ANIMATION WORLD MAGAZINE - ISSUE 3.10 - January 1999


Television

Home Movies On UPN. UPN has ordered thirteen episodes of Home Movies, a new half-hour primetime animated sitcom from Tom Snyder Productions, the producers of Comedy Central's Dr. Katz: Professional Therapist and ABC's Saturday morning series, SquiggleVision (aka Science Court). The series will be done in the producer's trademark production technique, "SquiggleVision," which is also used on Snyder's other shows. Tentatively scheduled to premiere in April, comedian Paula Poundstone, Brendon Small, and H. Jon Benjamin star in the voice cast and record each episode through an improvisational voice-over process the producers have dubbed "Retroscripting." Comedian Jonathan Katz also has a recurring role in the series. Tom Snyder, Loren Bouchard, Bonnie Burns and Mary Catherine Tucker are executive producers. The show revolves around socially awkward third-grader Brendon Small, a budding filmmaker, who lives with his sister and recently divorced mom, Paula. UPN Entertainment President Tom Nunan stated, "Home Movies will bring a totally unique voice and sensibility to UPN. The improvisational nature of the `Retroscripting' process is sharp, funny and exactly the kind of alternative programming we want to offer our viewers."

Animals On 64 Zoo Lane. Germany-based ZDF Enterprises, a subsidiary of ZDF German Television Network, and French animation producer, Millimage, are set to co-produce 64 Zoo Lane, a 13x10 minute series for children ages four to ten. The show, which will be ready in August 1999, uses illustrator An Vrombault's painterly animation style to create a colorful world of animal characters. A different animal stars in each episode and recounts his or her own story to Lucy, the little girl who lives next to the zoo. Millimage will handle worldwide distribution while ZDF Enterprises will retain the distribution rights for German-speaking European territories.

The First Snow of Winter. Link Entertainment/Hibbert Ralph Entertainment.

TV Tidbits. Fox will debut the new mid-season animated sitcom, The P.J.s, on Sunday, January 10 at 8:30 p.m. following a divisional conference football playoff game. The show will start the following Tuesday in its regular 8:30 p.m. slot following King of the Hill. The "foamation" series was produced at Will Vinton Studios and is executive produced by comedian/actor Eddie Murphy. . . . Director JC Wegman has completed work on two 1-minute, 30-second animated segments for the NBC pilot Payback. The animation was produced at Acme Filmworks in Hollywood, California. Payback is the American version of the Italian show You Get What You Deserve, which targets heartless individuals in unfriendly professions and subjects them to vicious pranks. Wegman created animation for two practical jokes, "Towing Yard" and "Parking Enforcement," orchestrated by radio personality Tim Conway Jr. The special will air on NBC, January 2 from 8-9 p.m. (EST and PST). . . . Hibbert Ralph Animation's The First Snow of Winter premiered in the U.K. on BBC1 on Christmas Day, December 25, at 4:40 p.m. The half-hour animated special from director Graham Ralph features the voices of Miriam Margolyes, Sorcha Cusack, and the late Dermot Morgan. The film follows the tale of Sean, a little Irish duck who becomes separated from his parents and misses the annual migration south. Thus, he is left alone to face the hostile climate of the bitter Irish winter. The special also aired in the U.S. on the Disney Channel on December 23 at 7 p.m. (EST and PST) and December 25 at 6:30 p.m.(EST and PST). The U.S. voice cast for this film includes Ashley Johnson, Tim Curry and Carol Kane. . . . . A half-hour special, The Making Of "The Rugrats Movie" aired on November 26 at 6:00 p.m. (ET) on U.S. cable network TV Land with segments on the Rugrats' voices, the unique animation style, and the star-studded soundtrack. . . . . . On Sunday, December 6, Fox Family Channel premiered An All Dogs Christmas Carol at 6 -7:30 p.m. (ET/PT). The canine retelling of Dickens' A Christmas Carol is based on the Don Bluth film, All Dogs Go to Heaven.. . . . . Not only are the Rugrats burning up the big screen but they're also setting records on the small screen. A Thanksgiving-themed episode, "The Turkey Who Came to Dinner," which aired on November 10 garnered Nickelodeon's biggest ratings ever among the age 2-11 demographic. The special outperformed all competition, even broadcast networks, in its time period earning a 9.4/28 national rating share (3.7 million viewers) among kids 2-11. . . . . . A digitally remastered version of the animated holiday classic, Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer aired on U.S. network CBS Monday, November 30 from 8-9 p.m. (ET/PT). The Rankin-Bass film about an awkward shiny-nosed reindeer will include an additional two minutes and 50 seconds of footage not seen since 1964. The extra footage comes from the reinsertion of two songs, "We Are Santa's Elves" and "We're a Couple of Misfits."

