Genius Brands

Genius Brands International (GBI) is an entertainment company head by Andy Heyward. The company was formed in a merger of Genius Brands International and A Squared Entertainment.

Genius Brands International
Public corporation
FoundedNovember 2013; 6 years ago (2013-11)
FoundersAndy Heyward
Key people
  • Videos
  • Music
  • Books
  • Genius Brands Music
  • Kid Genius Network
  • Baby Genius
SubsidiariesA Squared Entertainment LLC
Stan Lee Comics LLC (60%)

Predecessor companies

A2 Squared Background

A couple of future A Squared Entertainment properties originated at Andy Heyward's previous company, DIC Entertainment. DIC signed a TV series production deal in July 2003 with Stan Lee's POW! Entertainment for Stan Lee's Secret Super Six.[3] In 2006, DIC was in development on Secret Millionaires Club with Berkshire Hathaway chairman Warren Buffett.[4]

A Squared Entertainment

A Squared Entertainment (A2, A Squared) was formed by Heyward and his wife, Amy Moynihan Heyward, in 2009 as an animation company. The company had an initial four-show celebrity-inspired cartoon slate to be seen on AOL starting in Q4 2009 with the last starting in 2010. The four shows would then switch from a webisode format of 26 episodes of three-to-five-minute to TV with 13 22-minute shows. The slate then consisted of Secret Millionaires Club, GiGi and The Green Team (working title), Little Martha (working title) and Kosmos. Kosmos was a series to be based on Carl Sagan's life as a famous astronomer.[5] A2's first animated program was Secret Millionaires Club, which features an animated Buffett as a secret mentor to a group of enterprising children. Also, Martha & Friends with Martha Stewart and Gisele & the Green Team with Gisele Bundchen were created and launched by A Square.[6]

In February 2010, A2 partnered with POW! Entertainment and Archie Comics to create the Stan Lee Comics joint venture for the Stan Lee's Super Seven franchise.[7] On December 7, 2010, A Squared launched Gisele & The Green Team webseries in conjunction with and Gisele Bündchen.[8]

In April 2012, Stan Lee's Mighty 7 was slated to be developed for other media formats via A Squared Elxsi Entertainment LLC (A2E2). A2E2 was a joint-venture between A Squared Entertainment (A2) and Tata Elxsi[9] formed in January 2011 which Elxsi ends in October 2012.[10] Also in 2012, A2 took over Archies' ownership stake in Stan Lee Comics.[11]

By November 2013, A2 had Thomas Edison's Secret Lab in development.[6]

Pacific Entertainment

Pacific Entertainment Corporation was founded by Baby Genius creators Klaus Moeller and Larry Balaban in 2006. In January 2006, Pacific Entertainment purchased Baby Genius and other lines from Genius Products, Inc. for $3 million. The other lines were preschool brands such as Wee Worship and the Little Tikes music and DVD series. Genius Products retained exclusive U.S. distribution rights for the lines.[12]

GBI licensed Baby Genius in January 2011 to Jakks Pacific's Tollytots division for a musical and early learning toy line.[13] At Toy Fair 2012, Tollytots introduced the line with 20 products.[14]

In December 2011, Pacific Entertainment Corporation changed its name to Genius Brands International, Inc. (GBI).[15] Genius Brands digitized its Baby Genius book line in July 2013 via a deal with Graphicly.[16]


Genius Brands International (GBI) was formed in November 2013 from the merger between A2 Entertainment and pre-merger Genius Brands (former Pacific Entertainment), with the Heywards of A2 taking over as top executives. Pre-merged Genius Brands CEO Klaus Moeller moved to vice president of special markets at GBI. GBI's board of directors included former California governor Gray Davis and American Greetings Corp. president-COO Jeff Weiss.[6]

Baby Genius' video on demand subscription services were set up online in April 2014.[17] GBI launched a VOD channel of children's entertainment called Kid Genius in October 2015, through Comcast's Xfinity On Demand.[18]

In June 2014, Genius Brands agreed to license Baby Genius, Secret Millionaires Club and Thomas Edison's Secret Lab to LeapFrog Enterprises for kids' learning tablets.[19] The first few Leap Frog tablet apps from the deal were released in December 2014, with two for both Baby Genius and Secret Millionaires Club.[20]

GBI issued and sold 4.3 million shares of stock and warrants in November 2014 to investors and management at par $1. The raised working capital would be used for brand marketing, new property acquisition and development and the Kid Genius channel.[21]

Penguin Young Readers and author/illustrator Anna Dewdney signed an agreement with Genius to develop animated content and manage licensing for the Llama Llama franchise in February 2016. The products, from apparel to toys, are slated to arrive in 2016.[22]

