Advanced Television

Beyond Entertainment, Custom Nuts form Beyond Custom Nuts

February 6, 2023

Beyond Entertainment, part of content powerhouse, Banijay, has entered into a new partnership with independent animation and creative studio, Custom Nuts.

The partners have agreed a slate development deal to co-produce cutting-edge animated series for the international market, with the first three projects (Jock and Sunny, Shape & Shapers and Classical Chaos) launching this month at Kidscreen. Further developments will be added from the pipeline through 2023 and into future years.

Melinda Wearne, Beyond Entertainment’s executive charged with scripted development and production across kids and premium drama, has been driving the new relationship. With a wealth of experience, she has overseen the production of numerous award-winning animated and live-action series for prominent networks including Warner Media, Netflix, ABC and China’s CCTV. These include Netflix Original Beat Bugs, winner of the 2017 Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Writing in a Pre-school Animated Program, Motown Magic for Netflix, and Hoopla Doopla, a co-production between ABC and CCTV in China, which she also created.

Custom Nuts was co-founded in 2019 by Silas Hickey (formerly APAC regional head of development and original production at WBD’s Cartoon Network) and Matthew Howison. With a diverse slate of original and co-developed content with major studios and media platforms across the APAC region and beyond, the company was established to combine the best of Japanese anime and western cartoons into a new kind of hybrid animated entertainment. Based in Tokyo, it also has offices in Hong Kong and Los Angeles.

Melinda Wearne of Beyond Entertainment comments: “This new co-production venture combines Beyond’s strength in scripted storytelling and its international reach, with the unique creative talents of the Custom Nuts team to present an exciting opportunity for us both. Our partner’s knowledge of, and expertise in, both anime and western cartoon narratives gives it a unique edge and together we are well placed to create and deliver truly global entertainment. We are thrilled to announce this new partnership and cannot wait to formally introduce Beyond Custom Nuts titles at Kidscreen.”

Silas Hickey of Custom Nuts adds: “The opportunity to combine anime and western cartoon storytelling, and formal aesthetics, is a creative vision that I have always been driven to fulfil. Beyond Custom Nuts was formed to solve these kinds of complex transnational

conundrums. Beyond’s scale and expertise will help us to accelerate the time from script to screen without compromising on quality – or our creative vision – and will allow us jointly to retain more control and ownership over our IP as we take it out to the market. We have exciting times ahead.”

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