Batman Beyond In Primetime. The new, futuristic Batman Beyond animated series is set to have a special one-hour primetime sneak preview on Sunday, January 10, 1999 from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m. (EST/PST). The series will officially premiere on the Kids WB! with a special one-hour debut on Saturday morning, January 16 (time to be announced). Batman Beyond will move to its regular Saturday 9:30 a.m. time slot on January 23. The show is set in the early part of the 21st century where an older and "retired" Bruce Wayne, Batman's alter ego, becomes the mentor to Terry McGinnis, a teenage crime fighter in training.

November Nielsen Ratings. By special arrangement with Nielsen Media Research, AWN publishes the Nielsen ratings for animated programs on a monthly basis in the Animation Flash. The ratings included herein are only for U.S. national network television. The following list of animated national network programs is ranked by Household Ratings. A Rating is the percentage of households that tuned into the program. This percentage can provide us with the number of households that tuned into the program on average during the month. The universe estimate for the 1997-98 television season is 98 million TV homes. Each rating point represents one percent of that universe, or 980,000 TV homes. Translation: The Simpsons, with a 8.6 rating, was viewed in just over 8.4 million (8.6 x 980,000) households. The below ranking is an average for the month of November 1998 (monthly cycle includes the last six day in October).

Rating/Program (Network, Day, First Telecast, Time) Rating/Program (Network, Day, First Telecast, Time)
8.6 The Simpsons (Fox, Sun.,11/08, 8:00 p.m.)
5.6 King of the Hill (Fox, Tue., 10/27, 8:00 p.m.)
5.4 King of the Hill 2 (Fox, Tue., 10/27, 8:30 p.m.)
2.9 Disney's One Saturday Morning 3 (ABC, Sat., 10/31, 9:30 a.m.)
2.7 Disney's One Saturday Morning 2 (ABC, Sat., 10/31, 9:00 a.m.)
2.7 Disney's One Saturday Morning 4 (ABC, Sat., 10/31, 10:30 a.m.)
2.4 Disney's One Saturday Morning 1 (ABC, Sat., 10/31, 8:30 a.m.)
2.0 Batman/Superman 3 (WB, Sat., 10/31, 9:00 a.m.)
2.0 Men in Black (WB, Sat., 10/31, 9:00 a.m.)
1.9 Godzilla (Fox, Sat., 10/31, 9:00 a.m.)
1.9 The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (ABC, Sat., 10/31, 10:30 a.m.)
1.9 Pinky, Elmyra & Brain (WB, Sat., 10/31, 10:30 a.m.)
1.8 Bugs Bunny and Tweety Show 1 (ABC, Sat., 10/31, 10:30 a.m.)
1.8 Bugs Bunny and Tweety Show 2 (ABC, Sat., 10/31, 11:00 a.m.)
1.7 Batman/Superman 2 (WB, Sat., 10/31, 8:30 a.m.)
1.7 Sylvester/Tweety (WB, Sat., 10/31, 11:00 a.m.)
1.6 Spy Dogs (Fox, Sat., 11/07, 10:30 a.m.)
1.6 Sylvester/Tweety (WB, Sat., 10/31, 10:30 a.m.)
1.5 Disney's 101 Dalmatians (ABC, Sat., 10/31, 11:30 a.m.)
1.5 Disney's Hercules (ABC, Sat., 10/31, 8:00 a.m.)
1.5 Histeria (WB, Sat., 10/31, 11:30 a.m.)
1.5 Mad Jack (Fox, Sat., 10/31, 11:00 a.m.)
1.5 Oggy & the Cockroaches (Fox, Sat., 11/07, 11:30 a.m.)
1.5 Spiderman (UPN, Sun., 11/01, 10:30 a.m.)
1.5 Squigglevision (ABC, Sat., 10/31, 11:00 a. m.) 1.4 Spider-Man (Fox, Tue.-Fri., 10/26, 3:00 p.m.)
1.4 X-Men (UPN, Sun., 11/01, 10:00 a.m.)
1.3 Batman/Superman 2 (WB, Sat., 10/26, 4:30 p.m.)
1.2 Batman/Superman 1 (WB, Sat., 10/31, 9:00 a.m.)
1.2 Hulk and Friends (UPN, Sun., 11/01, 9:30 a.m.)
1.1 Batman/Superman 1 (WB, Mon.-Fri., 10/26, 4:00 p.m.)
1.1 Mr. Potato Head (Fox, Sat., 10/31, 8:00 a.m.)
1.0 Beetleborgs (UPN, Sun., 11/01, 9:00 a.m.)
1.0 Life with Louie (Fox,Mon.-Fri, 10/26, 7:30 a.m.)
1.0 Magic School Bus (Fox, Mon.-Fri., 10/26, 7:00 a.m.)
1.0 Toonsylvania (Fox, Mon., 10/26, 3:30 p.m.)
0.9 Guardians of the Legend (CBS, Sat., 11/07, 11:30 a.m.)
0.9 Ned's Newt (Fox, Tue.-Thur., 10/26, 7:30 a.m.)
0.9 Space Goofs (Fox, Mon., 10/26, 3:00 p.m.)
0.8 Anatole (CBS, Sat., 10/31, 7:30 p.m.)
0.8 Birdz (CBS, Sat., 10/31, 11:00 a.m.)
0.8 The Dumb Bunnies (CBS, Sat., 10/31, 8:00 a.m.)
0.8 Flying Rhino Jr. High (CBS, Sat., 10/31, 8:30 a.m.)
0.7 Animaniacs (WB, Mon.-Fri., 10/26, 8:30 a.m.)
0.7 Franklin (CBS, Sat., 10/31, 7:00 a.m.)
0.7 Histeria (WB, Mon.-Fri., 10/26, 3:30 p.m.)
0.7 Pinky & Brain (WB, Mon.-Fri, 10/26, 3:00 p.m.)
0.5 Tiny Toons (WB, Mon.-Fri., 10/26, 8:00 a.m.)

