanuts theatrical feature films.

About Warner Home Video
With operations in 90 international territories Warner Home Video, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company, commands the largest distribution infrastructure in the global video marketplace. Warner Home Video’s film library is the largest of any studio, offering top quality new and vintage titles from the repertoires of Warner Bros. Pictures, Turner Entertainment, Castle Rock Entertainment, HBO Home Video and New Line Home Entertainment.

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