Chinese streaming giant Youku has boarded Genius Brands International’s animated series Stan Lee’s Superhero Kindergarten.
The deal will see the Alibaba-backed streamer co-producing the children’s series – TBI Kids’ Top Pick for MIPCOM – and bringing it to Chinese audiences.
TBI understands that Youku has taken a stake in the show’s IP across broadcast, digital and licensing and merchandising – a major step as the Chinese firm looks to grow its footprint in the US.
Genius Brands and Youku will co-produce 52 x 11-minute episodes of the comedy action-adventure series, which will be available to Chinese audiences on Youku.
Genius Brands is also currently in active discussions with potential US partners. The business is debuting Stan Lee’s Superhero Kindergarten to international buyers at this year’s MIPJunior, which is currently taking place in Cannes.
Created by Stan Lee as one of his final projects, Stan Lee’s Superhero Kindergarten targets kids aged 4–7 and is also co-produced by Lee’s POW! Entertainment and Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Oak Productions.
Schwarzenegger, who also serves as executive producer, lends his voice as the lead character. Deadpool co-creator Fabian Nicieza is writing the series.
Exec producers also include Genius Brands’ chairman and CEO Andy Heyward, Main Street Advisors CEO Paul Wachter and POW! Entertainment president Gill Champion.
Heyward: “Youku is one of the most innovative media platforms in the world with an unparalleled ability to integrate entertainment and commerce. We look forward to collaborating with Youku to create a high-quality program in the preschool space that will resonate with a global audience.”
Aaron Liao, GM of Youku Kids, added: “With Stan Lee’s creativity, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s star power, and Genius Brands’ expertise in children’s entertainment, Superhero Kindergarten has all the elements to become a worldwide phenomenon. With Youku’s platform and technology, we are excited to help the program reach hundreds of millions of families in China and partner with Genius Brands to create this inspiring story for children around the world.”