In February 2016, Genius Brands and Sony Pictures Home Entertainment announced a multi-year marketing and distribution agreement for four existing properties plus three under development. Existing properties under the deal are SpacePop, a new original Baby Genius series, Secret Millionaires Club and Stan Lee’s Mighty 7. The new Baby Genius series would be relaunched on in September.[23]

The company paired for another Sony agreement in April 2016. This agreement was with Sony Music Entertainment's Legacy Recordings for the Genius Brands Music label. The label would have two age-focused imprints, for toddlers, Baby Genius, and children-to-tweens, Kid Genius.[24]

In September 2016, GBI had teamed up with Rob Minkoff and Shane Morris on a preschool animated series. The series is Rainbow Rangers, featuring others of the rainbow magical girls, who protect the earth. Main designed were by Brittany Myers and Ruben Aquino. At the time, the company expect to have the concept debut as a third quarter 2017 special and a full series start in second quarter 2018.[25]

Kid Genius channel expanded to a small network of on demand channels. GBI its offerings on Comcast on Demand with a Baby Genius TV channel.[26] The company launched Kid Genius Cartoons Plus! on Amazon Channels starting on September 28, 2017.[27] Plus included all GBI programming plus other acquired programming.[28]

In January 2017, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment expanded its distribution deal to all properties and took an equity stake in Genius Brands.[29] In November 2017, the company filed with the SEC to resell 1.65 million shares of stock.[30]

Genius issued a convertible debt round bringing in $4.5 million in August 2018 which was led by financier Robert Wolf of 32 Ventures and was oversubscribed bringing in both existing and new investors.[31] In September 2018, Bank Lemi extended a $6 million bank facility allowing Genius to produced a second season of Llama Llama.[32]

Genius Brands Network in July 2019 added content from kids gaming company Tankee to its channels.[33]


  • A Squared Entertainment LLC: is Genius Brand's brand management and licensing subsidiary.
  • Genius Brands Music, music label with two imprints, Baby Genius, Kid Genius
  • Stan Lee Comics LLC: a joint venture with POW! Entertainment currently only for the Stan Lee's Mighty 7 franchise[7]
  • Kid Genius Network[34]
    • Kid Genius Cartoon Channel
    • Baby Genius TV
    • Kid Genius Cartoons Plus![28]

Kid Genius Channel

Kid Genius Cartoon
LaunchedOctober 2015 (2015-10)
NetworkKid Genius Network
Owned byGenius Brands International
SloganSmart TV for Kids
Sister channel(s)Baby Genius TV
Kid Genius Plus!

Kid Genius Channel is a video on demand channel owned by Genius Brands.

The Kid Genius Channel was launched by GBI with children's entertainment in October 2015, through Comcast's Xfinity On Demand.[18] Debra Pierson was named general manager for the channel in March 2016.[35] In December 2016, Margaret Loesch was named Executive Chairman of the Kids Genius Channel with Pierson promoted to channel president.[1] The channel was added to several over-the-top media services including Roku, Apple TV and Amazon Fire, the week of February 2017.[36]


Later acquired
Baby Genius TV[26]
  • The Adventures of Paddington Bear
  • Rainbow Valley Fire Department
  • Baby Prodigy
  • Igloo-Gloo
  • Pirates Adventures in Art
  • So! Smart
  • Todd World
  • Baby Genius Nursery Rhymes
  • Baby Genius Animals

Production library

Title Year(s) Type Production
Distributor Kid Genius
Cartoon Channel
Gisele & The Green Team (2 seasons) 2010-2012 Animated series (Plus!)[28]
Martha & Friends 2011 (Plus!)[28]
2012 Animated film Hallmark Channel Martha's Magnificent Egg[38]
Secret Millionaires Club October 23, 2011—October 12, 2014 Animated series Hub Network Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
initial[18] (Plus!)[28]
2014 Tablet apps Leap Frog Enterprises N/A
  • Secret Millionaires Club: New Beginnings
  • Secret Millionaires Club: Rhythm and Responsibility
Baby Genius December 2014 tablet apps N/A
September 2015 - Animated series Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Thomas Edison’s Secret Lab April 2015 Animated series GPB APT[39]
initial[18] (Plus!)[28]
SpacePop 2016 - Animated series Sony Pictures Home Entertainment initial[18] (Plus!)[28] 2 seasons[40]
Books Imprint (an imprint of Macmillan Children's Publishing Group) Macmillan Publishers Services N/A
  • Not Your Average Princesses (July 2016) written by Erin Downing and illustrated by Jen Bartel
  • Rocking the Resistance (January 2017)[41]
2018 Animated film Not Your Average Princesses [40]
Llama Llama[22] 2018- Animated series NCircle Entertainment[42]
  • season 1: 15 x 30 min.[43]
  • season 2: 16 11-min.
  • specials: 2 x 30-min.[32]
Merchandising Kids Preferred (toy)[42]
Rainbow Rangers November 5, 2018[31] Animated series Nick Jr.[44]
APC Kids (EMEA distribution)[45]
52 x 11-minute episodes


