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BVS Entertainment, Inc.
FormerlySaban Productions, Inc. (1980–1988)
Saban Entertainment, Inc. (1988–2001)[1][2][3]
IndustryAnimation
Filmmaking
Founded1980; 42 years ago (1980)
FoundersHaim Saban
Shuki Levy
DefunctOctober 1, 2002; 19 years ago (2002-10-01)[1][2][3]
FateAcquired by The Walt Disney Company
SuccessorsBVS Entertainment
Saban Brands
HeadquartersLos Angeles, California, U.S.
Area served
Worldwide
ProductsTelevision programs
Theatrical films
OwnerHaim Saban (1980–2001)
News Corporation (1996–2001)
ParentFox Family Worldwide
SubsidiariesSaban International N.V.
Saban International Services, Inc.
Saban International Paris (Sold off in 2002)
Libra Pictures

Saban Entertainment, Inc. (along with Saban International; currently operating under the legal name is BVS Entertainment, Inc.) was a worldwide-served independent American-Israeli television production company formed in 1980 by Haim Saban[1] and Shuki Levy, which was originally founded as a music production company Saban Productions. The first TV show produced by Saban is the live action/animated show Kidd Video.

The company imported, dubbed, and adapted several Japanese series such as Maple Town, Noozles, Funky Fables, Samurai Pizza Cats, and the first three Digimon series to North America and international markets syndication, including both animation and live-action shows. Saban also adapted various tokusatsu shows from Toei Company, including Power Rangers (based on the Super Sentai series), Big Bad Beetleborgs (based on Juukou B-Fighter), VR Troopers (featuring elements of Metal Hero series like Space Sheriff Shaider, Jikuu Senshi Spielban, and Choujinki Metalder), and Masked Rider (an original interpretation using scenes from the Japanese Kamen Rider Black RX).

Saban was involved in the co-production of French/American animated shows created by Jean Chalopin for DIC Entertainment. Some of these early 1980s co-productions were Camp Candy, Ulysses 31, Jayce and the Wheeled Warriors, and The Mysterious Cities of Gold (the third of which was a Japanese co-production).

Saban has also distributed and provided music for TV programs produced by other companies, such as The Super Mario Bros. Super Show!, Inspector Gadget and the first two dub seasons of Dragon Ball Z.

Saban also operated a production company Libra Pictures, which was targeted to older audiences than it was on Saban's usual kid-friendly output,[4] as well as a syndicated subsidiary Saban Domestic Distribution, whose primarily purpose was to distribute shows for first-run and off-net syndication.[5]

History

Early years

Saban Entertainment was formed in 1980 as Saban Productions, which was initially a music production company. The first Saban logo depicted a Saturn-like planet with "Saban," in a Pac-Man style font, going across the planet's ring. Several years later, the company created a division (Saban International N.V.) based in both the United States and the Netherlands for the international distribution of its shows (not to be confused with the interchangeable "Saban International Paris" as they were two different entities). In 1983, it formed a longtime relationship with DIC Enterprises, to create soundtracks for the programs, and also soundtrack outsourcing to different companies like Ruby-Spears Enterprises and Filmation.[6][7]

In 1984, Saban moved into production outright with its first ever television program Kidd Video, which was in co-production with DIC Enterprises, and it was picked up by NBC as part of the 1984-85 Saturday morning children's programming block.[8] The next project produced by Saban themselves is Macron 1, a compilation of various unrelated Japanese anime shows, and relies on pop music, which was picked up for syndication by Orbis Communications for the fall of 1986.[9]

In 1986, Saban Productions bought the foreign rights to the DIC Enterprises library of children's programming from DIC's parent DIC Animation City and then sold the rights to Jean Chalopin's C&D. DIC then sued Saban for damages and in 1991, DIC and Saban reached a settlement. In 1987, DiC expanded its relationship with Saban Productions to co-produce its series, a relationship that eventually lasted until it was hit by a lawsuit in 1990.[10] That year, both DIC and Saban Productions teamed up with NBC to provide series commitments to I'm Telling! and The New Archies, which was committed to 26 and 13 segments, respectively.[11]

On June 10, 1987, Saban Productions, who was the largest suppliers for music and TV, and producer of four Saturday morning animated series, is expanding to live-action TV and theatrical features, and the company has its boards on a made-for-television feature for the NBC television network, a late-night hour series for CBS, a first-run strip for syndication and a theatrical feature film, and the company is freefalling some of its projects, and had a pilot Love on Trial, for the fall 1988 strip, which doesn't have a distributor for the property yet, but says Saban is marketing the first-run strip, making use of some of the selling techniques applied to the marketing of kid-vid in syndication, as well as fully financing Hidden Rage, and putting up a modest $1.5 million for film, which Saban promised it was going to look like TV's $6 million, because the founder doesn't have the studio overhead and built-in excess, and teaming up with Ron Ziskin and his Four Point Entertainment on a late-night hour program Shocking But True, for CBS, to appeal fans of the young audience, but all the projects were never realized.[12]

