Hit Entertainment has sealed a licensing deal with broadcaster France 5 for the first two CGI series of Thomas & Friends - marking the first time the brand has appeared on French terrestrial TV.
France 5 will begin airing Thomas le Petit Train daily from December.
Along with the TV distribution deal, Hit has also appointed France Television Distribution (FTD) as licensing agent for Thomas & Friends in the territory. A range of consumer products will launch in 2009.
Thomas & Friends is currently the number one property in the UK and the number one boys' pre-school property in the US (source: NPD), with over 200 million books have been sold around the world.
"We are thrilled to be bringing Thomas & Friends to a new audience in France," said Alison Homewood, EVP worldwide TV distribution at Hit. "Thomas has been globally one of the most successful pre-school shows in the world, now broadcasting in over 185 countries and in more than 25 languages.
"We look forward to working closely with France 5 and FTD to make Thomas as well-loved with French children as he is elsewhere."
Celine Limorato, deputy director in charge of animation, global media and diversification of programmes for the new FTV Children's Department, added: "The series Thomas le Petit Train corresponds to our policy of acquisition: properties with international potential and high potential for global media distribution. The children's offering on France 5 is composed of the best animation and remains today the only free edutainment offering to the pre-school market in France."