HiT Entertainment was a British-American entertainment company owned by Mattel and originally established in 1982 as Henson International Television . It was founded as the international distribution arm of Jim Henson Productions. HiT owns & distributes children’s television series including Thomas & Friends, Bob the Builder, Fireman Sam, Barney & Friends, Angelina Ballerina, Pingu, and Kipper.
Henson International Television
HiT was originally formed as Henson International Television (hit!) in 1982 as a branch of the Jim Henson Company in order to coordinate the co-production of Fraggle Rock in London, England, United Kingdom. This subsidiary was later sold and retains none of the original Henson company architecture except for the name. It later rebranded itself as "HiT Entertainment".
They acquired Gullane Entertainment (formerly The Britt Allcroft Company) on 5 July 2002. Then, Gullane was purchased and went defunct in 2003. After HiT purchased Gullane, it produced their own series of Thomas episodes and merchandise. HiT acquired the television rights for Thomas & Friends in 2002, during the airing of the sixth series and the filming of the seventh series.
On 1 February 2012, it was announced that Mattel purchased HiT Entertainment from Apax Partners, it's previous owners, for $680 million (US). Other bidders included Viacom, Disney, Chorion, Hasbro, Saban Brands, and Tomy.
HiT announced a DVD distribution deal with Universal Pictures Home Entertainment on May 2, 2014. In early summer 2015, Edaville USA amusement park opened a licensed Thomas Land theme area based on Thomas & Friends.
In March 2016, HiT Entertainment merged with Mattel Playground Productions, forming Mattel Creations. In Mid-2018, the HiT Entertainment brand was discontinued and closed, and their name for shows and their website redirects to Mattel's website. 9 Story Media Group took over HiT Entertainment's role of their distribution for Barney & Friends, Angelina Ballerina and its spin-off series, Angelina Ballerina: The Next Steps, while WildBrain took over HiT Entertainment's role of their distribution for Bob the Builder and Fireman Sam. Mattel Creations took over the role for the other DVDs as well. HiT Entertainment still, however, exists as a copyright holder for shows and merchandise only. As of 2019, Mattel changed the name of Mattel Creations to Mattel Television.
- Jocelyn Stevenson, Lenora Hume, Christopher Skala, Karen Barnes, Marion Edwards, Michael Carrington, Christopher Keenan, and Edward Catchpole acted as executive producers.
- Ian McCue produced the series for HiT from the sixteenth to twentieth series. He also worked as a line producer for the fifteenth series.
- Sharon Miller and Jo Jordan served as creative producers. The latter also served as a post-production producer for Hero of the Rails, while the former worked as script editor of the ninth, tenth and eleventh series.
- Denise Green served as line producer for Hero of the Rails, Misty Island Rescue, the thirteenth, fourteenth and fifteenth series. Micaela Winter also served as line producer for The Great Race, Bubbling Boilers and the twentieth series.
- Claire Waxler and Sam Barlow served as supervising producers.
- Karen Davidsen served as head/director of production from the nineteenth and twentieth series, Sodor's Legend of the Lost Treasure and The Great Race.
- Karen Davies is the director of content services.
UK VHS and DVD Releases
HiT Favourites DVD Releases
AUS VHS and DVD Releases
US VHS and DVD Releases
- Gullane succumbs to HiT's advances on The Guardian