In late October 1987, Saban Productions had obtained three independently produced projects as part of the real first slate for the NATPE conference, and the first strips would be Love Court, in collaboration with television syndicator Orbis Communications, and the other strip would be the first game show which was set to be on Six Flags, All-American Family Challenge, which gave us a $20 million set that they work and didn't have to build, and the third pilot strip aimed at youths were Alphy's Hollywood Power Party, which will be a teen celebrity dance show, and the fourth project was a network game show version of the board game Uno, which was set for NBC, and was to be produced by Peter Berlin and Rob Fiedler, who joined Saban shortly after Wordplay was cancelled.[13]

In 1988, Saban Productions and Washington-based newspaper columnist Jack Anderson will offer four quarterly specials under the branding American Expose, with then-future Cops creator/producer John Langley and Malcolm Barbour serving as producers.[14] It is revealed that Orbis Communications, who already syndicated Saban's Macron 1 was signed on to distribute the programs.[15] Newly created Saban International N.V, was to handle distribution of the same programs, as well as signing up for distribution of non-Saban television material.[16] It is reported that Saban International N.V. would handle international sales of DiC programs such as Hey Vern, It's Ernest, until a lawsuit hit in 1990.[17]

In early 1989, the company renamed itself Saban Entertainment, Inc.[citation needed] As the company grew, additional executives were hired to push into new areas like prime time programming. Saban hired Stan Golden from Horizon International TV to head their Saban international distribution arm. Then in August 1989, Tom Palmieri came from MTM Enterprises to become Saban president.

By January 2, 1990, Saban formed Saban/Scherick Productions division for production done with Edgar Scherick, primarily miniseries and made-for-TV movies.[18] Around this time, they also began distributing the film library of New World Pictures (which had been sold by New World to Trans-Atlantic Films, composed of ex-New World employees) to television stations. CLT in Luxembourg had signed a deal with Saban to market TV shows.[19]

In 1990, Saban entered into a partnership with video game publisher Acclaim Entertainment and syndicator Bohbot Entertainment to develop the program Video Power.[20] Also that year, Saban started Saban Video, with distribution being handled by Video Treasures.[21] In 1991, Saban Entertainment has struck a deal with home video deal Prism Entertainment in order that Prism would gave home video distribution rights and Saban International gaining international distribution rights.[22] By the following year of 1992, Saban signed a domestic distribution deal with Bohbot Communications to handle Around the World in 80 Dreams for syndication.[23]

Partnership with Marvel Entertainment Group and News Corporation

In 1992, Saban partnered with the Marvel Entertainment Group to produce an animated series based on Marvel's comic-book heroes the X-Men. Saban obtained the rights in a joint partnership with PolyGram Filmed Entertainment and the Fox Children's Network, becoming Saban's first hit program and the company's first breakthrough, teaming up with another company.[24] The series ran until 1997. On August 28, 1993, Saban brought another hit to the Fox Kids lineup, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, an adaptation of the Japanese Super Sentai franchise. In 1994 alone, licensed Power Rangers merchandise made Saban over a billion dollars in profits.[25] At different times in the 1980s, both Loesch and Saban had attempted adaptations of these shows, but had found themselves repeatedly rejected by other networks.[26][27][28]

New World Animation (The Incredible Hulk), Saban (X-Men), and Marvel Films Animation (Spider-Man) each produced a Marvel series for television.[29] Later on in 1992, Saban formed a syndication subsidiary, Saban Domestic Distribution.[5] The $50 million development slate was unveiled, and David Goodman, formerly of Goodman Entertainment Group was served as senior vide president of the company.[30] Later in 1994, Saban signed a deal with A*Vision Entertainment to distribute cassettes under the Saban Home Entertainment and Libra Home Entertainment banners.[31]

In 1994, Saban Entertainment launched Libra Pictures in an effort to gear films for older audiences, while the Saban name was used for kid-friendly material, in a similar manner what The Walt Disney Studios and Touchstone Pictures would have to offer.[4] Also later that year, Saban launched a partnership/joint venture with UPN to start the UPN Kids block.[32] The block would eventually debut on September 10, 1995, with the first two shows Space Strikers and Teknoman.[33] In 1995, the Saban Interactive unit is producing CD-ROM software based on the Power Rangers franchise.[34]

On October 17, 1995, Lance Robbins was made then president of motion pictures and television at the studio, and he was formerly at the Libra Pictures division.[35] On November 3, 1995, Saban Entertainment and the Fox Broadcasting Company entered into a partnership that the two companies would create children's programing channels and services, develop and distribute programing and build licensing and merchandising opportunities on a global basis, and helped to expand its programming immediately.[36]