Varga Animates Blues. The WB Network's prime-time animated sitcom, Baby Blues, will be produced at the Hungary-based Varga Studio. Varga has been contracted to animate the pilot episode (which they recently finished), as well as an additional seven episodes of the show's thirteen episode first season order. It should be noted that Warner Bros. is still handling the pre- and post-production on these first eight episodes while Rough Draft is picking up the remaining five episodes. The show, which is based on the comic of the same name created by Jerry Scott and Rick Kirkman, is about coping with the everyday problems that face first-time parents. Varga has previously collaborated with Warner Bros. Television on an Emmy Award-winning Animaniacs special. The creative team for Blues includes animation director Alexei Alexeiev, writers/producers Peter Ocko and Jeff Martin and creative producer Liz Holzman.

Cruikshank On HDTV. St. Louis, Missouri-based Unity Motion, the first company to offer 24-hour high-definition television (HDTV) programming via satellite, has acquired the rights to air six original animated films by independent animator Sally Cruikshank. The films in the package include Face Like a Frog and her cult hit, Quasi at the Quackadero. Through the year 2000, Unity Motion has made a commitment to spend more than $250 million on movie acquisitions. Cruikshank's work are airing in regular rotation on the channel. Sally Cruikshank is currently a commercial director on the Klasky-Csupo roster.

Sally Cruikshank's original production artwork and a video tape of her work is currently available in the
Animation World Store.

Nick Goes Cartoon Crazy. Nickelodeon made a major announcement Tuesday, December 8 regarding their 1999 lineup. 259 original episodes of returning shows, both live-action and animated, are scheduled for the 1999 TV season. The animated shows that will have new episodes are Rugrats, featuring the addition of new family member Baby Dil Pickles, Hey Arnold!, The Wild Thornberrys, CatDog, Oh Yeah! Cartoons!, The Angry Beavers, KABLAM!, and Blue's Clues. In addition, Nickelodeon also has three new animated series that will premiere in 1999. Regarding the new shows, Nickelodeon Senior Vice President of Production, Kevin Kay said, "All of these new series share the common thread that runs through all Nickelodeon shows: they are made from a kids' point of view; they are contemporary in look and are very weird: they are unlike anything kids will see anywhere else." The new shows are as follows:

In addition to the returning and new series, Nickelodeon has announced that they have 50 new animated and live-action series in development for 1999. Nickelodeon has commissioned the production of the following animated pilots to be produced for 1999:

Zoog Disney. (Colossal) Pictures.

