"Thomas & Friends" has tapped Arc Productions, the team behind the feature film "Gnomeo and Juliet," to animate its upcoming seventeenth season.
The announcement comes after toymaker Mattel closed its $680 million acquisition of HIT Entertainment, the producer of such TV shows as Thomas the Tank Engine, on Wednesday.
The deal marks the first global television series that Arc will produce.
Toronto-based Arc will provide animation for all 11-minute episodes of the upcoming seventeenth season, as well as a one-hour "Thomas & Friends" feature-length special. The new episodes animated by Arc are set to broadcast starting in the fall of 2013.