Fireman Sam signs new broadcasters

Cartoonito and Five add Hit's popular pre-school character to their portfolios.
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Hit Entertainment has lined up two new broadcast partners in the UK for pre-school favourite Fireman Sam, with Five and Cartoonito both picking up the show.

Five has licensed the first five series, plus a 20-minute special of Fireman Sam. It plans to launch them on its Milkshake block in 2008. Meanwhile, Turner Broadcasting's Cartoonito has licensed three series, including the two new seasons in high-definition CGI.

Cartoonito was launched as a full pre-school channel on Sky earlier this year, having previously been a successful block on Cartoon Network Too. It also shows another Hit series, Barney & Friends.

"We are pleased to announce two new UK broadcast homes for Fireman Sam in the UK," said Marie Chappelow, VP of TV distribution EMEA at Hit. "After a successful 16-year run on the BBC, the move to Milkshake and Cartoonito ushers in a new and exciting era for Fireman Sam."

Five's Nick Wilson added: "Fireman Sam is a wonderful example of the best of British model animation and the series will perfectly complement Five's classic collection that already includes Thomas the Tank Engine, Rupert and Noddy."

Cecilia Persson, VP of programming, acquisitions and presentation at Turner, added: "Fireman Sam is a fantastic show and we're delighted that it is set to sir on Cartoonito."

Hit acquired ownership of Fireman Sam from partner S4C in March this year. The new sixth series will be in high definition CGI and will include new characters and destinations as the show expands the PontyPandy coastline and introduces Neptune, a new lifeboat. It is currently in production and delivery will commence in May 2008.


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