plans for Kermit Channel "premature"
of Hallmark Entertainment
May 15, 1998
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.
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.