BBC WORLDWIDE AND AAC KIDS TO LAUNCH TWO LIVE-ACTION SERIES AT MIPCOM 2001

BBC WORLDWIDE AND AAC KIDS TO LAUNCH TWO
LIVE-ACTION SERIES AT MIPCOM 2001

ALLIANCE ATLANTIS will be located at MIPCOM, Stand # G3.14

September 7, 2001 – Toronto – AAC KIDS, ALLIANCE ATLANTIS’ children’s label, and BBC Worldwide will launch Degrassi: The Next Generation and Oscar Charlie, two exciting new live-action series, at Mipcom 2001.

“Since the inception of AAC KIDS, we have always had a strong commitment to live-action children’s programming and we are thrilled to partner with one of the world’s leading media organizations in bringing two high quality and innovative series to the international market,” said Ken Faier, Vice President Distribution, AAC KIDS. “Degrassi is a franchise that continues to be relevant to contemporary youth culture and we are confident that Oscar Charlie has all the qualities necessary to develop into a long-running, successful series.”

Mark Johnstone, Director of Children’s and Learning, GMBD, BBC Worldwide said, “Both series are a welcome addition to our rapidly expanding slate of children’s live-action drama series for the teen and pre-teen age group and they mark another step in our evolving relationship with ALLIANCE ATLANTIS.”

Degrassi: The Next Generation is a new 15 x 30 minute sequel to the popular, Emmy Award-winning children’s series Degrassi, which aired in the late 80s and early 90s, from the same producer of The Kids of Degrassi Street, Degrassi Junior High and Degrassi High. The new series introduces a new generation of children going through the trials and tribulations of adolescence in the year 2001. In a world influenced by the Internet, body piercing and hip-hop music, attention spans have decreased. This new generation encounters the same pressures and temptations their parent’s generation did, and although these kids are more media savvy and more articulate, they’re not necessarily more sophisticated.

A true cross-platform storytelling experience, Degrassi: The Next Generation will incorporate an online component (http://www.degrassi.tv/), creating a virtual school where viewers can enroll and get the latest buzz on their favourite classmate characters and gossip about the other students.

Already sold to Noggin in the U.S., to premiere first quarter 2002, Degrassi: The Next Generation will make its worldwide premiere on CTV in Canada in October 2001. The series is produced by Epitome Pictures in association with CTV, with the web component developed in association with Snap Media. BBC Worldwide will distribute the both Degrassi: The Next Generation and Oscar Charlie in the UK and Europe.

Oscar Charlie (13 x 30 minutes), CBBC’s newest children’s live-action series, premiered on CBBC this autumn and will also head BBC Worldwide’s and AAC KIDS children’s line-up at MIPCOM this year. In Oscar Charlie, Charlie Spinner’s granddad, Oscar, forgets his name, burns the muffins, lets the bath overflow and is starting to lose it. In fact, he is two radishes short of a picnic! So it is with an air of trepidation that Charlie faces the latest family visit to granddad’s house. But appearances can be deceiving and when Charlie stumbles across the fact that Oscar’s sudden onset of senile dementia is a smoke screen to keep the family from discovering that he is a senior agent with British Intelligence, he starts to see his grandfather in a completely different light. This action-filled suspense adventure is packed with humour, as Charlie’s world collides with the undercover world of his grandfather.

Note to editors
BBC Worldwide Limited is the main commercial arm, and a wholly owned subsidiary, of the British Broadcasting Corporation. The company was formed in 1994 to develop a coordinated approach to the BBC’s commercial activities: television, publishing, product licensing, Internet and interactive. BBC Worldwide exists to maximize the value of the BBC’s program and publishing assets for the benefit of the UK license payer, and re-invest in public service programming.

AAC KIDS focuses on the development, financing, production, distribution and marketing of both live-action and animated children’s programming from around the world. Catering to kids ranging from pre-school through to teenagers, shows bearing the AAC KIDS’ name are eclectic, interesting and above all fun. AAC KIDS is the children’s label of ALLIANCE ATLANTIS COMMUNICATIONS INC., a leading vertically integrated broadcaster, creator and distributor of filmed entertainment with ownership interests in 18 specialty channels, including seven existing analogue channels: Showcase, Life Network, History Television, HGTV Canada, Food Network Canada, Series+, Historia; seven new digital channels scheduled for launch in September 2001: Showcase Diva, Showcase Action, Independent Film Channel Canada (subject to CRTC approval), Discovery Health Channel, National Geographic Channel, BBC Canada, BBC Kids; and four specialty channels in which the Company has minority interests: Scream, The Score, Pride Vision and One: the Body, Mind and Spirit Channel.

The Company’s principal business activities are conducted through three operating groups: Broadcast, Motion Picture and Television. Headquartered in Toronto, ALLIANCE ATLANTIS operates offices in Los Angeles, Edmonton, Montreal, Halifax, Shannon, London and Sydney. The Company’s common shares are listed on The Toronto Stock Exchange – trading symbols AAC.A, AAC.B and on NASDAQ – trading symbol AACB. The Company’s website is http://www.allianceatlantis.com/.

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