Cookie Jar Group
Cookie Jar Group
  • CINAR (1976–2004)
  • CINAR Films Inc. (1976–2001)
  • CINAR Corporation (1997–2004)
  • Cookie Jar Entertainment Inc. (2004–2012)
Company typeSubsidiary
IndustryTelevision production
DIC Entertainment
Founded1976; 48 years ago (1976)
FoundersMicheline Charest
Ronald A. Weinberg
DefunctDecember 25, 2014; 9 years ago (2014-12-25)
FateAcquired by, merged with, and folded into DHX Media
SuccessorDHX Media
HeadquartersOfficial office:
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
International offices:
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Burbank, California, U.S.
Number of locations
3 (2006)
Area served
Key people
Michael Hirsh (CEO)
Lesley Taylor (President)
ParentDHX Media (2012–2014)
DivisionsCookie Jar Entertainment
Cookie Jar Education
Cookie Jar Consumer Products
Horn Rims Productions
Copyright Promotions Licensing Group
The evolution of WildBrain
1968FilmFair London is founded
1971DIC Audiovisuel is founded
1972Strawberry Shortcake brand is first developed
1974CPLG is founded
1976CINAR and Colossal Pictures are founded
1982DIC Enterprises is founded
1984Ragdoll Productions is founded
1987DIC Audiovisuel closes
1988Studio B Productions is founded
1992Epitome Pictures is founded
1993DIC Enterprises becomes DIC Entertainment
1994Wild Brain is founded‚ and Red Rover Studios is founded, DIC Entertainment brands as The Incredible World of DIC
1995Platinum Disc Corporation is founded
1996CINAR buys FilmFair's library
1997Decode Entertainment is founded
1999Wild Brain acquires Colossal Pictures' employee base
2002Nerd Corps Entertainment is founded
2004Halifax Film Company is founded, CINAR rebrands as Cookie Jar Group
2005Platinum Disc Corporation merge as Echo Bridge Home Entertainment
2006Decode and Halifax Film merge as DHX Media, DIC acquires CPLG, and Ragdoll Worldwide is formed with BBC Worldwide
2007DHX Media buys Studio B Productions and Wild Brain becomes Wildbrain Entertainment
2008Cookie Jar Group absorbs DIC and House of Cool absorbs Red Rover Studios
2010DHX Media buys Wildbrain Entertainment‚ and Peanuts Worldwide is founded
2011Decode Entertainment and Red Rover Studios closes
2012DHX Media buys Cookie Jar Group
2013DHX Media buys Ragdoll Worldwide
2014DHX Media buys Epitome Pictures, Nerd Corps, and Echo Bridge Home Entertainment's family content library; Cookie Jar Group is absorbed
2016The WildBrain multi-channel network launches and Studio B and Nerd Corps merge as DHX Studios
2017Wildbrain Entertainment closes; DHX Media buys Peanuts Worldwide and Strawberry Shortcake
2018Halifax Film becomes Island of Misfits
2019DHX Media rebrands as WildBrain, Epitome Pictures closes, and the WildBrain MCN becomes WildBrain Spark
2020CPLG becomes WildBrain CPLG
2021Echo Bridge Home Entertainment closes
2023WildBrain acquires House of Cool
2024WildBrain Spark merged into it's parent company as WildBrain London thru it's YouTube network, digital studio and media solution businesses

DHX Cookie Jar Inc. (also known as Cookie Jar Group, originally known as CINAR, formerly known as Cookie Jar Entertainment Inc., or simply just Cookie Jar) was a Canadian media, production, animation studio, and distribution company owned by DHX Media. The company was first established in 1976 as CINAR Films Inc., a Montreal-based studio that was heavily involved in children's entertainment. The company's business model, which included the licensing of its properties into educational markets, had a significant impact on its success; by 1999, CINAR held CDN$1.5 billion of the overall children's television market.[1]

In the 2000s, CINAR became the subject of multiple business scandals, including accusations that the company had used offshore accounts to transfer money out of the company, had plagiarized the concept of one of its series, and had obfuscated the involvement of U.S. screenwriters in its productions in order to continue receiving Canadian tax credits for domestic productions. Over a decade later, these scandals would result in criminal charges, convictions, and fines for four suspects, which included two executives at the company, co-founder Ronald A. Weinberg and chief financial officer Hasanain Panju.

CINAR was sold in 2004 for $190 million to a group led by Michael Hirsh, the founder of Nelvana, and changed its name to Cookie Jar Group. In 2008, they agreed to acquire DIC Entertainment, expanding its library. On August 20, 2012, DHX Media announced its intent to acquire Cookie Jar, in a deal that would make DHX the largest independent owner of children's television programming, and by December 25, 2014, Cookie Jar was folded into DHX Media.



