FME conjures up first deals for Merlin

2 Entertain and Random House sign up ahead of brand's official launch at Mipcom next month.
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FremantleMedia Enterprises has begun the licensing push for its new drama brand Merlin.

2 Entertain has snapped up the North American home entertainment rights for the brand, while Random House Children's Books has acquired the exclusive UK publishing rights.

Despite the show still being in the early stages of production, the DVD rights were the subject of a competitive pitch between a number of major North American HE distributors. 2 Entertain's North American label, BBC Video, will distribute the title, while 2 Entertain also holds the HE distribution rights to the brand in the UK.

Random House, meanwhile, will begin its multi-format publishing programme in autumn 2009 in the UK, developing a range of dedicated tie-in titles. Formats will include fiction and non-fiction, as well as activity titles, audio and annuals.

"Publishing is a leading and vital category in extending the brand experience for Merlin," commented Pindy O'Brien, FME VP brand licensing and retail, UK. "Random House is the perfect partner for us, they have had huge success with Jacqueline Wilson, Phillip Pullman and Terry Pratchett. We are confident that they will create the most compelling and successful range of books for Merlin that the brand retail marketplace has seen in years."

Merlin will be available for international sale at Mipcom in October. It will premiere on BBC1 in the autumn in the UK in key primetime family slot and has also been pre-sold to US broadcaster NBC, as well as CTV in Canada.

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