ANIMATION WORLD MAGAZINE - ISSUE 4.6 - SEPTEMBER 1999

Television

Mainframe Acquires Scary Godmother. Vancouver, Canada-based Mainframe Entertainment, Inc. has announced an option agreement with Sirius Entertainment to develop a computer animated television and direct-to-video series based on comic book artist/writer Jill Thompson's Scary Godmother comic books. Scary Godmother was first published by Sirius Entertainment for Hallowe'en, 1997 as a hardcover graphic novel. Since then Sirius has published a new graphic novel every Hallowe'en in addition to black and white one-shot comic books at other times of the year. Scary Godmother is the story of little Hannah Marie and her adventures on Halloween when she meets her very own Scary Godmother. Mainframe Entertainment is the producer of television series such as Reboot, Beast Wars - Transformers, and War Planets and will debut its newest series, Weird-Ohs and Beast Machines this fall on YTV in Canada and Fox Family Channel and Fox Kids Network, respectively, in the U.S.

Warner Renames The Downtowners. The title of Warner Bros.' upcoming animated television series, The Downtowners, about four roomates living in a downtown loft in a fictional big city, and their assortment of colorful friends and neighbors, has been changed to Mission Hill to avoid confusion with the upcoming MTV Downtown series which is a look at the lives of a group of diverse, multi-ethnic characters who live, work and play in the East Village of New York City. Film Roman is producing the animation for Warner's series which is set to premiere this fall. WB's current series include Histeria!, Pinky, Elmyra, And The Brain, and The Batman/Superman Hour, all shown on Kids WB, a programming block on the Warner Bros. network. MTV, the music television cable service, has previously produced Beavis And Butthead and Daria, among others.

Courage, the Cowardly Dog. © 1996 Hanna-Barbera Cartoons and Cartoon Network.
King Crab Space Crustacean.
© 1999 Cartoon Network.

Cartoon Network Offers Sneak Peeks. Cartoon Network offered two premieres on Saturday, August 21 and Sunday, August 22 at 9 pm. On both days at that time, one could see the premiere of Courage, The Cowardly Dog, created by John R. Dilworth, about a timid dog who defends an elderly couple from paranormal threats. Immediately following at 9:30 pm on both days was the premiere of Bill Wray's short film, King Crab Space Crustacean, a parody of television science fiction series. In the film the youngest crewmember of King Crab's intergalactic space cruiser has his body invaded by a life-sucking outer space parasite. These premieres were part of Cartoon Network's third annual Cartoon Cartoon Weekend, a 53-hour marathon of Cartoon Network's original cartoons which began on Friday, August 20 at 7 pm and ended at midnight on Sunday, August 22. Other cartoons that were shown included episodes of The Powerpuff Girls, Johnny Bravo, Dexter's Laboratory, Ed, Edd N Eddy, Cow And Chicken, What A Cartoon! Show, and I Am Weasel.

Rocket Power. Courtesy of Klasky Csupo and Nickelodeon.

Nickelodeon Set Rocket Power Premiere. Klasky Csupo's latest TV series, Rocket Power, premiered on Nickelodeon on Monday, August 16 at 8:30 pm (ET/PT). Set in the fictional Southern California beach community of Ocean Shores, Rocket Power features the adventures of four extreme-sports loving friends who chase the ultimate wave, ramp, or slope in quest of an adrenaline rush. Rocket Power is co-created and executive produced by Arlene Klasky and Gabor Csupo, co-founders of Klasky Csupo, Inc. which also produces the extremely successful The Rugrats and The Wild Thornberrys for Nickelodeon. Eryk Casemiro is co-executive producer for the series of 13 half-hour shows.

Disney Changes Name Of UPN Block. Disney's Whomptastic, the previously announced two hour cartoon programming block which is set to air daily on UPN beginning September 6, has been changed to Disney's One Two so that viewers will associate it with Disney's other cartoon block, the ABC Saturday morning Disney's One Saturday Morning. Disney's One Two will present the premiere of Sabrina The Animated Series, as well as include the already established shows Disney's Recess, Disney's Doug and Disney's Hercules.

