UNIVERSAL STUDIOS CONSUMER PRODUCTS GROUP ANNOUNCES HEROES LICENSING PARTNERS
Product Tied to Television's #1 New Series to Release in Q3/Q4 2007
UNIVERSAL CITY, Calif., -- July 26, 2007 -- Universal Studios Consumer Products Group today announced the first partners tapped to create product based on Heroes, the #1 new series on television for the 2006-2007 season. The group named industry leaders DC Comics, Random House, Mezco Toyz, Topps and others to lead the charge across a full range of product categories. Starting with an extensive publishing program, trading cards, apparel, stationery/social expression, action figures and an interactive game, initial Heroes product will begin to appear on store shelves in time for the new season launch on NBC Sept. 24, 2007, and shortly after the launch of Season 1 on DVD and HD DVD on Aug. 28, 2007.
"Heroes is an unbelievable breakout hit and one of the most popular series in NBC's history," said Cindy Chang, Vice President of Global Business Development, Universal Studios Consumer Products Group. "There is a dedicated fanbase out there who has proven through various online applications to have a strong hunger for Heroes beyond the TV screen, and this new merchandising program will provide them with a fulfilling Heroes experience."
"We are very pleased to announce this very select group of heroic partners. With every Heroes branded product, we hope to immerse our fans in the world of their favorite show," said Tim Kring, creator-executive producer, Heroes.
The Heroes merchandising line will capitalize on the rich storylines seen in the popular series, and in some instances, extend the story beyond what is seen on television.
The publishing category is the cornerstone of the early licensing program. Expanding on the comic book lore created by the series, DC Comics will develop a hardcover compilation book of the popular online Heroes graphic novels currently available on NBC.com. The new book, which is slated to be available worldwide this fall, will also include the original Tim Sale artwork as seen on the show, offering fans a one-of-a-kind entertainment collectible. Random House will introduce "Saving Charlie," an original novel based on the characters Hiro and Charlie created by Tim Kring. The story is scheduled for release in late 2007. Finally, Titan Publishing will launch the official Heroes magazine. A bi-monthly publication uniquely presented in comic book style, the magazine will lift the lid on the lives of the stars of the show, from the actors and actresses to the back room special effects experts.
In addition to the publishing program, Universal has named several top-tier partners to create product for release this fall and winter in the U.S. and Canada. Trading card manufacturer Topps has been tapped for a full line of trading cards featuring the Heroes characters and in-depth episodic coverage. The trading card packs will also include randomly inserted one-of-a-kind rare cards such as autographs, hand-drawn artist sketches and cards embedded with a piece of actual costume material worn on the show. WizKids Inc., a subsidiary of Topps and creator of the award-winning "Clix" Collectible Miniatures Game system, will be adding Heroes into their HeroClix line, which already includes characters from the DC, Marvel and Dark Horse universes. MeadWestvaco will introduce a 2008 calendar, and Scorpio Posters will add traditional wall posters to the merchandising mix. In addition, Changes will develop an officially licensed Heroes apparel line.
Premier collectibles maker, Mezco Toyz will be responsible for developing toys and specialty product including collectible action figures, dioramas and deluxe figures in a variety of scale sizes ranging from 3" to 18", all inspired by the characters and themes from the Heroes universe. Mezco's Heroes product will hit retail in early 2008.
Finally, Universal Pictures Digital Platforms Group and Ubisoft, one of the world's largest video game publishers, are partnering to create an interactive video game based on and inspired by the Heroes universe.
At San Diego International Comic-Con (July 26-29, 2007), fans can learn about the upcoming second season at the Heroes Screening and Panel taking place Saturday, July 28. Fans eager for more information on the forthcoming consumer products may visit NBC's Heroes-themed booth (#3912) or licensee booths including DC Comics (#1915), Mezco Toyz (#4145), Random House (#1135), Titan Publishing (#5437), Topps (#5536) and WizKids (#2743). In addition, Topps and NBC will be distributing new collectible Heroes promotional trading cards at their booths each day of the show while Tim Sale will be signing at the DC Comics booth on Friday, July 27 from 4:30 p.m. � 5:30 p.m. and Saturday, July 28, from 4:00 p.m. � 5:00 p.m. Random House will celebrate the announcement of its Heroes book by asking fans to help make 1,000 cranes at their booth by the end of the show. Random House will offer prizing for every 100th crane submitted.
Heroes, which airs domestically Mondays at 9:00 p.m. ET on NBC, racked up critical acclaim and became a fan favorite in its first season. Named one of Time magazine's 10 Best U.S. TV shows of 2006, the show scooped up eight Emmy� nominations, two Golden Globe� nominations and also received the 2007 People's Choice Award for Favorite New TV Drama. Season 2 of the series has been picked up by NBC for a full 2007-2008 order, launching Sept. 24, 2007.
