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Master Toy Licensee Secured For Top-Rated Action-Adventure
Series and Upcoming Spin Off "Xena: Warrior Princess"

PR Newswire

20 June 1995


"Hercules" Is Given The Green Light To Produce 22 New Episodes

NEW YORK, June 20 /PRNewswire/ -- MCA/Universal Merchandising, Inc. has finalized negotiations with Toy Biz, Inc. (NYSE: TBZ) as master toy licensee for the syndicated hit series "Hercules: The Legendary Journeys." Toy Biz is also acquiring the rights to develop toys based on the Fall 1995 television spin-off, "Xena: Warrior Princess," and any derivative motion picture.

"Hercules: The Legendary Journeys", which premiered in January as a weekly series, has developed into the runaway television hit of the season. It ranks as the number one syndicated television show among children 2 to 11 years-old and teens ages 12 to 17. The series recently rated among the top ten in U.S. syndication.

"We are thrilled that 'Hercules' has become such a hit among children and teens," said Neil Friedman, president of MCA/Universal Merchandising, Inc. "The new line of toys will provide fans with the opportunity to not only relive their favorite episodes, but to create their own stories each time they play. We are confident that the broad appeal of this property will fuel the success of the toy line."

Avi Arad, Director of Toy Biz, said, "'Hercules' creates a strong opportunity in the market for action-adventure heroes, villains and monsters based on modern reinterpretations of classic mythology, as opposed to costumed super heroes. In addition, 'Hercules' has strong and growing international appeal with wide demographics including younger and older children. It will be a labor of love to create these toys."

The one-hour, action-adventure series stars Kevin Sorbo as Hercules, the son of a mortal woman, Alcemene and Zeus, King of the Gods. Sorbo's portrayal of the classic hero who stands alone as a warrior and protector of mankind continues to captivate audiences across the country.

Spawned from the success of the highly rated "Hercules" movies, which aired as part of MCA Television's "Action Pack," the weekly tales of "Hercules" unfold in a time long before ancient Greece and Rome in a fantastic, mythical world created through imaginative set design, state- of-the-art special effects and spectacular New Zealand locations.

As a result of its success, "Hercules" has been given a 22-episode renewal for the 1995-96 television season and is cleared in 94% of the country. Executive producers are Sam Raimi and Robert Tapert, known for their wild and popular, action-adventure films -- "The Evil Dead I & II", "Darkman", "Hard Target", and "Time Cop".

Toy Biz, Inc. is a toy entertainment company that designs, markets and distributes boys', girls', infant/pre-school and activity toys based on popular entertainment properties and consumer brand names. Toy Biz also designs, markets and distributes its own line of proprietary toys.

MCA/Universal Merchandising, Inc. licenses and markets properties worldwide on behalf of Universal Pictures, Universal Television, MCA Publishing Rights, as well as third parties. Some of those properties include "Jurassic Park," "Balto," "Casper," "Dragonheart", "Waterworld," "Earth 2," "seaQuest DSV," "Baby Huey," "Hercules: The Legendary Journeys," "The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle & Friends," "The Adventures of Timmy The Tooth," "The Land Before Time" and "Woody Woodpecker & Friends."


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