Title Year(s) Type Production
Distributor Notes
Rainbow Rangers 2nd qtr. 2019 Books Imprint[46] Macmillan Publishers Services
3rd qtr. 2019[47] live touring Gershwin Entertainment N/A [31]
Superhero Kindergarten TBA animated TV Show POW! Entertainment
Oak Productions


  1. ^ a b Schwindt, Oriana (December 19, 2016). "TV Veteran Margaret Loesch Joins Kid Genius Cartoon Channel". Variety. Retrieved February 5, 2018.
  2. ^ Vlessing, Etan (April 2, 2018). "Genius Brands International Hires Robert Denton as CFO (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved April 13, 2018.
  3. ^ Rick DeMott, Rick DeMott (July 18, 2003). "POW! Stan Lee Reloaded". AWN Profile. Retrieved January 9, 2015.
  4. ^ Ball, Ryan (February 8, 2006). "DIC, Buffett Form Millionaire's Club". Animation Retrieved May 16, 2016.
  5. ^ Castleman, Lana (July 24, 2009). "Heyward returns to toons with AOL deal in tow". Kidscreen. Brunico Communications Ltd. Retrieved May 16, 2016.
  6. ^ a b c Bond, Paul (November 15, 2013). "Genius Brands Merges With Andy Heyward's A Squared Entertainment". The Hollywood Reporter. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved May 16, 2016.
  7. ^ a b Truitt, Brian (February 22, 2010). "Meet Stan Lee's newest super-team, 'Super Seven'". USA Today. Gannett Company. Retrieved April 10, 2014.
  8. ^ a b Neigher, Julie (December 12, 2010). "Gisele Bündchen talks about modeling, her family and 'Gisele & the Green Team'". Los Angeles Times. Tribune Publishing. Retrieved May 12, 2016.
  9. ^ Rusak, Gary (April 2, 2012). "A2E2 to develop Stan Lee and the Mighty 7". Kidscreen. Retrieved 28 March 2013.
  10. ^ "Tata Elxsi calls off joint venture with A Squared Entertainment LLC, USA". Live October 9, 2012. Archived from the original on October 18, 2014. Retrieved April 25, 2013.
  11. ^ "FORM 10-K: Annual Report December 31, 2015" (PDF). Genius Brands International. p. F13-F14. Retrieved May 12, 2016.
  12. ^ Baisley, Sarah (January 20, 2006). "Genius Products Sells Baby Genius Back to Creators". Animation World Network. Retrieved May 16, 2016.
  13. ^ "Jakks Signs Deal with Baby Genius". License! Magazine. UBM Advanstar. January 13, 2011. Retrieved May 25, 2016.
  14. ^ "Baby Genius Toys Debut at Toy Fair". License! Magazine. UBM Advanstar. Retrieved May 25, 2016.
  15. ^ "Pacific Entertainment Corporation Changes Name and Ticker" (Press release). Reuters. GLOBE NEWSWIRE. December 6, 2011. Retrieved 2016-05-16.
  16. ^ Dickson, Jeremy (July 30, 2013). "Genius Brands goes deeper into digital world". Kidscreen. Brunico Communications Ltd. Retrieved May 12, 2016.
  17. ^ Goldman Getzler, Wendy (April 8, 2014). "Baby Genius grows into own streaming service". Kidscreen. Brunico Communications Ltd. Retrieved May 12, 2016.
  18. ^ a b c d e f g h Hansen, Darah (October 8, 2015). "Kid Genius channel launches on Xfinity on demand". Kidscreen. Brunico Communications Ltd. StreamDaily. Retrieved May 12, 2016.
  19. ^ Fisher, Daniela (June 5, 2014). "Genius Brands bounds onto LeapPads, launches distribution division". Kidscreen. Brunico Communications Ltd. Retrieved May 25, 2016.
  20. ^ Fisher, Daniela (December 5, 2014). "Baby Genius, Secret Millionaires jump onto LeapPads". Kidscreen. Brunico Communications Ltd. Retrieved May 25, 2016.
  21. ^ Dickson, Jeremy (October 30, 2015). "Genius Brands International to sell US$4.3 million in stock". Kidscreen. Brunico Communications Ltd. Retrieved May 25, 2016.
  22. ^ a b Milligan, Mercedes (February 19, 2015). "Genius Brands Animating 'Llama Llama'". Animation Magazine. Retrieved May 17, 2016.
  23. ^ McNary, Dave (February 22, 2016). "Sony, Genius Brands Set Home Entertainment Distribution Pact". Variety. Penske Media Corporation. Retrieved May 12, 2016.
  24. ^ Christman, Ed (April 18, 2016). "Genius Brands Teams with Sony Music, Legacy to Launch Kids Label". Billboard. Eldridge Industries. Retrieved May 12, 2016.
