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Cookie Jar Entertainment was a Canadian entertainment company that was founded in 1976 by married couple Micheline Charest and Ronald A. Weinberg under the name CINAR. They started out as a film and television distribution company in New York, but in 1984, the studio moved to Montreal and switched focus to producing children's shows, particularly animated ones.

During the 80s and 90s, the studio, under the name CINAR, enjoyed great prestige as one of the top dogs of the Canadian animation industry, competing with Nelvana for the spotlight. They created many animated series during this era for Canadian and international television (such as Animal Crackers and Mona the Vampire), with many of their works also being co-productions with European studios. Among their most famous animated creations however were Arthur and Caillou. However, they also dabbled quite regularly in live-action fare, most famously producing Are You Afraid of the Dark? and Zoboomafoo, as well as puppet shows like Wimzie's House. They even dubbed a few foreign shows in both English and French, such as Adventures of the Little Koala, Ultraseven and The World of David the Gnome. They were also one of the main companies involved in the establishment of Teletoon in 1997.

However, in 2000, CINAR's golden age came to an abrupt end when the now-infamous Cinar Scandal came to light. In 1995, a Montreal animator named Claude Robinson had sued the studio for stealing the concept for their Robinson Sucroe series from him (with the lead even being based off his own bearded likeness). Charest and Weinberg insisted this was not the case, but court investigations into the Robinson Sucroe case uncovered something much bigger.

It turned out that Cinar had been cheating around Canadian Content laws to illegitimately acquire federal grants and tax credits from the Canadian and Quebec governments by paying American writers to produce the scripts for their TV shows (Canadian Content laws state a Canadian TV show must use Canadian screenwriters to receive funding). Furthermore, Weinberg, Charest, and several other top executives had transferred over $120 million of Cinar's CanCon funding to offshore bank accounts without the knowledge or approval of the rest of the studio. Cinar lost millions as a result of the scandal, and in 2001, the studio collapsed; Weinberg and Charest were fired from the studio's board of directors. And to top it off, the court found in 2009 that Cinar had indeed stolen Claude Robinson's Robinson Sucroe cartoon idea, as he had originally pitched it to the studio unsuccessfully in 1986. Robinson was awarded $5.2 million in damages, and in 2016, Weinberg was sentenced to 9 years in prison for his misdeeds (Charest unfortunately died in 2004 following a botched cosmetic surgery). The Cinar Scandal has gone down as one of the most shocking accounting scandals in Canadian business history, resulting in the country's longest-ever criminal trial before a jury and leaving the once-beloved Canadian children's TV and animation studio's legacy in tatters.

However, the story does not end there. In 2004, former Nelvana co-founder Michael Hirsch (who had departed from Nelvana following its 2000 acquisition by Corus Entertainment) purchased the smoldering wreckage of CINAR and re-established the Montreal-based studio in Toronto under the name Cookie Jar Entertainment. The reborn CINAR, still holding ownership of most of its old properties, continued work on Arthur and Caillou while also adding new shows under their belt, such as Johnny Test (a co-production with Warner Bros. Animation in the United States), World of Quest, Debra!, and Spider Riders. They also ran Saturday-Morning Cartoon blocks, such as Cookie Jar TV on CBS and Cookie Jar Toons on This TV. In 2008, Cookie Jar acquired DiC Entertainment, gaining ownership of such series as Inspector Gadget, as well as their syndicated DiC Kids Network block (renamed Cookie Jar Kids Network).

In 2012, Cookie Jar Entertainment was acquired by the rising WildBrain studio (then known as DHX Media), becoming one of the many acquisitions that transformed it into the world's largest independent owner of children's television programming. As a result, most of Cookie Jar (and CINAR)'s shows, as well as those of DiC, are now owned by WildBrain. Their final production was Johnny Test's 6th season, produced under the DHX Media label after the acquisition. Once production on the show finished, Cookie Jar officially closed down, bringing its story to a close.

List of shows that Cinar/Cookie Jar has made:

  • The Real Story of... (as Cinar; A series of stories loosely based on famous children's songs in the Public Domain.)
  • Wisdom of the Gnomes (as Cinar; co-produced by BRB International and Miramax)
  • Zoboomafoo (as Cinar; co-produced by Maryland Public Television and Earth Creatures.)

Alternative Title(s): Cookie Jar, CINAR