(Colossal) And Zoog Disney. Zoog Disney is a new two-hour block of programming on the Disney Channel that features a companion web site signaling the network's latest attempt at converging television and the Internet. The programming block which airs on Saturday and Sunday evenings from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. works in tandem with the web site by allowing children who watch the programs to submit suggestions, vote on outcomes, play games related to the programs, and give input to the shows. The Zoog characters, created by San Francisco-based (Colossal) Pictures, accompany the on-line content helping kids make the transition between the two mediums. "We started thinking of the Zoogs as kids' ambassadors to the technological world, each character representing an aspect of the on-line experience," says Colossal's senior creative director for the project, George Evelyn. The weekly input provided by viewers from the web site required that the Zoog characters be flexible so that their actions and dialog could be easily modified. Thus, Colossal, with the help of Mondo Media, created ten main characters and a host of "extras" designed to work both on TV and on-line. The characters are modular and interchangeable allowing them to be placed in a myriad of situations with a variety of dialog. Each character has the ability for unique animated movement and stylized lip sync. "We essentially gave Disney Channel a modular animation kit," says Evelyn. "They can mix and match characters' discrete actions - like moving left or right, talking to the camera, turning flips - and quickly assemble an endless array of scenes." The characters are modeled in 3D but look like 2D - a process coined by Colossal Chief Executive Officer, Drew Takahashi as "2 1/2D." The creative group for this project included executive creative director Drew Takahashi, executive producer Jana Canellos, art director David Delpo, character designer David Fremont, CG animation art director Pete Parisi and composer/sound designer Pete Scaturro.

Cinar Hooks Up With Shanghai TV. Canadian-based CINAR Films has signed an agreement with Shanghai Animation Film Studio, a subsidiary of Shanghai TV, China's second largest broadcasting company, to co-produce 52 ten-minute episodes of an animated series called Rumble and Growl. The Chinese-developed educational series chronicles the adventures of two friends, Rumble and Growl, who are always hungry. In their quest to find food, the pair uncovers scientific wonders and never-before explained natural phenomena. This is the first-ever official Canada-China co-production for an animated series created in China. The series will air in 1999 on China's Shanghai TV while CINAR will handle the international distribution.

The Return Of Wallace And Gromit. Popular Plasticine cartoon characters Wallace and dog Gromit are returning to the screen for the first time since the Academy-Award winning 1995 short A Close Shave. The cheese-loving duo will make a cameo appearance in an episode of the new 13-part Aardman series Rex the Runt, a cartoon about the adventures of four dogs who share a suburban semi-detached home. Their brief appearance showcases them in their Close Shave role of window cleaners, except this time they face the dastardly Bad Bob. Rex the Runt also features the celebrity voices of Kathy Burke (Nil By Mouth), comedian Eddie Izzard, Antoine de Caunes, Bob Monkhouse, June Whitfield and Paul Merton. The show, created by Richard Goleszowski, will air during the Christmas season on BBC Two.

October Nielsen Ratings. By special arrangement with Nielsen Media Research, AWN publishes the Nielsen ratings for animated programs on a monthly basis in the Animation Flash. The ratings included herein are only for U.S. national network television. The following list of animated national network programs is ranked by Household Ratings. A Rating is the percentage of households that tuned into the program. This percentage can provide us with the number of households that tuned into the program on average during the month. The universe estimate for the 1997-98 television season is 98 million TV homes. Each rating point represents one percent of that universe, or 980,000 TV homes. Translation: The Simpsons, with a 8.6 rating, was viewed in just over 8.4 million (8.6 x 980,000) households. The below ranking is an average for the month of October 1998 (monthly cycle includes the last three day in September).

