Penguin Group, having absorbed DK, is now expanding into television, with a new division that will translate books from Penguin and DK into documentaries and children's animated series.
The new division, Penguin Television, is based in the U.K. but will produce programs to be televised worldwide. Though its first projects will travel from print to screen, other properties "will make the leap in the other direction," said John Hollar, who is leading the new venture. "The goal across the company for this is to start original projects that are successful in both television and publishing," he said. Hollar founded Pearson Broadband Television Group in 2000, after a career with PBS in the U.S. The new division builds on Pearson Broadband's library of titles. But the broadband group catered to the education market, while this division is aiming straight at consumers, Hollar said.
Projects already in the works include the Essential Shakespeare, which draws on a forthcoming DK handbook on Shakespeare, and Destination America, a multipart documentary on the history of immigration being co-developed with DK. Both projects are set to air in the U.S.—Shakespeare in 2004 and Destination in 2005. Also in the U.S., PBS next year will air 1421, a two-hour documentary on China's naval exploration. Penguin Television is also developing animated children's series based on DK books Backyard Science and The Way Things Work.