America's Funniest Family, the Wayans, Enter the World of Animation With Their Latest Creation, Sure to Be a 'Boo-Na Fide' Success

The Wayans Bros. launch their new children's animation property 'THUGABOO' and

sign on top licensees in what will be a full-scale merchandising program

Jan 24, 2005, 00:00 ET from Scholastic Inc.

    LOS ANGELES and NEW YORK, Jan. 24 /PRNewswire/ -- Shawn, Marlon and Keenen
 Ivory Wayans today announced plans to launch their very first children's
 lifestyle property Thugaboo. Based on original source material created by the
 Wayans Bros., the masterminds behind "In Living Color," "Scary Movie 1&2," and
 most recently, "White Chicks," Thugaboo is a broad, character-based property
 that takes a humorous look at the trials and tribulations of nine very
 different kids growing up in the inner city. Through a series of misadventures
 these kids learn valuable lessons:  everything from the importance of
 friendship to never giving up on one's dreams. Drawing from their own
 childhood, the Wayans promise to deliver a very special treat to kids of every
 demographic and ethnicity.
     "We identify with youth culture and strive to tap into their funny bone by
 creating characters they can relate to while entertaining their parents at the
 same time," said Marlon Wayans.
     When asked about their source of inspiration Shawn Wayans answered, "We
 were inspired by some of our favorite cartoons as kids, like 'Charlie Brown'
 and 'Fat Albert', and wanted to bring something special to a new generation."
     The Wayans will support the property by producing, writing and lending
 their voices to a direct-to-video series that is already underway.  In
 addition, they have signed on Playmates for master toy, The Betesh Group for
 softlines, and Scholastic for publishing.  Product will follow the launch of
 the video series, targeted for Holiday 2005.
     "We are excited to be part of the Thugaboo team. The unique characters and
 their humorous adventures give Thugaboo a rare combination of kid appeal and
 parent approval. The Wayans have created a property that has the potential to
 grow into a strong multi-year franchise," stated Jill Will, Playmates' senior
 vice president of marketing.
     Thugaboo's simultaneous appeal to both children and parents is one if its
 particular strengths.  "As a parent, I think it's important for kids to have a
 source of entertainment that deals with life in positive and comedic ways.
 It's our goal to create toys, books and videos that kids will love and parents
 can feel good about buying," remarked Keenen Ivory Wayans.  Licensees have
 found this aspect of the property refreshing.  "Inspiring kids of all
 ethnicities and backgrounds has always been a priority for The Betesh Group.
 We are excited to be partnering with the Wayans and joining the Thugaboo
 family. This new property promises to be entertaining and valuable to both
 kids and their parents," said Elliot Betesh, president of The Betesh Group.
     In choosing between the numerous publishers that bid for the property, the
 Wayans ultimately chose Scholastic because they felt the company best
 understood its direction and sensibility.  "We are delighted to bring the
 Wayans' unique brand of humor and humanity to the world of children's books
 through the incredible Thugaboo property," remarked Scholastic publisher Jean
     The Wayans are no strangers to merchandising.  They recently partnered
 with trading card company Topps to launch "The Dozens" a new trading card game
 coming out Spring 2005.  They also inked a deal with Bonus Mobile, to develop
 and publish "The Dozens" as a multi-player mobile phone game. Their company,
 SMK Merchandising LLC, is represented for licensing by former Universal
 Studios and Firm executive Shab Azma, whose newly formed Fireball Group LLC,
 put together the above deals and is seeking additional partners in a variety
 of categories.
                             About the Wayans Bros.
     Coming off of the success of "White Chicks," which has grossed
 $110 million world-wide to date and in its first week out on video brought in
 $10.55 million in rentals and sold 1.6 million dvds, the Wayans are busy
 writing and producing two new films. For Universal they are working on a film
 version of the classic TV series, "The Munsters," and for Revolution/Sony will
 be releasing "Little Man" starring Shawn and Marlon, and directed by Keenen
 Ivory Wayans, with producing partner Rick Alvarez.
                                About Playmates
     With over thirty-five years of experience, Playmates Toys, Inc., is among
 the most well respected and innovative marketing and distribution companies in
 the global toy industry. Playmates has a proven history in the creation of
 profitable, long-term brand franchises.
 Among the company's best-known proprietary brands are the unique water-filled
     "Water Babies(R)" dolls and "Speedeez(TM)" micro vehicles and playsets.
 Core licensed character and entertainment brands include Disney(R) Princesses
 and classic characters, Universal Studios'/Peter Jackson's "King Kong" and
 Mirage Studios' "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles."  From its offices in Hong
 Kong, China and the United States, Playmates designs, develops, markets and
 distributes its products in over sixty countries worldwide.  Playmates Toys,
 Inc., is a division of Playmates Holdings Limited, a Hong Kong-based company
 whose stock is traded on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.
                             About The Betesh Group
     The Betesh Group, in business for almost 30 years, is a dynamic global
 consumer products company with 5 distinct and growing divisions:  Mitzi
 International (Ladies Handbags and Accessories), Generation Sport (Backpacks,
 Sports and Travel Related Accessories), Motion Systems (Computer, Audio and
 Video Accessories; Stationary and Scrapbooking), Baby Boom/Interior Consumer
 Products (Diaper Bags; Infant and Toddler Bedding; Infant, Toddler Teen and
 Tween Room and Home Decor), and Toy Play (Toys and Play Tents for all ages).
 Headquartered in New York, The Betesh Group operates six offices in four
 countries with over 800 employees worldwide.
                                About Scholastic
     Scholastic Corporation (Nasdaq:   SCHL) is the world's largest publisher and
 distributor of children's books. Scholastic creates quality educational and
 entertaining materials and products for use in school and at home, including
 children's books, magazines, technology-based products, teacher materials,
 television programming, film, videos and toys.  The Company distributes its
 products and services through a variety of channels, including proprietary
 school-based book clubs, school-based book fairs, and school-based and direct-
 to-home continuity programs; retail stores, schools, libraries, and television
 networks; and the Company's Internet Site,
                              About Fireball Group
     Headquartered in Beverly Hills, the Fireball Group is a licensing and
 brand management company, representing high profile actors, music artists, and
 entertainment properties in all areas of licensing, merchandising,
 endorsements, direct response and brand management.

SOURCE Scholastic Inc.