Rating/Program (Network, Day, First Telecast, Time) Rating/Program (Network, Day, First Telecast, Time)
8.6 The Simpsons (Fox, Sun., 10/25, 8:00 p.m.)
5.4 King of the Hill (Fox, Tue., 10/06, 8:00 p.m.)
2.7 Disney's One Saturday Morning 3 (ABC, Sat., 10/03, 9:30 a.m.)
2.5 Disney's One Saturday Morning 4 (ABC, Sat., 10/03, 10:00 a.m.)
2.5 Disney's One Saturday Morning 2 (ABC, Sat., 10/03, 9:00 a.m.)
2.2 Disney's One Saturday Morning 1 (ABC, Sat., 10/03, 8:30 a.m.)
2.0 The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (ABC, Sat., 10/03, 10:30 a.m.)
1.9 Bugs Bunny and Tweety Show 2 (ABC, Sat., 10/10, 11:00 a.m.)
1.9 Godzilla (Fox, Sat., 10/03, 9:00 a.m.)
1.6 Bugs Bunny and Tweety Show 2 (ABC, Sat., 10/10, 10:30 a.m.)
1.6 Disney's 101 Dalmatians (ABC, Sat., 10/03, 11:30 a.m.)
1.6 Men in Black (WB, Sat., 10/03, 9:00 a.m.)
1.6 Batman/Superman 2 (WB, Sat., 10/03, 8:30 a.m.)
1.6 Invasion America 1 (WB, Sat., 10/03, 9:30 a.m.)
1.6 Spy Dogs (Fox, Sat., 10/03, 10:30 a.m.)
1.5 Spiderman (UPN, Sun., 10/04, 10:30 a.m.)
1.5 Squigglevision (ABC, Sat., 10/03, 11:00 a. m.)

1.4 Invasion America 2 (WB, Sat, 10/03, 10:00 a.m.)
1.4 Mad Jack (Fox, Sat., 10/03, 11:00 a.m.)
1.4 Oggy & the Cockroaches (Fox, Sat, 10/03, 11:30 a.m.)
1.4 X-Men (UPN, Sun., 10/04, 10:00 a.m.)
1.3 Batman/Superman 2 (WB, Sat., 10/03, 4:30 p.m.)
1.3 Disney's Hercules (ABC, Sat., 10/03, 8:00 a.m.)

1.3 Sylvester/Tweety (WB, Sat., 10/03, 11:00 a.m.)
1.2 Histeria (WB, Sat., 10/03, 11:30 a.m.)
1.2 Hulk and Friends (UPN, Sun., 10/04, 9:30 a.m.)

1.2 Pinky, Elmyra & Brain (WB, Sat., 10/03, 10:30 a.m.)
1.2 Spider-Man (Fox, Tue.-Fri., 09/28, 3:00 p.m.)
1.2 Toonsylvania (Fox, Mon., 09/28, 3:30 p.m.)
1.1 Batman/Superman 1 (WB, Sat., 10/03, 8:00 a.m.)
1.1 Batman/Superman 1 (WB, Mon.-Fri., 09/28, 4:00 p.m.)
1.0 Brats (WB, Sat., 10/10, 10:00 a.m.)
1.0 Life with Louie (Fox, Mon.-Fri., 09/28, 7:30 a.m.)
1.0 Mr. Potato Head (Fox, Sat., 10/03, 8:00 a.m.)
0.9 Anatole (CBS, Sat., 10/03, 7:30 p.m.)
0.9 Beetleborgs (UPN, Sun., 10/04, 9:00 a.m.)
0.9 Bobby's World (Fox, Mon.-Fri, 09/28, 7:00 a.m.)
0.9 Life with Louie (Fox, Mon. & Fri., 10/05, 7:30 a.m.)
0.9 Space Goofs (Fox, Mon., 09/28, 3:00 p.m.)
0.8 The Dumb Bunnies (CBS, Sat., 10/03, 8:00 a.m.)
0.8 Flying Rhino Jr. High (CBS, Sat., 10/03, 8:30 a.m.)
0.8 Histeria (WB, Mon.-Fri., 09/28, 3:30 p.m.)
0.8 Magic School Bus (Fox, Mon.-Fri., 10/05, 7:00 a.m.)
0.8 Ned's Newt (Fox, Tue.-Thu., 10/05, 7:30 a.m.)
0.8 Pinky & Brain (WB, Mon.-Fri, 09/28, 3:00 p.m.)
0.7 Birdz (CBS, Sat., 10/03, 11:00 a.m.)
0.7 Franklin (CBS, Sat., 10/03, 7:00 a.m.)
0.5 Animaniacs (WB, Mon.-Fri., 09/28, 8:30 a.m.)
0.4 Tiny Toons (WB, Mon.-Fri., 09/28, 8:00 a.m.)


Note: Readers may contact any Animation World Magazine contributor by sending an e-mail to editor@awn.com.


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