  25. ^ Terry, Joshua (September 20, 2016). "TV News Roundup: Leah Remini Developing Scientology Series; USA Pilot Casts 'Prometheus,' 'Rectify' Stars". Variety. Retrieved March 3, 2018.
  26. ^ a b Whyte, Alexandra (December 19, 2017). "Baby Genius launches on Comcast Xfinity". Kidscreen. Retrieved February 5, 2018.
  27. ^ Ng, David (September 25, 2017). "Amazon partners with Genius Brands International in the battle to dominate the streaming market for kids". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved February 5, 2018.
  28. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Milligan, Mercedes (September 25, 2017). "Genius Brands Debuts Kid Genius Cartoons Plus! on Amazon Channels". Animation Magazine. Retrieved February 5, 2018.
  29. ^ McNary, Dave (January 18, 2017). "Sony Takes Stake in Genius Brands International". Variety. Retrieved April 12, 2018.
  30. ^ "Genius Brands files for resale of up to 1.65 mln shares". November 20, 2017. Retrieved February 6, 2018.
  31. ^ a b c Milligan, Mercedes (August 22, 2018). "Genius Brands Raises $4.5M to Power 'Rainbow Rangers' S2 & Retail". Animation Magazine. Retrieved October 1, 2018.
  32. ^ a b Hayes, Dade (October 1, 2018). "Genius Brands Lines Up Financing For Its Netflix Show 'Llama Llama'". Deadline. Retrieved October 1, 2018.
  33. ^ Milligan, Mercedes (June 25, 2019). "Genius Brands Network, Tankee VOD Forge Cross-Content Partnership". Animation Magazine. Retrieved September 3, 2019.
  34. ^ Heyward, Andy (December 19, 2017). "Genius Brands International, Inc. Issues Shareholder Letter". Yahoo Finance. Genius Brands International, Inc. Retrieved February 5, 2018.
  35. ^ Milligan, Mercedes (March 28, 2016). "Debra Pierson Appointed GM of Kid Genius Channel". Animation Magazine. Retrieved May 12, 2016.
  36. ^ a b c Milligan, Mercedes (February 2, 2017). "Kid Genius Cartoon Channel Launches Across OTTs". Animation Magazine. Retrieved February 5, 2018.
  37. ^ Milligan, Mercedes (February 9, 2017). "Kid Genius Cartoon Channel Adds Bilingual 'LaGolda' Toon". Animation Magazine. Retrieved February 5, 2018.
  38. ^ Ng, Philiana (April 4, 2012). "Martha Stewart's 'Martha & Friends' Gets Ready for Easter". The Hollywood Reporter. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved May 13, 2016.
  39. ^ Milligan, Mercedes (October 7, 2014). "'Thomas Edison's Secret Lab' To Debut in 2015". Animation Magazine. Retrieved May 23, 2016.
  40. ^ a b Milligan, Mercedes (October 13, 2017). "MIPCOM & MIP Junior News Bytes". Animation Magazine. Retrieved February 5, 2018.
  41. ^ Wolfe, Jennifer (January 14, 2016). "GBI to Debut 'Spacepop' in Summer 2016". Animation World Network. Retrieved July 14, 2016.
  42. ^ a b Milligan, Mercedes (July 30, 2015). "NCircle to Bring 'Llama Llama' Home". Animation Magazine.
  43. ^ Milligan, Mercedes (December 14, 2017). "Genius Brands' 'Llama Llama' Premieres on Netflix in January". Animation Magazine. Retrieved February 5, 2018.
  44. ^ Petski, Denise (April 25, 2017). "'Rainbow Rangers': Nickelodeon Acquires CGI-Animated Preschool Series From Genius Brands Int'l". Deadline. Penske Business Media. Retrieved March 3, 2018.
  45. ^ McLean, Tom (January 15, 2018). "APC Kids Distributing Genius Brands 'Rainbow Rangers' in EMEA". Animation World Network. Retrieved March 3, 2018.
  46. ^ Elizabeth Foster, Elizabeth (December 12, 2017). "Macmillan scoops up Rainbow Rangers license". Kidscreen. Brunico Communications Ltd. Retrieved March 3, 2018.
  47. ^ Foster, Elizabeth (December 17, 2018). "Rainbow Rangers hits the road". Kidscreen. Brunico Communications Ltd. Retrieved January 29, 2019.
  48. ^ Couch, Aaron (May 29, 2019). "Arnold Schwarzenegger Lending Voice to 'Stan Lee's Superhero Kindergarten'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved May 29, 2019.

External links

Official website