BROADCASTING AND CABLE has reported that SOUTH PARK creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone are currently being lured by ABC to create new material for the network. Currently, Comedy Central pays the team of tastelessness between US$400,000 to $500,000 per episode for SOUTH PARK. Reportedly, ABC is offering the cross-dressing crew $1 million per episode for the new programming. THE NEW YORK POST reported that Comedy Central has countered ABC by offering the SOUTH PARK partners artistic freedom on a new series, an offer ABC could never make.
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Prague-based SAF Studia Animovaneho Filmu.a.s. is currently producing a series of short inserts for a Disney TV pilot, NONE OF THE ABOVE. The primary client for the project is Tapehouse Toons in New York. The clips are being produced by Zdenka Deitchova, senior producer at Animovany Film Prague. The project is being produced in cooperation with Frame, s.r.o., who are providing the computer animation and special effects facilities.
Walt Disney has announced that the new animated series TEACHER'S PET will join ABC's "Disney's One Saturday Morning" line-up this fall. Tony award-winner Nathan Lane will voice the knowledge-fiend dog, Spot, who disguises himself as a boy to go to school. TEACHER'S PET is being produced at Walt Disney Television Animation by the team of cartoonist Gary Baseman and Emmy Award-winning primetime sitcom writers Bill & Cheri Steinkellner (CHEERS, THE JEFFERSONS).
Shockwave.com, a leading Internet entertainment destination, has launched the next generation of its award-winning site. The new home page is designed to have a "virtual" home theater look. Visitors entering the site encounter a home living room environment where entertainment consoles appear on the screen and invite Net surfers to watch shorts, play games or listen to music. Users may choose from several themes to create their preferred overall look and feel of the home page.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) filed their first documents in the CINAR Corp. tax fraud case. According to the report CINAR received at least CA$7.8 million (US$5.4 million) in Quebec provincial tax credits by allegedly placing false Canadian names on scripts written by U.S. writers to receive tax credits. In the report, RCMP says that several executives, including former co-CEO and co-founder Ronald Weinberg, asked former CINAR employee Thomas Lapierre to create subcontracts that would be used to pay U.S. scribes.
GT Interactive Software Corp. announced that in an effort to boost its Humongous Entertainment children's software division, it would fold the company's existing operations into the GT Interactive arm. The New York-based gaming company will adopt a unified corporate direction, similar to that of GT Interactive's majority owner Infogrames Entertainment. Infogrames hopes that the new arrangement will increase shareholder value and produce a re-energized company.
In the television competition at Cartoons on the Bay, Warner Bros.' beleaguered series MISSION HILL took home the prize for best over-all animation series. The 4th Cartoons On The Bay International Festival of Television Animation was held in Positano (Amalfi Coast), Italy from April 14 - 18. Cartoons on the Bay is the only festival in the world dedicated to television animation. The festival is an international event with awards, workshops, lectures and events centering on the ever-changing world of television animation.
Time Warner Inc. reported operating income before amortization of intangible assets (EBITA) of US$1.17 billion on revenues of $6.55 billion for the first quarter of 2000. In the first quarter of 1999, EBITA was $1.24 billion on revenues of $6.09 billion. EBITA grew 13% for the first quarter when normalized for certain items described below affecting the comparability of operating results. Revenue grew 8% for the quarter on a normalized basis.
Orlando, Florida-based AARGH! ANIMATION, INC. has signed veteran animator JEFFREY VARAB. Varab, best known for his key animation on MULAN, BALTO, LAND BEFORE TIME, CASPER, THE TIGGER MOVIE and the upcoming Fox feature TITAN A.E., has moved to AARGH! to be part of a more intimate creative team. "The exciting part of joining Mark and Dave [AARGH!] is that it allows me to use all of my experience in exciting and challenging ways," said Varab. Originally hired at Disney Animation in 1977, Varab started on the movie PETE'S DRAGON beside one of Disney's original "9 Old Men," Eric Larson.
DIGITAL ENTERTAINMENT NETWORK, INC. (DEN), a privately held interactive entertainment Web site, announced that prominent entertainment industry veteran FRANK MANCUSO has joined its board of directors. With a distinguished career that spans over four decades, Mancuso most recently served as chairman and CEO of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc. and remains a special consultant and member of its board of directors. Prior to joining MGM, Mancuso served as chairman and CEO of Paramount Pictures.
