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American plans for Kermit Channel "premature"

Coutesy of Hallmark Entertainment
May 15, 1998

The service will launch with about 2 million subscribers but is projected to increase to 8 million to 10 million subscribers within a year, according to Robert Halmi, Jr.

Although discussions have taken place between the two companies for a domestic U.S. Channel, there are no plans to move in that direction as yet, according to Charles Rivkin, president and chief operating officer of The Jim Henson Company. He has said that this is all about the international channel. Both companies are pursuing their options (relating to domestic activities) and there have been discussions, but that is premature. The domestic market involves a different economic equation.

Charles Rivkin has also expressed how extremely pleased he is to expand their relationship with Hallmark Entertainment in this way. Besides working with them on previous hits "Gulliver's Travels" & "Merlin", he also mentioned the TNT 2-hour adaptation of George Orwell's "Animal Farm" they are doing with them plus the recently announced sci-fi series, "Farscape", also a co-production with Hallmark for The Sci-Fi Channel. What's really exciting for us, he stated, is that they are at the beginning of a fantastic growth period for the company. Our programming output right now is higher than it ever has been and with Margaret Loesch in charge of the channel with George Stein he states that we are going to see something incredible.

The Kermit Channel will provide a children's program block in the morning with family entertainment and movies later in the day and at  night. The business plan for the Kermit Network is to move into profit in its third year of operation.

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