Lion Forge Entertainment, Penguin Young Readers Set TV, Film Deal – The Hollywood Reporter

Lion Forge Entertainment and Penguin Young Readers have struck a new TV and film development pact to produce adaptations of several children’s books.

The deal will allow the entertainment company to develop and adapt a slate of titles from the division of Penguin Random House — and one of the industry’s leading children’s book publishers — into animated and/or live action properties. Titles currently selected for development span readership ages three to 12 and come from Penguin Workshop, Grosset & Dunlap and Viking.

“The creative team at Penguin Young Readers are as passionate about storytelling and world-building as we are at Lion Forge,” said Lion Forge Entertainment president and chief content officer Stephanie Sperber. “Their publishing list aligns perfectly with the content we bring to market, and we are eager to develop these books for kids and family audiences globally.”

That list initially includes Brian McCann’s Wannabe Farms, Tyler Knott Gregson and Sarah Linden’s North Pole Ninjas, M.D. Payne Monster Juice series and Francesco Sedita and Prescott Seraydarian’s The Pathfinders Society series.

“Each book we’re developing with Penguin offers something different to audiences, but all share heart, humor and sense of discovery that we love to highlight at Lion Forge Entertainment,” David Steward II, founder and CEO of Lion Forge, added. “We look forward to working with these talented authors to bring their stories to the screen.”

Sperber brokered the deal and will shepherd the projects, with those that move forward set to be produced by Sperber, Steward II, Francesco Sedita from Penguin Young Readers and media consultant Rich Korson.

Wannabe Farms and North Pole Ninjas

Penguin Young Readers

“Lion Forge is the perfect partner to bring some of Penguin’s most exciting properties to screens worldwide,” said Jen Loja, president of Penguin Young Readers. “With their expertise in engaging diverse audiences with unique yet universal stories, we couldn’t be more excited to see how these projects develop.”

The new pact is the latest for Lion Forge, which earlier this year announced a first-look deal with Nickelodeon Animation that covers all Lion Forge kids and family IP across series, features, short-form and digital content. Select Nickelodeon and Paramount IP will also be brought to Lion Forge, where it will be developed and produced. A separate partnership with Dentsu will also see its brand clients and network of agencies serve as resources for creating content across feature films, TV series, shorts and digital content aimed at kids and families, as well as adult audiences.  

Since its founding in 2019, Lion Forge Entertainment (formerly known as Lion Forge Animation), has focused on diverse and under-represented voices in storytelling aimed at both the kids & family and young adult demographics. In addition to its Nickelodeon and Denstu deals, the company behind the Oscar-winning Hair Love recently expanded into live-action programming and will next release the animated Iyanu series for Cartoon Network and Max.

Penguin Young Readers is known for its award-winning fiction and nonfiction catalog of classic authors, illustrators and licensed properties across 12 imprints. Laurie Halse Anderson, Max Brallier, Jan Brett, Eric Carle, Roald Dahl, John Flanagan, John Green and more are counted among its author library, alongside perennial franchises Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys series, Peter Rabbit, classic Winnie the Pooh, the Very Hungry Caterpillar, Madeline and more.

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