Corus links up with Thomas & Friends

Thomas and Friends
The deal with Mattel will see the preschool series air on Treehouse, while Nelvana will represent the Thomas the Tank Engine brand as its official Canadian licensing agent.

Corus Entertainment’s animation studio Nelvana has picked up the Canadian broadcast and merchandising rights to Mattel’s Thomas & Friends property.

Through the agreement, the Toronto-headquartered company becomes the Canadian licensing agent for the brand across all merchandise categories and will broadcast the property’s TV series, also called Thomas & Friends, on Corus’ Treehouse. Toy manufacturer Mattel will continue to hold the rights to the property’s toys in Canada.

Produced by Mattel, the franchise’s TV series – which the toyco announced would return for a 23rd season and receive three new 22-minute specials – follows a steam locomotive named Thomas The Tank Engine who comes to life. All told, the brand is available in more than 160 territories and 55 languages and encompasses more than 500 TV episodes, 12 feature films, various apps, toys, consumer products, publishing projects, live attractions and more. In 2020, Thomas & Friends will celebrate its 75th anniversary.

Earlier this year the show moved from its longtime U.S. broadcast partner PBS to Nick Jr., with Nick becoming the property’s U.S. licensing agent. In addition, this September, Mattel opened up a new business unit focused on developing and producing films inspired by its toy franchises.

Kicking off the deal, on Oct. 5 the feature Thomas & Friends: The Adventure Begins will air on Treehouse. Following the film, season 22 of Thomas & Friends will debut on the Canadian linear kids channel on Oct. 15 and air on weekdays at 11:50 a.m.

Season 19 to 21 of Thomas & Friends will also be available on Treehouse On Demand, Treehouse Classic and the TreehouseGO App.