On the international front, several licenses have been confirmed with product launching in late 2007. GBEye Limited will launch a series of posters in the UK while Trademark will handle apparel in that territory and Danilo Promotions Ltd. will develop 2008 calendars for both the UK and Ireland. In Italy, Edibas Srl. will unveil a series of calendars, stickers and photo albums later this year while partner ZigZag will launch posters in Germany during the same timeframe.
The Heroes television series has so far been licensed in nearly 150 international territories and began launching with great success in markets across the globe beginning in January 2007. In Australia, it premiered on the Seven network as the #1 program of the day among programs on all channels -- and produced the largest premiere audience in Australia since Lost and Desperate Housewives in 2005.
In the United Kingdom, Heroes delivered the largest audience ever in SCI FI UK's history and is gearing up for its launch on BBC Two this summer. In Spain, it delivered the #1 and #2 highest-rated telecasts in the history of SCI FI Spain, and also ranks as the #1 telecast so far in 2007 of any U.S. series on the FORTA regional channels Canal 2 (Andalusia), TV3 (Catalonia), Telemadrid (Madrid) and Canal 9 (Valencia). Heroes secured another #1 milestone in Singapore as the #1 program of the day on Star World versus all entertainment channels in the territory. Similar success was found in New Zealand, where the series was TV3's highest rated program of the entire week, and Latin America also saw significant time period wins in Brazil, Mexico, Chile and Colombia. Upcoming international premiere launches include Germany and Russia, with additional territories to be announced. Heroes is distributed outside of the U.S. and Canada by NBC Universal International Television Distribution.
Universal Studios Consumer Products Group is further developing the Heroes product line and is seeking licensing partners across a range of additional categories, including headwear, fashion bags and other accessories; fine art; games; collectible figures; novelty items; and more. New licensing partners will be announced by Universal in the near future.
From creator/writer Tim Kring (NBC's "Crossing Jordan") comes the Emmy and Golden Globe nominated "Heroes," (Mondays 9-10 p.m. ET on NBC) an epic drama that chronicles the lives of ordinary people who discover they possess extraordinary abilities. In its first season, "Heroes" was honored with a People's Choice Award, an AFI Award, a Multicultural Prism Award and this year's TV Land Future Classic Award, as well as nominations at the Golden Globe Awards, NAACP Image Awards, WGA Awards and Satellite Awards.
As a total eclipse casts its shadow across the globe, a genetics professor (Sendhil Ramamurthy, "Blind Guy Driving") in India is led by his father's murder to uncover a secret theory -- there are people with super powers living among us. A young dreamer (Milo Ventimiglia, "Gilmore Girls") who tries to convince his politician brother (Adrian Pasdar, "Judging Amy") that he can fly. A high school cheerleader (Hayden Panettiere, "Ice Princess") learns that she is totally indestructible while trying to relate to her father (Jack Coleman, "Dynasty") who has a keen interest in people with special abilities. A Las Vegas single mother (Ali Larter, "Final Destination") struggles to make ends meet to support her young son (Noah Gray-Cabey, "My Wife & Kids") and discovers that her mirror image has a secret. A fugitive from justice (Leonard Roberts, "Buffy the Vampire Slayer") continues to baffle authorities who twice have been unable to contain him. A gifted artist (Santiago Cabrera, "Empire"), whose drug addiction is destroying his life and relationship with his girlfriend (Tawny Cypress, NBC's "Third Watch"), can paint the future. A down-on-his-luck Los Angeles beat cop (Greg Grunberg, "Alias") can hear people's thoughts, which puts him on the trail of an elusive serial killer. In Japan, a young man (Masi Oka, NBC's "Scrubs") develops a way to stop time through sheer will power. Their ultimate destiny is nothing less than saving the world�
Joining Kring as executive producer are Dennis Hammer (NBC's "Crossing Jordan"), Allan Arkush (NBC's "Crossing Jordan") and Greg Beeman ("Smallville"). The drama is produced by Universal Media Studios in association with Tailwind Productions.
About Universal Studios Consumer Products Group
Universal Studios Consumer Products Group is responsible for global licensing and retail strategies as well as building brand recognition of the extensive catalogue of NBC Universal properties. Universal Studios Consumer Products Group is a unit of NBC Universal, one of the world's leading media and entertainment companies in the development, production, and marketing of entertainment, news, and information to a global audience. Formed in May 2004 through the combining of NBC and Vivendi Universal Entertainment, NBC Universal owns and operates a valuable portfolio of news and entertainment networks, a premier motion picture company, significant television production operations, a leading television stations group, and world-renowned theme parks. NBC Universal is 80%-owned by General Electric, with 20% owned by Vivendi.