In July 1996, Fox Children's Network secured rights from Marvel Entertainment Group for Captain America, Daredevil and Silver Surfer and additional characters to be developed into four series and 52 episodes over seven years.[37] Also in the same month, Saban formed a new division, Saban Enterprises International, to handle international licensing, merchandising and promotional activities under president Michael Welter. Oliver Spiner, senior vice president of Saban International, took over operational duties previously handled by Welter. Eric S. Rollman was promoted from senior vice president production to executive vice president of Saban Animation.[38]

Also in 1996, Fox Children's Network merged with Saban Entertainment to form Fox Kids Worldwide, which included the Marvel Productions and Marvel Films Animation library.[39][40][41] Also that year, Saban debuted its first FCC-friendly series The Why Why Family.[42] Shortly afterwards, Saban terminated its deal with WarnerVision, and decided that they would move itself to Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment.[43] In 1998, its syndication unit Saban Domestic Distribution announced that they would refocus on develop movies for syndication outside of the Twentieth Century Fox and Saban stations.[44]

Marvel was developing a Captain America animated series with Saban Entertainment for Fox Kids to premiere in fall 1998.[45] However, due to Marvel's bankruptcy, the series was canceled before the premiere.[46] Both Marvel and Saban would become parts of The Walt Disney Company; Saban (renamed BVS Entertainment) in 2002 and Marvel by the end of 2009. Then in 2010, Haim Saban founded a new company, Saban Capital Group (SCG); they produced shows under the name Saban Brands, such as all Power Rangers seasons starting with Power Rangers Samurai and Glitter Force.[47]

BVS Entertainment

On July 23, 2001, it was announced that the group would be sold to The Walt Disney Company as part of the sale of Fox Family Worldwide/Fox Kids Worldwide (now ABC Family Worldwide) by Haim Saban and News Corporation,[48] and on October 24, 2001, the sale was completed[1][2] and the group was renamed BVS (Buena Vista Studios) Entertainment.[3] The last official program and fully produced and distributed by both Saban Entertainment, Inc and Saban International N.V. Holland was Power Rangers Time Force, which ran between February 3 to December 15, 2001 – however, Power Rangers Wild Force was the last series created by Saban (Saban created the series and produced only pre-production, following the acquisition of Fox Family Worldwide, the show was copyrighted to Disney and was distributed by BVS, although the show was produced by MMPR Productions, the producer of the Power Rangers series during the Saban era from 1993 to 2001).

Haim Saban left Saban International Paris in the same year and was eventually split and sold off from Saban Entertainment to become an independent studio. Disney would eventually purchase a 49% minority stake in this division, which on October 1, 2002, was renamed to SIP Animation, which continued producing content until 2009.[citation needed]

Sensation Animation

One portion of Saban Entertainment was renamed Sensation Animation on September 9, 2002;[49] this had been Saban's division for ADR production and post-production services for anime, and was created so that Disney could continue dubbing Digimon (the second half of Digimon Tamers and Digimon Frontier) episodes. This division ceased operations on July 14, 2003, after Disney lost the rights to dub Digimon. Disney however would go on to dub and distribute the previously un-dubbed four Digimon movies; Revenge of Diaboromon (DA02), Battle of Adventurers (DT), Runaway Locomon (DT) and Island of the Lost Digimon (DF) in 2005 and the fifth TV season, Digimon Data Squad in 2007, but this time the dubbing was handled by post-production studio Studiopolis. The majority of the previous cast members returned sans some actors, like Joshua Seth.

Saban International Paris

Main article: SIP Animation

Saban International Paris, later SIP Animation, was a television production company based in France that operated from 1977 to 2008.

Saban International Paris was founded in France by Haim Saban and Jacqueline Tordjman in 1977 as a record company. In 1989, Saban International Paris moved into the animation field.[50] The studio would go on to produce many animated series for Fox Kids Europe in the 1990s and 2000s. Haim Saban departed the company in 2001 with the purchase of Fox Family Worldwide, which was followed by The Walt Disney Company taking a stake in the company and a name change to SIP Animation on October 1, 2002.[51][52][53] SIP continued to co-produce animated series with Jetix Europe (previously Fox Kids Europe) during the 2000s.[54][55] SIP Animation was closed[56] in 2009.[57]

List of television series and films

Animated TV series

Saban Entertainment

Saban International Paris

For shows produced after SIP became independent in 2002, see SIP Animation.

Some of the shows featured the "Saban's" corporate bug in their title. Saban Entertainment itself is not listed.

Foreign television series

Saban Entertainment dubbed and or distributed the following foreign television series in English:

Live-action TV series

Saban Entertainment produced and or distributed the following live action TV series:

Live-action films

Animated films/specials

Media releases

Digimon

Power Rangers

Others

Saban's library

In 1996, the company had a library of more than 3,700 half-hours of children's programming, making it one of the largest in the world.[73] By the time they were sold to Disney in 2001, their library had increased to over 6,500 half-hours of children's programing.[74]

The Fox Kids/Saban Entertainment library today is mostly owned by The Walt Disney Company, with a few exceptions:

References

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