Newark, N.J., June 10, 2004 – IDT Entertainment today announced that through its home video subsidiary, Anchor Bay Entertainment, it has signed an exclusive agreement with Stephen J. Cannell Productions, Inc. to market and distribute hit television programs for the prestigious Cannell library. Featured programs include, “21 Jump Street,” “The Commish,” “Silk Stalkings,” “Hunter,” “The Greatest American Hero,” “Renegade,” as well as other well-known Cannell series. IDT Entertainment is a subsidiary of IDT Corporation (NYSE: IDT, IDT.C), a multinational carrier, telephone and technology company.
Stephen J. Cannell, Founder and Chairman of Stephen J. Cannell Productions, Inc., is well known as one of the television industry’s most prolific writers. During his career, Mr. Cannell created or co-created more than 40 shows and has written more than 450 television episodes. In addition, Mr. Cannell has produced or executive produced more than 1,500 television episodes. Cannell currently has in development “The A-Team” feature film at Fox 2000, “The Greatest American Hero” feature film at Disney and “21 Jump Street” at Paramount.
“Anchor Bay has become a leading independent distributor of direct to home DVD programming by working with great companies like Stephen J. Cannell Productions,” said Jim Courter, IDT’s CEO. “By adding classic Cannell dramas to its existing library of children’s, horror and fitness hits, Anchor Bay gains a new audience and ensures its position as an industry leader.”
Anchor Bay Entertainment has scheduled the first Cannell releases for fall 2004.
“I am thrilled to be working with Anchor Bay Entertainment, a company well-known for releasing quality entertainment on DVD,” commented Stephen J. Cannell. “Over the years, Anchor Bay has demonstrated what can be accomplished if creativity and care are part of the DVD process. I look forward to a long and creative partnership.”
“Stephen J. Cannell’s compelling, dramatic television programming will be a hit at retail,” said Ted Green, CEO of Anchor Bay Entertainment. “ Not only do we see a huge market with original Cannell fans, but we also believe programs like 21 Jump Street with Johnny Depp will find a receptive audience with a whole new generation of younger viewers.”
The agreement includes first run broadcast programs notable not only for launching the careers of many major stars but for their ratings success as well.
The young, hip police series “21 Jump Street” debuted in April 1987 on the then-new Fox Broadcasting Network. With Johnny Depp, Peter DeLuise, Dustin Nguyen and Holly Robinson in leading roles, the show quickly became the most popular series of Fox.
“The Commish,” starred Michael Chiklis as Commissioner Tony Scali and debuted in September 1991 on ABC. The series was based on a real-life police commissioner, Tony Schembri of Rye, New York.
Also debuting in the fall of 1991 was “Silk Stalkings.” The show starred Rob Estes as Sgt. Chris Lorenzo, Mitzi Kapture as Sgt. Rita Lee Lance and Ben Vereen as Captain Hutchinson. Based in wealthy Palm Beach, Florida, “Silk Stalkings” was an hour-long police drama that aired its first two seasons on CBS and the next six seasons on the USA Network.
Fred Dryer and Stephanie Kramer starred in the police drama “Hunter,” which originally debuted in 1984 on NBC. With a gun named Simon, Hunter was a L.A.P.D. detective with a tough but beautiful partner, Detective Sgt. Dee Dee McCall. The show enjoyed seven years in primetime.
“The Greatest American Hero” starred William Katt as a bumbling superhero. The series began airing in March of 1981 on ABC. Its theme song became a major hit record during that summer and has become a part of the TV-culture’s vernacular.
Debuting in 1992, “Renegade” starred Lorenzo Lamas as Reno Raines, a young policeman in Bay City, CA. The show aired on USA Network and also starred its creator, Stephen J. Cannell as Lt. Marshall Donald Dixon.
Stephen J. Cannell Productions, Inc. owns the worldwide distribution rights to more than 1,000 hours of Cannell produced series and TV movies.
IDT Entertainment, a division of IDT Corporation, is a vertically integrated entertainment concern that develops, produces and distributes proprietary and licensed entertainment content, with a particular focus on high-quality animation. IDT Entertainment is in the early stages of production on two proprietary CG animated feature films, Gene Roddenberry’s Starpoint Academy and a feature yet to be named, directed by Christopher Reeve. IDT Entertainment consists primarily of the following wholly owned or controlled subsidiaries:
· Anchor Bay Entertainment is one of the largest independent home video distributors of DVDs and videos to retail outlets, and has a significant presence in the children’s, horror and fitness genres. Anchor Bay’s library consists of over 3,500 owned or licensed titles, including the Thomas the Tank Engine series, the
Halloween series and the Crunch fitness series.
· Digital Production Solutions, or DPS, is a Computer Generated (CG) animation production company. DPS’s proprietary Global Animation Studio platform enables numerous animators at diverse locations to work cooperatively and simultaneously on the same animation project utilizing IDT’s telecommunications infrastructure.
· DPS Film Roman is a leading third-party provider of television animation services and special effects. Film Roman has been the animation studio for The Simpsons, King of the Hill, and Tripping the Rift, now airing on the Sci-Fi network.
· Mainframe Entertainment is a leading provider of CG animation for television and direct-to-video products such as the Barbie DVD collection for Mattel, Popeye and Scary Godmother.
· DKP Effects is a 3-D animation, and special effects production company, well known for its innovative work for movies and television.
IDT Entertainment has completed several investments and joint ventures to secure access to brand name characters and content as well as distribution channels for family-friendly content. In July 2003, IDT purchased a minority equity interest in Vanguard Animation and entered into a joint venture with Vanguard to co-produce and co-own future Vanguard properties distributed in theaters, direct-to-video and on television. Vanguard Animation is a CG animated feature film company founded by John Williams, the originating producer of Shrek. Vanguard’s initial production, Valiant, is the first in a series of four Vanguard-produced films to be distributed by Disney. IDT Entertainment has an equity interest in Archie Comics Entertainment as well as rights to co-develop and co-produce animated properties based upon selected Archie comics characters as well as Josie and the Pussycats and Sabrina, the Teenage Witch. IDT has also entered into a joint venture with the Christian Broadcasting Network to develop and distribute family-friendly programming. IDT Entertainment also owns a minority interest in Stan Lee’s POW! Entertainment. In connection with IDT Entertainment’s investment in POW!, the companies agreed to co-develop and co-produce a minimum of six animation projects for Direct-to-DVD distribution and broadcast. Recently, IDT Entertainment entered into a multi-faceted development, production, and distribution agreement with Todd McFarlane Productions (TMP) to produce animated programming and merchandise based on Spawn and other TMP original intellectual properties.
Important Note: In this press release, all statements that are not purely about historical facts, including, but not limited to, those with the words “believe,” “anticipate,” “expect,” “plan,” “intend,” “estimate, “target” and similar expressions, are forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. While these forward-looking statements represent IDT’s current judgment of what may happen in the future, actual results may differ materially from the results expressed or implied by these statements due to numerous important factors, including, but not limited to, those described in IDT’s most recent report on SEC Form 10-K (under the heading “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations”), which may be revised or supplemented in subsequent reports on SEC Forms 10-Q and 8-K and other filings IDT may make with the SEC.