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Super RTL looks to build Toggo’s live-action slate, seeks relatable but fantastical shows

ANNECY: Germany’s Super RTL, the children’s arm of broadcaster RTL, is looking to build its live-action slate for its Toggo brand and is also seeking shows that are relatable but have fantastical elements.

Kerstin Viehbach

Toggo is currently a programming slot on the Super RTL channel but the brand is also launching as a standalone free-to-air linear channel, after the company agreed a deal with Paramount to take over the US studio’s Nickelodeon network in Germany.

Toggo’s target demographic is kids aged two to 13, but according to Super RTL’s commissioning lead for kids’ fiction, Kerstin Viehbach, “the absolute sweet spot” is 6-11s.

Speaking at the Annecy International Animation Film Festival here in France on Tuesday, Viehbach said Toggo aims to be gender-neutral with its content as it needs to reach a broad audience on the linear channel. Its digital services, however, can be more niche, with girl- and boy-skewing shows.

While animation is the prominent medium of programming on Toggo, Viehbach noted that the broadcaster is trying to build its live-action slate and is therefore also seeking out live-action shows at present.

“We prefer episodic stories because you can repeat them again and again and again, and you can mix new seasons with old seasons,” she said.

“But we know older kids like stories that are more deeply told, in the action-adventure direction. Comedy is key, but if you have a cool action-adventure show, we don’t want to destroy it with too much comedy. We want to intrigue children; we want them to relax and we want to generate fandom.”

Viehbach added that while it is “really crucial” that topics are relatable to children, “we also like to travel into big fantasy worlds,” citing How to Train Your Dragon spin-off DreamWorks Dragons on Cartoon Network and later Netflix as a series she wishes Super RTL had.

The exec also noted that if Super RTL picks up a new show that nobody knows, it needs a lot of episodes because they will be aired back-to-back in half-hour slots so that children can easily find them. The required format in this instance would be 52×11’, meaning three episodes would be aired in a half-hour slot, but 26×11’ also works. For the digital platforms, formats can be flexible.

Meanwhile, Viehbach pointed out that while Super RTL doesn’t coproduce, it does co-develop and pre-buy programming.

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