It's Zhu x 2 as Nelvana and Cepia Launch ZhuZhu Pets®!

Nelvana to Create New TV Series and Drive Global Merchandising as Cepia Brings Back Hamsters

TORONTO, Feb. 13, 2015 /CNW/ - Get ready for the return of the world's most beloved robotic pets – ZhuZhu Pets®Corus Entertainment's Nelvana, one of the world's leading international producers and distributors of children's animated and live-action content, today announced a partnership with Cepia, LLC the innovative toy company behind the multi-billion dollar ZhuZhu Pets brand. The agreement includes plans to bring the pets back to store shelves, and will see Nelvana Studio produce a new animated series based upon the property. Nelvana Enterprises will also oversee global merchandising of the brand in conjunction with the distribution of the new series.

In anticipation of the arrival of new content, Cepia will be reintroducing the original 'fab four' hamster toys refreshed with an all-new look for fall 2015. Mr. Squiggles, Pipsqueak, NumNums and Chunk will all don renewed features which will enhance their realistic qualities and add playful personality to the pets. The range will also introduce an additional two new characters, pink and white "Jilly" and lavender colored "Tulip". Building on the classic characteristics that kids loved in the original pets, this iteration will embrace their wacky, unpredictable behavior and ability to act just like real pets do.

"We are incredibly excited to be working on a highly sought-after brand that has already proven to have sizable success with kids," said Andrew Kerr, Co-Head of Nelvana Enterprises. "We look forward to reimagining the brand, alongside Cepia, to bring ZhuZhu Pets to life on screen and further expand the brand's offering for kids around the world."

The original line of ZhuZhu Pets took the world by storm six years ago and was awarded one of TIME Magazine's "Top 100 Toys of All Time" and was named Toy of the Year in the U.S., UK, Australia, Brazil, Norway, and Czech Republic. With global retail sales exceeding $2 billion and over 70 million pieces sold in 2 years, the re-launch of ZhuZhu Pets gives one of the most successful brands in toy history a new life and offers more kids the joy of having a furry friend without all the mess.    

"ZhuZhu Pets have always had distinct personalities so bringing the characters to life through entertainment is a natural evolution of the brand," said Cepia CEO and inventor of ZhuZhu Pets James Russell Honsby. "We are delighted to have found the perfect alliance with Nelvana to accomplish this dream and to create wonderful entertainment as well as new ways to enrich the brand experience with kids."

In 2009, ZhuZhu Pets sent the world into a hamster craze, establishing themselves as a child favourite. Combining wacky unpredictable behaviour and jam-packed personality, the ZhuZhu Pets appear to have a mind of their own, just like any real pet. Each ZhuZhu Pet is unique with its own name, biography, special symbol, and its own silly sound. Additionally, each pet has its own cute features and colors. It all synergizes to make a fun, collectible toy that is winning the hearts of children and parents across the globe.  

About Nelvana

Founded in 1971 as a small independent studio, Nelvana is now one of the world's leading international producers and distributors of children's animated and live-action content. Nelvana is comprised of Nelvana Studio and its distribution arm Nelvana Enterprises and owned by Corus Entertainment Inc. Nelvana Studio is a globally recognized studio that produces a stable of award-winning and globally renowned brands that focus on comedies, preschool and boys action. Nelvana's content airs on Corus Entertainment's kids channels in Canada and in over 160 countries around the world. The Nelvana library has well over 4,000 episodes of programming and has received over 70 major international program awards including Emmys® and Geminis. Visit the Nelvana website at nelvana.com.

About Cepia

Headquartered in St Louis, Mo., Cepia LLC is a privately held company that manufactures toys and games for children of all ages. The company was founded on the premise that sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. Ingenuity, creativity, playfulness and passion are the heart of Cepia and everything it creates. Cepia's toy building enterprises include: ZhuZhu Pets®, The Amazing Zhus™, The Happy's™, Cute Patooties™ and Glo-E™. ZhuZhu Pets has received top honor Toy of the Year recognition nine times in seven countries, including 2010 "Toy of the Year," "Most Innovative Toy" and "Best Girls Toy" at the 2010 TOTY Awards in the U.S.  All toys from Cepia LLC are sold globally through national chain retail outlets and independent toy stores. For more information, please visit www.cepiallc.com.

Follow Corus PR on Twitter @CorusPR
Follow Nelvana Enterprises on Twitter @NelvanaEnt

SOURCE Nelvana Limited

For further information: Kate Calder, Publicist, Corus Entertainment, 416.479.6319, kate.calder@corusent.com; Alison Grand, Grand Communications, 212.584.1133, alison@grandcommunications.com

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