AOL To Produce Children's TV Shows

An AOL unit devoted to programming online fare for children and DIC Entertainment have agreed to jointly produce a three-hour block of children's TV shows to run Saturday mornings on CBS starting Sept. 16.

The deal marks the first time that AOL's children's unit, KOL, has produced original fare for TV, although the unit previously licensed the animated "Princess Natasha" cartoon series to the Cartoon Network.

Programs in the Saturday morning block will focus on health, nutrition, and activity, said Malcolm Bird, senior vice president and general manager, KOL. The roster includes three original shows: the video game spin-off "Dance Revolution," "CAKE"--described by Bird as "Martha Stewart for kids"--and "Horseland." Existing DIC shows included in the deal include "Madeline" and "The Animated Trollz."

The shows also will be available on demand online, along with Web-only add-ons, such as behind-the-scenes clips and program-related games. KOL also will use the "Natasha" character for public service announcements promoting nutrition.

Ad deals--both online and on TV--are still coming together, Bird said. He added that he expects that the marketers that advertise on the TV shows also will purchase online inventory.