Nelvana Is Producing Six Shows For PBS. Six new children's series based on popular titles from noted authors such as Maurice Sendak, Rosemary Wells, Don Freeman and William Joyce will be produced by Toronto-based Nelvana for distribution by the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) as a weekend block beginning in fall 2000. The six book titles upon which the new series will be based are: Maurice Sendak's Seven Little Monsters, William Joyce's George Shrinks, Don Freeman's Corduroy Bear, Rosemary Wells' Timothy Goes To School, Michael and Betty Paraskevas' Junior Kroll, and Andrea Beck's Elliot Moose. Maurice Sendak's picture book, Seven Little Monsters is about kids who are all over 10 feet tall, and each "child" has his or her own special quality (one can fly, another can twist off his head). Every show features a different monster who confronts kid-sized concerns and discovers the best way to cope with each situation. William Joyce's George Shrinks is about a character who is only three inches tall. Rosemary Wells' Timothy Goes To School is about a bashful five-year-old discovering his place in the world. Betty and Michael Paraskevas' Junior Kroll And Company is about a kid who is sure of himself, and knows what he wants. Through Junior's entertaining and kid-relatable perspective on our world, the series will help develop both problem-solving and life skills in young viewers. Andrea Beck's Elliot Moose combines animation and live-action in a series about a group of stuffed animals that live in "The Big House" and call the playroom home. A dog flap in the kitchen allows the toys easy access to the outside world, where their adventures are limited only by the children's imagination. Don Freeman's Corduroy Bear looks at the world from the point of view of an urban child.

A Dog Cartoon. © 1998 Wild Brain, Inc.

Wild Brain Short Becomes TV Series. San Francisco-based Wild Brain, Inc. has joined with Munich-based EM.TV & Merchandising to co-produce Poochini's Yard, a 26-episode series based on Wild Brain's short, A Dog Cartoon. Wild Brain will manage all creative aspects of the series which begins production this summer. Distribution rights are planned to be split between domestic for Wild Brain, and international for EM.TV. Wild Brain's credits include Ferngully 2: The Magical Rescue, and current productions The Adventures Of Rocky & Bullwinkle and Dudley Do-Right. EM.TV owns German TV and merchandising rights to characters and series such as Sesame Street, The Flintstones, and Pigs Next Door.

The March 1998 issue of Animation World Magazine features "Ferngully 2: The Magical Rescue - Getting the Money on the Screen," in which co-directors Dave Marshall and Phil Robinson of Wild Brain discuss the pre-production process and share storyboard samples and tips.

Doc Franky. Courtesy of PPM Multimedia.

PPM Multimedia Offers TV Series At MIPCOM. Barcelona, Spain-based PPM Multimedia will offer two new TV series at the upcoming MIPCOM in Cannes, France in September. The Tales Of The Alhambra is a 26 episode series based on a 1998 feature, Ahmed, The Prince Of The Alhambra, produced by Spanish production company, Lotura Films. The series is currently in pre-production at Lotura Films, with PPM MultiMedia (a regional Spanish TV channel) providing 25% of the budget, and various other animation studios providing co-production offers. The series is about Ahmed and his friends who join him in a fight against conspiracy and evil powers. Doc Franky is a series that is already in production. It is being produced by Spanish companies Cadoffice and Pablo Llorens. PPM Multimedia is providing worldwide distribution. The series is about a nutty doctor whose dream of making a monster who will rule the world is foiled by two bothersome children.

A Day in the Life of Ranger Smith. © 1997 Cartoon Network, Hanna-Barbera and Spumco, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Boo Boo Runs Wild. 1997 Cartoon Network, Hanna-Barbera and Spumco, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Ren And Stimpy Creator Gives Yogi A Makeover. John Kricfalusi, creator of Nickelodeon's The Ren And Stimpy Show, returns to television with two long-awaited half-hour specials featuring Yogi Bear, Boo Boo, and their nemesis, Ranger Smith. In Boo Boo Runs Wild, Yogi's pal Boo Bootransforms from a law-abiding cave dweller to Jellystone Park's greatest menace. Yogi must save his buddy before Ranger Smith stops Boo Boo for good. A Day In The Life Of Ranger Smith follows Ranger Smith on his daily routine as he attempts to enforce ridiculous rules and regulations on Mother Nature. Before founding Spumco and creating The Ren And Stimpy Show, Kricfalusi worked with Ralph Bakshi on Mighty Mouse: The New Adventures, and with Hanna-Barbera directing and supervising layouts for the 1980s revival of The Jetsons. The two specials will be shown back-to-back on Cartoon Network on Friday, September 24 at 10 pm. Warning: In typical John K. style, these shows are not necessarily toons for kids! In a sneak peek at the San Diego Comic-Con fans were delighted and parents made note of the late time slot.


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


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