CINAR logo used from 1984 to 2004, shown here is the 2000 variant, consisting of the 1992 variant on a blue oval.

After their meeting in New Orleans, Louisiana, in 1976, Micheline Charest and Ronald A. Weinberg organized an event for a women's film festival and worked at distributing foreign films to U.S. theatres. The couple moved to New York City and formed CINAR, a film and television distribution company.

In 1984, CINAR changed their focus from media distribution to production and moved operations to Montreal, Quebec, where they concentrated on family-oriented television programming, including The Little Lulu Show, Animal Crackers, Emily of New Moon, Mona the Vampire, and The Wombles, as well as the English and French dubs of the anime series Adventures of the Little Koala, Ronin Warriors, The Adventures of Albert and Sidney, and The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, the Spanish television series The World of David the Gnome, and the English dub of Ultraseven. As a production company, CINAR was also involved in the work of Are You Afraid of the Dark?, A Bunch of Munsch, The Busy World of Richard Scarry, Madeline (specials 2 to 6), The Real Story of Happy Birthday to You, The Country Mouse and the City Mouse Adventures, Space Cases, and its most well-known works, Arthur, Zoboomafoo, and Caillou.

The firm became a public company in September 1993.

On November 1, 1996, CINAR announced that they would purchase the programming library and animation unit of the London-based FilmFair from the Caspian Group for $10.5 million.[2] After the deal closed, CINAR reopened FilmFair and utilized its acquired catalogue to launch a dedicated London-based European production and distribution studio - CINAR Europe in March 1997. The aim of the new subsidiary was to produce, with FilmFair; revival series based on existing properties including The Wombles and The Adventures of Paddington Bear, and bring the existing FilmFair catalogue to the world.[3][4] Following CINAR's financial issues and the scandal, CINAR Europe was put up for sale in September 2001[5] but was closed in February 2002. The closure led to CINAR's European partners, like Alphanim, to find other studios to co-produce shows with.[6]

By 1999, CINAR boasted annual revenues of $150 million (CAD) and owned about $1.5 billion (CAD) of the children's television market. In February 1999, CINAR acquired the film library of Leucadia Film Corporation,[7] with the company's acquisition of 55 titles in the WonderWorks library following at the end of the year.[8] CINAR's rights to the Leucadia library and WonderWorks specials were purchased by Feature Films for Families in 2003.

CINAR also owned the dubbing studio Fandango Studios in Mexico City.[9]


See also: CINAR scandal

CINAR received over $50 million in tax benefits from the Canadian government. However, in 1999, the company was accused of falsely crediting Canadians for work done by Americans. Hélène Charest, the sister of Quebec Liberal Party leader Jean Charest, was listed on over 100 episodes that she did not write.[10]

The success of Charest, Weinberg, and CINAR ended in March 2000, when an internal audit revealed that about $167 million (CAD) was invested into Bahamian bank accounts without the board members' approval.[11] CINAR had also paid U.S. screenwriters for work while continuing to accept federal grants and tax credits for the production of Canadian content. The names of Canadian citizens (generally non-writers connected to CINAR, including Charest's sister Helene) were credited for the works. While the province of Quebec did not file criminal charges, CINAR denied any wrongdoing, choosing instead to pay a settlement to Canadian and Quebec tax authorities of $17.8 million (CAD) and another $2.6 million (CAD) to Telefilm Canada, a Canadian federal funding agency. The value of CINAR's stock plummeted, and the company was soon delisted.[12]

There was some speculation that Hasanain Panju, CFO was the mastermind behind the investment scheme along with John Xanthoudakis of Norshield Investment Group and Lino Matteo of Mount Real Corporation. It was claimed that Charest and Weinberg (and later Panju) used CINAR as a 'piggy bank' and schemed to transfer funds out from the company through a series of complicated transactions to their own offshore holding companies.[13]

In 2001, as part of a settlement agreement with the Commission des Valeurs Mobilières du Québec (Quebec Securities Commission), Charest and Weinberg agreed to pay $1 million each and were banned from serving in the capacity of directors or officers at any publicly traded Canadian company for five years. There was no admission of guilt and none of the allegations has been proven in court. Charest never lived to see a possible outcome, as she died on April 14, 2004.

