Animation World Magazine, Issue 2.4, July 1997
Medialab's Johnny Chimes character for NBC.
Medialab Animates NBC Peacock. Real time performance animation made its way onto prime time network television in June, in the form of Johnny Chimes, a new spokesperson, er, spokes-peacock created for NBC by Medialab Studio L.A., a recently-opened affiliate of the French company Medialab. Based on NBC's classic colored peacock logo, the animated character will be used in interstitials and promos announcing the network's lineup.
MTV Animation Wants Your Sushi. MTV Animation is looking for funny animated pieces to include in Cartoon Sushi, a new episodic prime time series which will be similar to the variety show format of Liquid Television, a cutting edge animation show which aired on MTV in the early 90's. Sushi, however, will not be a weekly show but a periodic half-hour program run on MTV -- producers hope to come out with 8-12 episodes per year. The first installment is set to air on MTV U.S. on July 17 (10:30 p.m. ET), and will premiere an original opening sequence and promo bumpers animated by Danny Antonucci (of Lupo the Butcher fame). Producer Nick Litwinko says that each episode will be roughly 75% acquisitions and 25% commissions of original projects. Expect to see animation from the likes of John Dilworth, Webster Colcord, AMPnyc, and Malofilm, as well as students and other independent filmmakers. For information about submitting or pitching films for the show, email email@example.com
Ellipse & Trickompany Partner. Hamburg-based Trickompany and Paris-based Ellipse Programme have formed a joint venture to co-produce animated television series. Feature films will play a role in the future. For now, Trickompany will produce and finance roughly one-third of Ellipse's animated series Pirate Family and Ellipse will take over about one-third of Trickompany's Nick & Perry - Alien Dogs. Both projects have a committment of 26 half-hour episodes and a budget of $7.6 million. This venture will help both companies expand into the international arena and reduce the strain of finding funding.
Teletoon Added To Lyonnaise Cable. Teletoon, the French animation cable channel which launched in December 1996, has signed an agreement with French cable operator Lyonnaise Cable. Starting on June 2, Teletoon, which airs from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. (10:30 p.m. Saturdays), added 350,000 homes to their subscriber base. Teletoon's current lineup includes programs such as Transylvania Pet Shop, Gadget Boy, Nighthood, Noddy, and Little Bear, a substantial block of which is produced by several of the network's investors, such as TF1, France 3, M6 and France 2.
Ch 4 Commissions Animation Variety Show. Illuminations Television is currently producing a new series for Channel 4. The late night series, initially 5 x 30 episodes, will feature a tremendous mix of animated programming. From short films to new features, commercials and promos the series will cover traditional animation to 3D as it presents a wide array of animated programming. Though a working title and series producer is yet to be finalized, the team will include John Wyver (Illuminations Chairman and co-founder as well as animation feature producer, including Ghosts in the Machine), Keith Griffiths (animation producer), Irene Kotlarz (former director of the Cardiff International Animation Festival, now LA-based writer, producer), and Clare Wilford (animation publicist and writer). "We envisage a series that is fun, young, contemporary, accessible and exciting - and yet under-pinned by a deep understanding and love of the principles and diverse practices of animation. Channel 4 has been of inestimable importance to the development of British animation in the past 15 years," said Wyver. A web site to complement the series is also in the works.
Archibald The Koala's A Hit. Hit Entertainment (UK) has invested in a co-production with Millimages (France) to produce 52 episodes of The Adventures of Archibald the Koala, a 2D animated series based on a popular series of children's books by the French artist Paul Cox. The first group of 13 half-hours will be completed in June of 1998, through Millimages' two production facilities in Kiev, Ukraine and Bucharest, Bulgaria. The deal was signed at MIFA in Annecy in May, following discussions that began at MIP in April.
Canal + Animates Cyber Channel. France's largest pay television network, Canal + has expanded the content of its programming on C: The Cyber Channel (C:), a TV and Internet service focusing on new technology. On the one-year anniversary of the channel in April, programming time was increased by one hour to include several series about computer animation, science fiction and manga (Japanese animation, anime), in addition to their regular programs about computers, video games and the Internet. The line-up includes Les Chroniques de la Guerre de Lodoss, a manga series which has never before been shown in France. Before the end of the year, C: will also begin offering high-speed Internet access via satellite, which will offer subscribers a reduction in the current astronomical telephone modem connection rates in Europe. This service will include C: Internet broadcast programming such as multiplayer games and interactive multimedia magazines. C: is currently available to CanalSatellite subscribers in France and Spain, and will soon become available in Germany and Sweden.
Warner Bros.' upcoming educational series, Histeria
Monkey Love In Locomotion. Los Angeles-based independent animation producer Jim Keeshen has sold his short animated film, Monkey Love to Locomotion, Latin America's all animation channel, as well as to Cartoon Network. Locomotion will feature the film as part of a one-hour programming block designed to showcase animation as art form. "Monkey Love fits right in with our concept," said Gustavo Basalo, general manager of Locomotion. "In fact, the reason Locomotion became a reality is that there is an abundance of good animation product of this nature that lacks an outlet for expression."
WB's Hysterically Historical. Warner Bros. has announced an all-new educational animated series for the fall 1998 season. Histeria!, conceived by Warner Bros. resident Tom Ruegger, will be a comedy series designed to educate kids on various periods of history, fitting into the FCC guidelines for educational children's programming. Ruegger will serve as executive producer, and voice talents already cast for the series include Maurice LaMarche, Tress MacNeille, Rob Paulsen and Jeff Glenn Bennett. Warner Bros. has also hired the consulting services of educational media advisor Miki Baumgarten, Ph.D to participate in development.
Enteraktion Creating DVD Programming. Los Angeles-based entertainment company Enteraktion is currently developing several live-action/animation television series for the new high definition television (HDTV) format which will be adopted by broadcasters starting in 1998. The programs being developed, Electric Forest, Life With Dwegons, The Adventures of Captain Sea, Professor Winks' Time Link and Stories will use a combination of live actors and 3D virtual sets. "In the near future," said Enteraktion CEO Tom Walsh, "televisions in most homes will be hooked up to the Internet. We intend to be an early provider of both digital television and Internet entertainment."
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