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NATPE News: Mike Young Prods. Draws Five Toon

Mike Young Prods. has a strong hand of five animated shows it is holding to deal at NATPE in Las Vegas. Regis Brown, vp of international distribution thinks his ace in the hole is the captivating 3D series for young children, JAKERS! THE ADVENTURES OF PIGGLEY WINKS, which debuted to great reviews September 7, 2003 on PBS Kids in the U.S.

This original 40x22 series, produced by MYP and Entara Ltd. for children 4-7, follows the adventures of Piggley, a spunky eight-year-old pig, and his friends Dannan the Duck and Ferny the Bull on Raloo Farm in Ireland. While the intrepid trio enjoys their escapades, American transplant Wiley the Sheep (voiced by Mel Brooks) is busy offering wild and woolly advice to his all-too-sheepish flock. The stop-motion style series has a storybook quality, accomplished entirely in CGI, blending photographic and textured elements with a good deal of 2D design elements transformed into 3D.

A new offering for the market is TODDWORLD, a 2D preschool series based upon the Todd Parr book collection, produced by MYP, ToddWorld Inc., L&G Creative Resources Inc and Discovery Kids. The half-hour (52x11) series is scheduled to air five days a week on TLCs Ready Set Learn! commercial-free and sponsor-free programming block for preschoolers and two times a day, five days a week on the Discovery Kids Channel beginning in the fourth quarter of 2004.

The series features an artistic, offbeat six-year-old Todd and his friends, Pickle, Dot, Sophie, his dog Otto and cat Mitzi amongst a varied assortment of vibrantly-colored animals plus an alien visitor or two. The show depicts the common themes and social challenges of a young childs life with quirky charm, complemented with Todd Parrs reassuring messages of acceptance, tolerance and the important of self-confidence.

With more than a million books in print worldwide, the Todd Parr book collection includes 27 titles currently published with an additional three to be launched in 2004. Among the authors literary awards are three Oppenheim Golds (including one for The Family Book for 2004) and two National Parenting Publication Awards. Publisher Little, Brown and Co. already has an extensive ToddWorld publishing program in mind.

MYP has another CGI series (52x11), DIVE OLLY DIVE!, for preschool kids featuring fantasy and bath time fun. MYP takes viewers underwater with Olly the Submarine, and his friends, for an ocean of magical deep-sea adventure and learning. MYP produces the series with Crest Communication Ltd. and Telegael.

For older kids, 6-11, theres PET ALIEN, a 26x22 series featuring goofy aliens from another dimension that take up unwanted residence in 10-year-old Tommys home. MYP describes the production style as Tex Avery meets SPONGEBOB in 3D. Antefilms Prods. and Crest Com. share production credits on this fantasy/adventures series.

Another 2D offering includes the new adventures (39x22) of HE-MAN AND THE MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE, as the mighty warrior of legend returns to do battle with his arch enemy Skeltor and his evil minions.

Brown can be reached during NATPE on his mobile 818-620-7297.

One of the most prolific independent animation studios in the U.S., MYP produces two other PBS Kids series, including Scholastics Emmy-nominated CLIFFORD THE BIG RED DOG and the recently announced Scholastic spin-off, CLIFFORDS PUPPY DAYS. Other recent credits include Nickelodeons BUTT-UGLY MARTIANS while its HE-MAN AND THE MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE airs on Cartoon Network.

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