On March 10, 2011, Weinberg was arrested for securities fraud after a warrant was issued for him to be taken into custody earlier that month.[14] On June 22, 2016, Weinberg was sentenced to 8 years and 11 months in prison, and the other two received sentences of 7 years and 11 months each.[15] On May 3, 2019, he was fully paroled.[16]

As Cookie Jar Group

On March 15, 2004,[17] CINAR was purchased for more than CA$190 million by a group led by Nelvana founder Michael Hirsh, and former Nelvana president Toper Taylor.[18] Two weeks later on March 29, the company was subsequently renamed Cookie Jar.[19]

On June 20, 2008, Cookie Jar Group announced a deal to acquire DIC Entertainment.[20] On July 23, 2008, the acquisition was completed,[21] and eventually DIC was folded into Cookie Jar's entertainment division. When Cookie Jar acquired DIC Entertainment, Cookie Jar also acquired Copyright Promotions Licensing Group and a one-third interest in the international children's television channel, KidsCo. Cookie Jar now has more than 6,000 half-hours of programming as well as rights to several children's brands. Also, DIC's headquarters were taken over by Cookie Jar for Burbank offices, and it was announced that Cookie Jar was in negotiation with American Greetings to buy the Care Bears, Strawberry Shortcake, and Sushi Pack franchises. The deal was not finalized yet in late 2008 and with the current scenario, the transaction did not progress.[22][23] On March 30, 2009, Cookie Jar made a $76 million counter bid for Care Bears and Strawberry Shortcake. Cookie Jar had until April 30, 2009, to complete a deal with American Greetings.[24] In May 2009, American Greetings filed a $100 million lawsuit against Cookie Jar and the company filed a $25 million lawsuit against American Greetings over the Care Bears and Strawberry Shortcake deal.[25]

In April 2009, the company hired Tom Mazza, formerly of TriStar Television and Paramount Television, as its executive vice president of worldwide television. Mazza planned to broaden Cookie Jar's slate by pursuing Canadian co-productions intended for global saley.[26] In February 2011, Cookie Jar announced a new imprint known as The Jar, which it intended to use on series targeting U.S. primetime television; its development slate included Lori Kirkland Baker's All Over You for Lifetime, Blah Girls for MTV, Andrew Orenstein's Lords of the Playground for CBS, and Steven E. de Souza's Spyburbia for Fox and Global.[27]

Acquisition by DHX Media

On August 20, 2012, DHX Media announced that they would acquire Cookie Jar Group for $111 million; the purchase made DHX the world's largest independent owner of children's television programming.[28][29][30] The acquisition was completed on October 22, 2012.[31][32]

Season 6 of Johnny Test was produced by Cookie Jar under the auspices of DHX Media after the merger, and the studio officially closed down after said series concluded its run on December 25, 2014.



Main article: List of WildBrain programs § CINAR/Cookie Jar Entertainment

Cookie Jar TV

Main article: Cookie Jar TV

At the time of Cookie Jar's acquisition of the company, DIC had been programming a weekend morning block for CBS known as KEWLopolis. On February 24, 2009, it was announced that CBS had renewed its contract with Cookie Jar for the block through 2012.[33][34] For the 2009–10 television season, the block was rebranded as Cookie Jar TV.[35][36] Beginning with the 2011–12 television season, Cookie Jar TV was branded as Team Toon in television promos outside the block. Cookie Jar TV was succeeded in 2013–14 by CBS Dream Team, which is programmed by Litton Entertainment.[37]

Cookie Jar Toons

Main article: Cookie Jar Toons

On November 1, 2008, This TV launched airing Cookie Jar's daily children's programming block Cookie Jar Toons which provided children's and E/I-oriented programming.[38][39]

Cookie Jar Kids Network

Main article: Cookie Jar Kids Network

Cookie Jar Kids Network (formerly DIC Kids Network) was a children's programming block that aired selected Cookie Jar programs on local Fox, MyNetworkTV, and independent stations to provide them with a source of educational and informational (E/I) programming required by American broadcast standards. Syndicated by Ascent Media,[40][41] it ceased broadcasting on September 18, 2011.


