By Dawn C. Chmielewski
11:45 AM CDT, June 25, 2013
Netflix is doubling down on exclusive programming for children, adding '"Mako Mermaids," a spin-off of the popular Australian teen drama about mermaids "H2O: Just Add Water."
"Mako Mermaids" is set to premiere July 26 on Netflix, returning viewers to the fictional Mako Island, where the three teenage girls entered a magical cave and underwent their transformation in the original series. The seemingly improbable premise of "H2O" connected with teens around the world -- the series was distributed in more than 120 countries.
The show's popularity on Netflix prompted the streaming service to strike a deal with Jonathan M. Shiff Productions for exclusive rights to the distribute the 26-episode spin-off series, "Mako Mermaids," in the U.S., Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland and the Nordics.
"We are thrilled to be the exclusive home of 'Mako Mermaids' in all Netflix territories," Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos said in a statement. "'H2O' hit an amazing chord with teens around the world who love the clever mixture of action, comedy and romance."
The new show centers on three mermaids who are assigned the task of protecting Mako Island, only to encounter 16-year-old Zac, who also forms a connection with the island and develops a tail and special marine abilities.
This builds on a slew of other exclusive content deals for Netflix, which last week reached a multi-year deal with DreamWorks Animation to produce more than 300 hours of original programming for it. It is vying for young viewers with rival Amazon.com, which reached a deal this month for exclusive online rights to Viacom's shows for preschoolers.
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