(March 15) The National Watermelon Association Inc. is partnering with Giddy Gander LLC, creator of a children’s television series scheduled to debut in September, to develop a cross-merchandising campaign to promote watermelons and the animated series.

Watermelon is a natural tie in for “The Wumblers” because the characters’ babies come from watermelons, said Heidi Schwartz, director of licensing for Fort Lee, N.J.-based Giddy Gander. While that fact might be hard for adults to swallow, parents should like the fact that the show promotes nutrition and healthy eating.

“The biggest thing we’re excited about is nutritional education of preschool children,” said Bob Morrissey, executive director of the Plant City, Fla.-based association. “If we can reach them at that age we can have them as consumers for life.”

Schwartz said Giddy Gander is developing plush toys, DVDs and other products that could be used in cross-merchandise promotions in retail stores. She said 13 episodes of the 30-minute series are expected to run on the Trinity Broadcasting Network and its Smile of a Child network beginning in September.

Trinity Broadcasting said on its Web site that the faith-based network is available in 92% of U.S. households.