  1. ^ Scott, Sarah (May 26, 2000). "The MAN who Brought Down CINAR". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved March 14, 2017.
  2. ^ Jones, Dow (November 1996). "Cinar to Buy Film Library". The New York Times. Retrieved November 22, 2023.
  3. ^ Kelly, Brendan (March 25, 1997). "U.K.'S FERGUSON TO LEAD CINAR EUROPE". Variety. Retrieved November 22, 2023.
  4. ^ "A busy time for Cinar". Retrieved November 22, 2023.
  5. ^ "CINAR UP FOR SALE". Broadcast. Retrieved November 22, 2023.
  6. ^ "Alphanim In New Co-Production Deals". Animation World Network. Retrieved November 22, 2023.
  7. ^ Kelly, Brendan (February 9, 1999). "CINAR gets library, grows Viacom pact". Retrieved January 1, 2017.
  8. ^ Kelly, Brendan (December 2, 1999). "Cinar nabs Wonderworks' family pix". Variety. Retrieved July 4, 2022.
  9. ^ "Cinar journeys east again and snaps up more films in Utah".
  10. ^ Beard & White 2002, p. 69.
  11. ^ Swift, Allan (March 15, 2002). "CINAR Co-Founders Fined $1 Million Each, Banned From Company For Five Years". Canadian Press Newswire. Archived from the original on June 28, 2012.
  12. ^ "In Depth: Micheline Charest". CBC News Online. April 14, 2004. Retrieved September 7, 2006.
  13. ^ "Norshield CEO led 'cleanup'". Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved July 2, 2015.
  14. ^ "Arrest warrant issued for Cinar co-founder Ronald Weinberg". Montreal. March 2, 2011. Retrieved August 23, 2020.
  15. ^ Marotte, Bertrand (June 22, 2016). "Cinar founder Weinberg given nearly nine years in fraud case". The Globe and Mail.
  16. ^ "Cinar founder Ronald Weinberg gets full parole on 9-year sentence". Montreal Gazette.
  17. ^
  18. ^ "CINAR sold for $143.9 million US; new owner outlines growth strategy". CBC News. October 31, 2003. Retrieved September 7, 2006.
  19. ^ "CINAR turns into Cookie Jar". Variety. March 28, 2004. Retrieved March 14, 2017.
  20. ^ "Cookie Jar and DIC Entertainment to merge, creating independent global children's entertainment and education powerhouse". Cookie Jar Group. June 20, 2008. Archived from the original on May 31, 2009. Retrieved December 20, 2008.
  21. ^ "Cookie Jar Entertainment expands brands portfolio, talent and global reach with closing of DIC transaction". Cookie Jar Group. July 23, 2008. Archived from the original on May 31, 2009. Retrieved December 20, 2008.
  22. ^ "Pinoy Tambayan Entertainment to Acquire Philippine Greetings'" (Press release). Pinoy Tambayan Group. December 18, 2019. Retrieved December 18, 2019.
  23. ^ "American Greetings 2Q profit falls 73 pct on costs". San Francisco Chronicle. September 26, 2008. Archived from the original on December 11, 2008. Retrieved October 10, 2008.
  24. ^ "Bid puts 'Care Bears,' 'Shortcake' back in play". The Hollywood Reporter. April 2, 2009. Archived from the original on January 26, 2013. Retrieved April 3, 2009.
  25. ^ "Brooklyn-based American Greetings accuses Cookie Jar Entertainment of bad faith in Strawberry Shortcake, Care Bears deal". May 12, 2009. Archived from the original on June 7, 2011. Retrieved September 25, 2021.
  26. ^ "Mazza to have a hand in Cookie Jar". The Hollywood Reporter. April 29, 2009. Retrieved December 15, 2018.
  27. ^ "Kids Series Producer Cookie Jar Expands Into Primetime With Development Slate". Deadline. February 9, 2011. Retrieved March 16, 2017.
  28. ^ Vlessing, Etan (August 20, 2012). "DHX Media expands by buying Cookie Jar Entertainment". KidScreen. Retrieved December 26, 2012.
  29. ^ Clarke, Steve (August 20, 2012). "DHX grabs Cookie Jar: Canuck kids' entertainment companies combine". Chicago Tribune (Variety). Retrieved December 26, 2012.
  30. ^ "DHX MEDIA CLOSES ACQUISITION OF COOKIE JAR ENTERTAINMENT" (Press release). DHX Media. October 22, 2012. Archived from the original on October 14, 2013. Retrieved December 26, 2012.
  31. ^ Sylvain, Matthew (October 23, 2012). "DHX purchase of Cookie Jar completed". KidScreen. Retrieved December 26, 2012.
  32. ^ "CBS renews Cookie Jar Entertainment's saturday morning block for three more seasons". Cookie Jar Group. February 24, 2009. Archived from the original on May 31, 2009. Retrieved July 7, 2009.
  33. ^ "CBS Reups With Kids Programmer Cookie Jar". Broadcasting & Cable. February 24, 2009. Retrieved February 26, 2009.
  34. ^ "Zeroing in". kidscreen. May 8, 2009. Retrieved July 14, 2009.
  35. ^ "CBS Sets Lineup for Cookie Jar Block". WorldScreen. September 4, 2009. Archived from the original on September 7, 2009. Retrieved September 10, 2009.
  36. ^ Meg James (July 24, 2013). "CBS partners with Litton Entertainment for Saturday teen block". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 25, 2013.
  37. ^ "About Cookie Jar Entertainment". Cookie Jar Group. Archived from the original on January 28, 2013. Retrieved July 14, 2009.
  38. ^ "MGM launches this TV Network". MGM. July 28, 2008. Archived from the original on August 28, 2008. Retrieved July 14, 2009.
  39. ^ "Documents for "Cookie Jar a busy world"". Ascent Media. Retrieved March 11, 2010. [permanent dead link]
  40. ^ "Documents for "Cookie Jar Kids Network B"". Ascent Media. Retrieved March 11, 2010. [permanent dead link]

Works cited