Mondo Media has signed on to syndicate Honkworms FISHBAR. The series, featuring talking fish and a sassy Parisian lobster with an unnatural obsession with cows, was created by Honkworm founder Johan Liedgren and art director Janet Galore. Thus far there are nineteen completed Webisodes and Honkworm will produce 6 more so that Mondo Media will have six months worth of weekly programming to pitch to various Web sites.
Bankruptcy officials are investing Digital Entertainment Networks (DEN) possible fraudulent below-market sale of assets and executive salaries. As reported in the LA TIMES, court-appointed officials are investigating allegations that three weeks prior to filing for bankruptcy, DEN sold off assets to insiders far below market price.
Over at Wildbrain.com, the new JOE PARADISE is simply great. The slick and interesting design creates a visually impressive piece of toonage. Created by Roque Ballesteros, this action/comedy is one of the smartest, coolest and most innovative series on the Net. Watch for the subtle visual metaphors. Theres not much action in this episode, but if you havent seen this series before I highly recommend you check out the archives.
Adam Sandler has signed a deal with MediaTrip.com to produce a new comedy Web site entitled Shnorff.com. As part of the deal, MediaTrips parent company Joe Roths Revolution Studios has a first look agreement to produce any of the material created for the site in other mediums. Sandler will create the site with longtime producing partner Jack Giarraputo. In addition, former CAA and Endeavor agent, Doug Robinson, has been named Shnoff.coms CEO. Shnorff will feature animation, live-action shows, short films and games.
Episode 2 of EXIT 109 on Jibjab.com is hilarious. The Webisode finds the Hassidic pup, Moishe, ascending into heaven after being locked in a hot car. The humor is just right, edgy but smart. Something other sites, should take note of!
Read this week's Toon In: Web Animation Guide here!
John Kricfalusi will be unveiling his new creation WEEKEND PUSSY HUNT on July 22, 2000. At Comic Con International, John K will give fans a sneak peek at his new Icebox series, which follows the adventures of Cigarettes the Cat and his flight to outrun the nasty crime boss Dirty Dawg. Present at the premiere will also be Icebox co-founder Rob Lazebnik, FUTURAMAs Eric Kaplan and THE CRITICs Mike Reiss. Garry Levine, president of Icebox, said, "We are ecstatic to have a legend like John K choice Icebox as his on-line home.
Thrave has put together a team of comic book creators and animators to transform comic books into Webtoons. Some of the team includes Scott Morse, Bryan Andrews, Jim Mahfood, Brian Michael Bendis, Chynna Gluston-Major, Lawrence Marvit, Bob Camp and Mark Andrews. The creative team includes writers, directors, artists and producers with credits on REN & STIMPY, IRON GIANT, TOY STORY 2, MEN IN BLACK ANIMATED SERIES, COW & CHICKEN, A BUGS LIFE, CLERKS comic, SOULWIND, JINX, GRRL SCOUTS, BLUE MONDAY and THE SIMPSONS.
The Harvey Entertainment Company and Brilliant Digital have come to an agreement to produce new "3Dmovies" that will incorporate Harvey-owned characters. The first project for Brilliant will be 13 Webisodes starring Casper the Friendly Ghost. Brilliant Digital Entertainment produces 3D Web series based on characters that include SUPERMAN, XENA, KISS, POPEYE and ACE VENTURA.
AtomFilms has signed a deal with Paramount Television Group, Paramount Digital Entertainment and Claude Brooks' C To The B Productions to produce a new Web series entitled FORTY AND SHORTY. The deal will see 26 initial 2-3 minute Webisodes, airing every Wednesday starting July 26, 2000. FORTY AND SHORTY chronicles two 13-year-old misfit friends, one black, one white, who live across the street from each other - one in the ghetto, the other in a trailer park. The show is created by Claude Brooks and Rick Gomez.
Stan Lee Media, Inc. (SLM) has signed a deal with R&B superstar Mary J. Blige to create a new series portraying the multi-platinum singer as an original Stan Lee Hip-Hop Super Heroine. The Web series will be based off an animated short, featuring the Blige super persona, which shows before each of Blige's concerts. The short, created by Blige and SLM, has garnered a tremendous fan response. The agreement is modeled after Stan Lee Media's partnership with the Backstreet Boys (www.backstreetproject.com) with joint ownership of the superhero franchise.
Curious Pictures has signed a deal with Cartoon Network On-line for nine original Web toons. The nine shows are being created and directed by Curious directors and artists Denis Morella, Nick Hewitt, Mike Bade, Damon Ciarelli, Molly Schwartz, Sam Crees and Patricia Ross. Four of the Web Premiere Toons are being created in Curious' New York City flagship studio, while five others are being developed out of the company's San Francisco SoMa office. UNCLE SQUIRLY will follow the crazy antics of a wacky children's television show.
HEAVY METAL 2000 co-creator and illustrator Kevin Eastman has inked a content deal with TheThreshold.com. No monetary details were released. Threshold Entertainments CEO and chairman, Larry Kasanoff told the HOLLYWOOD REPORTER, "Kevin is an incredible creator and entrepreneur. Wed want to be involved with him even if he didnt have HEAVY METAL but HEAVY METAL is ripe with opportunity, talent and ideas. Its extraordinary what its already accomplished, and we think its just the beginning." Eastman and Threshold are planning several sci-fi oriented projects.
Currently the #1 recording artist in America, rapper Eminem has signed a deal to create a new animated Web series. Hookt.com, a New York-based hip-hop entertainment site, will host the rappers site www.slimshadyworld.com. The toon will be based on the rappers alter ego Slim Shady and other characters created by the rapper. Eminem will provide the voice for the main character. The first of the scheduled 26 Webisodes will premiere in mid-July. Gene Jimenez is producing the site, which will also feature games, news, charts, trivia and interviews.
