Animation World Magazine, Issue 3.4, July 1998


Toons From Planet Orange.   Nickelodeon.
Toons From Planet Orange.
© Nickelodeon.
Toons From Planet Orange is the name of a new half-hour special featuring eight animated short films commissioned by Nickelodeon and directed by artists in Australia, Germany, Latin America, U.K. and the U.S. It is the first animated project by Nickelodeon's Worldwide Development Group (WDG). "The mission of WDG is to discover fresh talent from around the globe and provide [them] the opportunity to develop and produce their innovative, irreverent ideas," said Albie Hecht, president of Film and Television Entertainment for Nickelodeon, "[as well as] a chance to develop their characters into future Nickelodeon toon stars." The shorts are: Agent Green and Ego From Mars by Kapow Productions, Snout by Fudge Puppy Productions, Helmmut and the Killer Nose by Anton Reidel, La Hora de Hombre Cacto by Darío Adanti and Bárbara Perdiguera, Vida De Sapos by Metrovisión Post Producción, Spider and Fly by Elm Road on the Box and Hector the Get Over Cat by John R. Dilworth. Toons From Planet Orange will air simultaneously on August 22, on Nickelodeon channels around the world, in several different languages.

Nick Turns Off In Germany. Citing weak advertising sales and increased competition for viewers, Nickelodeon has ceased broadcasting its channel in Germany. The channel, launched nearly three years ago, was challenged by the launch of Kinderkanal, a new advertising-free cable channel launched last year by German broadcasters ARD and ZDF. Nickelodeon hopes to regain its presence in Germany by licensing programming to native broadcasters in the future.

Sony Launches Anime Channel. Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE), in partnership with Japanese animation studios Toei Animation, Sunrise, Kyokuichi Corporation and Nippon, launched ANIMAXthe first 24-hour satellite channel devoted to animein Japan on June 1. Masao Takiyama, a former executive at Fuji Creative, has been named general manager and CEO of the channel, which will be headquartered in Tokyo. ANIMAX will be one of 171 channels on the new digital platform, SkyPerfecTV!, which aims to reach two million subscribers by the year 2000. Programming will consist of animation produced by founding companies.

Fox Animating `99 Line-Up. Hoping to expand on the success it's had with The Simpsons and King of the Hill, The Fox Broadcasting Company will add three new animated series to its prime time schedule in mid-season (early 1999): Simpsons creator Matt Groening's Futurama [AF 4/14/98], Eddie Murphy and Will Vinton Studios' stop-motion The PJs [AF 2/17/98] and newcomer Seth MacFarlane's Family Guy. While Futurama and The PJs were planned and in production well before this announcement, Family Guy is a relatively unplanned pilot by MacFarlane, a 24-year-old graduate of Rhode Island School of Design who was recently discovered by Fox executives. MacFarlane's student film first brought him to Hanna-Barbera's attention where he made Larry and Steve, a What A Cartoon! short for Cartoon Network in 1995. Specific nights of the week on which the three new series will air have not yet been announced. In a related move, Fox will relocate King of the Hill from its post-Simpsons Sunday slot to an 8:00 p.m. Tuesday slot, preceding a new live-action series, Costello, starting in fall `98. The Simpsons, entering its 10th season in fall `98, will stay put on Sunday, but will be followed by another new live-action comedy, Feelin' All Right, set in the 1970s.

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