The Jim Henson Company has formed an internal publishing division, Jim Henson Publishing, to house new franchises that will launch as books and ultimately expand to television, digital productions, and merchandise. The division’s first project, the chapter book series Enchanted Sisters, is launching with Bloomsbury Children’s Books this fall.
“We wanted our own strong girls’ franchise at Henson,” said Halle Stanford, executive v-p, children’s entertainment, who heads the new division and will author two of the Enchanted Sisters books. Enchanted Sisters, for girls 7-9, features four characters called Sparkles, who are the daughters of Mother Nature and are responsible for the turn of the seasons.
Stanford notes that there has been a recent burst of entertainment properties featuring empowered girls. “When we first sold this, there was no Sofia the First, there was no Frozen,” she said. “It used to be a real struggle to sell a series squarely aimed at girls. But now there are these incredibly successful girls’ franchises. So we think the timing is right.”
The first Enchanted Sisters book, Autumn’s Secret Gift, is scheduled for an August release, with subsequent titles, each starring a different sister, planned for winter 2014 and spring and summer 2015. Henson is about to start pitching the property for television; licensing and merchandising will likely follow the TV debut. (x)