UrbanEntertainment.com has signed HOUSE PARTY director Reginald Hudlin and WHY DO FOOLS FALL IN LOVE-writer Tina Andrews to produce two new Net series. Hudlin, who just finished directing the live-action flick LADIES MAN, will write and executive produce the Webtoon MACKIN, which allows Net surfers to control a young man as he tries to seduce women. Andrews will write and executive produce SISTAS N THE CITY, which follows the lives of three black women living in Chicago. Andrews just finished penning the CBS miniseries JACUELINE BOUVIER KENNEDY ONASSIS.
For people who want a sneak peek or for fans who want a free look, DreamWorks has placed the opening sequence from CHICKEN RUN on the Net. The clip is available at Countingdown.com and will be available there starting Monday, July 10 and ending 6 pm PST Friday, July 14, 2000. The site will also have links to CHICKEN merchandise from Amazon.com and eBay. "We think showing Web audiences even the first few minutes of CHICKEN RUN will show people the magic that has captured the hearts and imaginations of moviegoers across the country.
Disney Interactive has enlisted Into Networks PlayNow.com to create the Disney Interactive Channel for Disney-themed games on the Net. The new channel will be like Sonys Station, which features on-line versions of JEOPARDY and WHEEL OF FORTUNE. Into Networks will produce 12 titles for Disney that will be available on a pay-for-play basis through high-speed Internet services available from cable set-top box providers. Games will be based on Disneys feature films THE LION KING, TOY STORY and TARZAN.
Mattel Interactive has signed a licensing agreement with Harmony Gold to create games based on the popular anime series, ROBOTECH. Mattel Interactive plans to have ROBOTECH games ready for next-generation console systems and PCs beginning in fourth quarter 2001. Specific details regarding platforms and developers have yet to be announced. The ROBOTECH series helped ignite the anime phenomenon in America, with an 85-episode animated series that aired in early 1985. The series was re-aired in 1994 on Sci-Fi Channel and once again on Cartoon Network in 1999.
With CHICKEN RUN claiming victory at theatres, Aardman Animations ANGRY KID on AtomFilms Web site has set Internet records. In just seven weeks, ANGRY KID, Aardman's first character created exclusively for the Web, has been watched by over 1 million people -- an Internet record. With roughly 300,000 people downloading the mischievous miscreant and sending it to their friends, the total audience is nearing one and a half million people. "We knew that the Internet had vast potential as a major entertainment medium," said Dave Sproxton, co-founder and managing director of Aardman.
Icebox, Inc., an original animation destination, has inked a content deal with comedian and co-creator of DR. KATZ, Jonathan Katz, to write and produce new animated shows. The first series will be AGAINST THE GRAIN, which Katz will co-create with Tom Snyder, co-creator of DR. KATZ. "Jonathan is one of only a handful of successful creators of smart, primetime animated television series," said Icebox CEO Steve Stanford.
Tom Snyder Productions announced a deal with CartoonNetwork.com to create, develop and produce three original Web Premiere Toons. The first series is SWITCHEROO, which interviews children and animates their daydreams with a satirical twist. OVERDUE chronicles an over-aggressive librarian and the extremes to which she will go to retrieve overdue books and collect fines. Finally, LETS HAVE FUN watches the slow break down of a live-TV childrens show host who really has no patience with kids. "Did we get three shorts?
Hot off signing a deal that will transform his Urban Entertainment series UNDERCOVER BROTHER into a feature at Universal, writer and producer John Ridley (THREE KINGS) is revving up his new animated series for UrbanEntertainment.com. The new series will be an adaptation of Ridleys crime novel WALK IN DARKNESS. Urban Media, parent of the Web site, will produce the show, and revenues will be shared 50/50 with Ridley. The story chronicles the perils of a rookie cop whose mission is to hunt down mutants with superhuman powers. Ridley is set to produce, write and direct the series.
Shockwave.com announced a production pact with Artists Management Group (AMG). As part of the deal, shockwave.com will provide a US$10 million fund for AMG and its clients to develop animated content for distribution on the site. All work produced through the deal will be co-owned by both companies. Additionally, AMG and its affiliates will help shockwave cut deals in other entertainment mediums. "This partnership will allow us to provide even more opportunity for AMGs roster of clients," said Ellen Goldsmith-Vein, head of the AMG Animation Group.
Warner Bros. On-line (www.warnerbros.com), DC Comics and Warner Bros. Animation have teamed up to create the first all-new original Internet animation shorts and entertainment destinations based on DC Comics characters. Launching on Thursday, June 15 with the redesigned Warner Bros. On-line site, www.loboonline.com features Lobo, the cult classic ruthless anti-superhero. The new "Gotham Girls" site (www.gothamgirls.com) featuring the vivacious vixens from the Batman comics -- Batgirl, Cat Woman, Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn -- will launch mid-July. The redesigned Warner Bros.
Nickelodeon and Toys'R'Us have announced an agreement to create a new Nickelodeon boutique channel on Toysrus.com to launch by fall of 2000. As part of the deal, the two companies will co-develop a Nickelodeon channel that will offer a wide variety of Nickelodeon licensed products, links between the sites, customized content and cross promotions. Moreover, Toysrus.com will acquire the inventory of Nick On-lines now defunct on-line toy store, Red Rocket. Terms were not disclosed.
In the wake of the booming on-line entertainment world, the Writers Guild of America (WGA) has created a new contract for made-for-Internet writers of live-action and animation scripts. As part of the new contract, Guild affiliated Net firms will have to sign a Minimum Basic Agreement (MBA) and provide financial reports regarding Internet revenue. The new rules guarantee scribes MBA minimums for Internet content that is the impetus for a TV pilot or series.