Kids TV veterans launch Bento Box unit

Kids-logo-460_2Andrew DavenportA trio of veteran children’s television executives have partnered with Bob’s Burgers prodco Bento Box Entertainment to create a new kids and family production and licensing firm.

In the Night Garden creator and Teletubbies co-creator Andrew Davenport (right) and senior ex-Nelvana execs Irene Weibel and Andrew Kerr will work together on Sutikki, the new Bento Box unit.

Davenport’s participation is through his own prodco, Foundling Bird, which will work with Sutikki. The Bento Box division will be the primary production partner and global commercial product licensing rights manager for his new series, which is billed as “landmark” and for young children.

Davenport is best known as the creative director of Teletubbies prodco Ragdoll Productions. He left that business in 2010, before it sold its commercial division to Nelvana rival DHX Media, and joined Shine Group to launch a children’s-focused prodco, though this ultimately ended with ne new content created or commissions scored.

Irene WeibelWeibel (left) and Kerr (below right) are Sutikki’s co-founders, along with Bento Box CEO Scott Greenberg, who said: “Andrew Davenport has had a storied career as one of the world’s most prolific creators of innovative and popular preschool content, and he is the ideal creative talent for us to partner with as we establish ourselves in the kids marketplace globally.”

Weibel was previously VP and head of Nelvana Studios, where she oversaw development of series such as Hotel Transylvania, which debuts on Disney Channels Worldwide next year, and the upcoming Nickelodeon series The Mysticons.

Kerr was co-head of Nelvana Enterprises, overseeing all aspects of distribution and merchandising at Corus Kids. He had previously worked with Davenport as executive VP, global licensing and marketing at Ragdoll, where he looked after the Teletubbies and In the Night Garden.

Both companies sat within the Canadian media giant Corus Entertainment.

Andrew KerrToronto-based Nelvana helped Bento Box launch its first studio out of the US last year through the creation of Bento Box Canada. Nelvana and Bento at that point already had a production pact in place for Corus channel Teletoon at Night.

Greenberg said Davenport’s input, “coupled with the leadership of Irene and Andrew, two of the industry’s most talented and respected executives, will make us a formidable player in this space”.

Bento Box is best known for older-skewed animated series such as Fox’s Bob’s Burgers and Comedy Central’s Legends of Chamberlain Heights.

Sutikki – Japanese for ‘sticky’ – will be based in LA and target kids aged 2-11.

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