Kids have been waking up to Saturday morning television for decades, and Litton Entertainment, a Mount Pleasant-based production company, is enriching that tradition by supplying major TV networks with educational programs for the family.
Litton Entertainment announced Wednesday that it will produce a three-hour block of educational programming for kids ages 13 to 16 to run on CBS each Saturday morning.
Billed as “The CBS Dream Team,” the program will feature six 30-minute television shows that center on topics such as nutrition, pet care, athletics and community service. The first air date is set for Sept. 28.
“CBS is excited to partner with Litton on these terrific new shows that combine entertainment with uplifting pro-social messages that will make CBS Saturday morning destination viewing for young audiences,” said Angelica McDaniel, Senior Vice President of daytime television with CBS.
The partnership with CBS is the second deal Litton has struck with major players in network television. The company is entering its third season producing “Weekend Adventure,” the Saturday morning program on ABC that features educational shows such as “Jack Hanna’s Wild Countdown.”
The Federal Communications Commission requires television stations to air at least three hours per week of educational shows for children. Litton’s Saturday morning programs help CBS and ABC meet that requirement, while still attracting strong viewership.
“When Litton Entertainment started producing educational shows on the Saturday morning block for ABC, the ratings shot up 40 percent,” said Dave Morgan, CEO of Litton Entertainment. “CBS saw that and said, ‘We need to make a change and these are the guys.’ ”
Litton’s contracts with ABC and CBS are both five-year agreements. The financial terms of those agreements were not disclosed.
“We’re now producing 12 network shows, and that’s a sizable company out in Hollywood,” Morgan said.
Morgan established Litton Entertainment in 1993 and made Charleston its headquarters, even though most production takes place in Burbank, Calif. at a studio near Los Angeles.
“I basically spend my life from 30,000 feet, traveling all over the country, and Charleston is a great place to come home to,” Morgan said.
Litton Entertainment has plans to produce its first scripted show, “The Inspectors,” in Charleston, which would allow the company to take advantage of tax breaks offered by South Carolina’s Film Incentives law, passed earlier this year.
“This will be the first of many scripted shows that we will do here,” he said.
Beyond the financial motive, Morgan said he wants to bring production to Charleston to support the community he’s been a part of since 1989.
In addition to his role as CEO of Litton Entertainment, Morgan is an adjunct professor at the College of Charleston, where he also serves on the Board of Business.
Morgan said Litton will employ at least 100 more people in Charleston to help with production of “The Inspectors” in 2014. The educational show is targeted for programming on CBS.
“We’re doing it because we want to support the state,” Morgan said. “We want to tap into the talent, and we want to build the production core here.”