World Magazine, Issue 2.11, February 1998
Saban's Adventures of Oliver Twist will be included
in the lineup for the new Fox Family Channel.
Fox Kids, Family Channel To Get [Very] Animated. News Corp./Saban co-venture Fox Kids Worldwide has revealed its programming plans for its newly-acquired cable network, The Fox Family Channel. The Fox Family Channel will launch on August 15, 1998 with a kids' daytime schedule that includes 50% original, first-run programming. Following the lead of competitor's success with program packaging, Fox Family Channel will debut with a slate of four themed, "branded" daytime blocks. "Morning Scramble" for kids of all ages, will include the animated series Wowser (Saban), Bit the Cupid (Saban), Little Mouse on the Prairie (Saban), Eek!Stravaganza (Nelvana), All Dogs Go to Heaven (MGM Animation) and the live-action series Pee-Wee's Playhouse. The second block, "The Captain's Treasure House," is aimed at pre-schoolers with animated shows like The Magic Adventures of Mumfie (Britt Allcroft Productions) and Tabaluga (EM-TV). Tic Tac Toons, an all-animation block, will feature Bobby's World (Film Roman), Saban's Adventures of Oliver Twist (Saban), Heathcliff (Saban), The Real Ghostbusters (Columbia Tri-Star), and Classic Harvey Toons (Harvey Entertainment). The last kids block of the day before family-oriented prime-time programming starts is The Basement, which will premiere the animated series Bad Dog (Saban), Monster Farm (Saban), Water Melon (Saban) and Badaboom, (in development at Saban) a compilation of outrageous animation.
The Fox Family Channel will reach 74 million homes at its' launch, which News Corp. President & COO/Fox Group Chairman Peter Chernin said, "will be one of the largest debuts in the history of television." He added, "This, combined with the 98 percent reach of U.S. households with Fox Kids Network, gives us an unparalleled programming, promotional and distribution platform."
Fox also announced its 1998-99 schedule for Fox Kids Network, including eight new animated series coming in fall 1998. New to the Fox Kids Saturday morning lineup will be Mr. Potato Head (in development at Saban) Woody Woodpecker (the new show from Universal Cartoon Studios), Godzilla (Columbia Tri-Star), Mad Jack (Saban) Silver Surfer (Saban) and Captain America (Saban). New to weekday afternoons will be Scholastic's The Magic School Bus (Scholastic/Nelvana), Spy Dogs (Saban) and Oggy and the Cockroaches (Gaumont) which will be combined with "Space Goofs" (also Gaumont) as The Space Goofs and Oggy Show. Current shows being renewed for 1998-99 include Steven Spielberg Presents Toonsylvania (DreamWorks), Life With Louie (Hyperion), Spider-Man (Saban), Ned's Newt (Nelvana) and Sam & Max (Nelvana).
Max and His Special Problem by Dave Wasson, one of
Nickelodeon's Oh Yeah! Cartoon!s. © Nickelodeon.
Nick Says "Oh Yeah!" to Shorts. Nickelodeon will premiere its new series of animated shorts in July, with the first of 13 half-hour episodes comprised of new, seven-minute cartoons. The series titled Oh Yeah! Cartoons! is being created and produced by Fred Seibert, the former head of Hanna-Barbera Cartoons and a key player behind the development of the What A Cartoon! shorts for Cartoon Network. The shorts are being directed by 17 different creators: Mike Bell, Bob Boyle, Bill Burnett, Greg Emison, John Eng, Butch Hartman, Larry Huber, Alex Kirwan, Seth MacFarlane, Zac Moncrief, Carlos Ramos, Rob Renzetti, Miles Thompson, Byron Vaughns, Pat Ventura, Vincent Waller and Dave Wasson.
CBS Re-Animates Its Saturday AM Line-Up! CBS Television, which pulled out of animation programming with its' live-action-filled Saturday morning slate for the 1997/98 season, has announced a bold move to return to animated programming. The network has signed an unprecedented, two-year deal with Canadian animation producer NELVANA Limited, wherein NELVANA will produce six animated series for CBS' Saturday morning block starting in fall 1998. CBS' Saturday morning block has received consistently low ratings as a result of competition from cable outlets such as Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network, and from studio-affiliated networks such as ABC /Disney and Fox Kids/Saban. "With this schedule, we are renewing our commitment to programming that meets the dual challenge of meeting the FCC educational requirements and capturing the interest of children," said Lucy Johnson, senior vice president of Daytime/Children's Programming and Special Projects at CBS. It is rare for a network to buy a whole block of programming from one supplier, especially from an international one. Toper Taylor, president of NELVANA Communications, said that this precedent-setting deal could up the ante for American independent producers who have traditionally supplied networks with programming. "This is an enormous step for international independent companies to get a foothold in the international marketplace." All six shows will meet FCC educational requirements, and are being co-financed by Nelvana's multiple international co-production partners. Franklin, (7:00) which follows the adventures of a cherubic turtle, is based on a series of books by Paulette Bourgeois and currently airs on The Family Channel in Canada. Anatole, (7:30) the story of a Parisian mouse and his family, is based on a book series by Eve Titus, and will teach kids about diversity. The Dumb Bunnies, (8:00) based on Dav Pikey's book series, is a comedy about a family of naive rabbits, that will teach kids about logical reasoning. From the Files of the Flying Rhinoceros, (11:00) based on books by Ray Nelson and Douglas Kelly, will be produced in association with Big Daddy Productions. Guardians of the Legend (11:30) is an action series about mythological stories, based on the Myth Men book series by Laura Geringer. The one show not based on books is Birdz, (8:30) a comedy about a family of birds.
Convulsion-Causing Cartoons. On December 16, 1997 in Japan, hundreds of people, mostly children, simultaneously suffered seizures while watching an episode of the animated series Pokemon (Pocket Monsters). The highest-rated show in its weekly 6:30 p.m. time slot, Pokemon is watched by millions of children on the television network TV Tokyo. Japanese media reported more than 700 viewers experienced convulsions, vomiting, fainting and other symptoms which seem to have been triggered by a scene about 20 minutes into the half-hour episode in which a character's eyes flashed repeatedly and a bright red explosion filled the screen. The phenomenon medically referred to as "television epilepsy" or "photosensitive epilepsy" can be caused by strobes or flashing lights and has been attributed to similar reactions to some video game graphics. The series Pokemon is based on a Nintendo Game Boy video game called Pocket Monsters. Nintendo, aware of previous epileptic reactions to video games, issues a health warning on all of its software. Broadcaster TV Tokyo offered an on-air apology and issued a health warning for the series, and is studying other episodes as a precaution. "Pokemon" show producers Shogakukan Production Co. were surprised by the incident because similar effects have been used in previous episodes, without this viewer reaction. Investigations into the incident are being conducted by Tokyo Police, The Health and Welfare Ministry, The Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications and a panel of experts assigned by TV Tokyo.
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