ICEBOX.COM, the soon-to-be launched original animated content site, has appointed GARY LEVINE president of Icebox Entertainment. Levine left his post as executive VP of creative affairs at Warner Bros. Television to join Icebox.com where he will oversee all aspects of series development and production, forge deals with traditional entertainment outlets and help Icebox.com expand the scope of its creative partnerships.
CINEGROUPE has named LUCE PELLERIN as the new director of business affairs and PAT PALUMBO as the new director of finance and administration. Pellerin joined CineGroupe's business affairs department in September of 1999 as legal counsel. Since 1988, Pellerin has specialized in entertainment law. She has served as head of business affairs for Behaviour Communications and Telescene. For the past 10 years, Palumbo has worked at Pricewaterhouse Coopers in Montreal, both in entertainment and multimedia sectors. For the past few years, he has conducted CineGroupe's audits.
GREENLIGHT INTERNATIONAL has appointed LYNN CHADWICK as new company VP and JAAP JOOST (JJ) BREIJINCK as new director of licensing. Chadwick joins the Hilversum, Netherlands-based company from Canadian distribution house Salter Street Film International. As VP at Salter Street, she oversaw the international division, worldwide sales, secured pre-sale financing and assessed third party product. Breijinck joins Greenlight with 14 years of experience in the TV distribution business.
On May 27, 2000 in Europe, Turner Broadcasting will launch Boomerang, a brand new animation channel from the Cartoon Network stable. The new network will feature over 2,000 characters such as Top Cat, Wacky Races, Yogi Bear and the Hair Bear Bunch. The new channel will run from 6 am until midnight and will be available along with Cartoon Network and Cartoon Network Plus to all Sky Digital homes. Discussions with operators for digital cable and DTT carriage are also underway.
Nelvana Limited has acquired the worldwide development, production, distribution and merchandising rights to LITTLE CRITTER. The series will be based on the best-selling books by Mercer Mayer. Beginning in 1976, the 90-book LITTLE CRITTER series has sold over 100 million copies worldwide. The story follows the everyday life of Little Critter and his friends Tiger and Gator. As the oldest sibling of five, Critter has to balance his responsibilities with playing sports, going to the mall and reading comics.
THE MIRACLE MAKER is set to air on Easter Sunday at 7 pm screening on ABC. Set in 1st Century Israel, the story follows a sick young girl, Tamar (Rebbeca Callard), her Pharisee father Jairus (William Hurt), and her desperate mother Rachel (Julie Christie) as they encounter the charismatic preacher Jesus (Ralph Fiennes). Can Tamar be healed before those in authority strike against Jesus? THE MIRACLE MAKER was created by Christopher Grace of S4C following the success of SHAKESPEARE: THE ANIMATED TALES, TESTAMENT: THE BIBLE IN ANIMATION and THE CANTERBURY TALES.
COURAGE THE COWARDLY DOG has joined Cartoon Network Latin America's line up. The series chronicles the life of a terribly timid dog named Courage who must regularly defend his owners, an old couple living on a farm outside the small town of Nowhere, from paranormal elements that threaten their simple existence. Based on the character from the 1996 Academy Award-nominated cartoon short THE CHICKEN FROM OUTER SPACE, created by John R. Dilworth, COURAGE THE COWARDLY DOG is the seventh Cartoon Network Original to make an exclusive appearance in Latin America.
POKEMON is still going strong. KIDS WB! has ordered 52 more episodes of the phenomenon for September 2000. The latest broadcasters to catch the series are TV4 Sweden, TV2 Denmark, TV2 Norway, MTV Finland, RTL-Klub (Hungary) and RTL-TVI (Belgium), as well as Cartoon Network in Australia and New Zealand. The total number of episodes for the series is now 156.
Portuguese broadcaster RTP has begun airing the interactive gameshow STINKY AND BEAVER. The ITE property is created using Silicon Graphics software and 3D animation. The series introduces players to CGI characters who test the participants and serve as the show's hosts. The series is included in RTP's Interactive Hour next to ITE's successful HUGO series.
Japanese trade officials have placed trade restrictions on Sony's PlayStation 2 because of concerns that the gaming system could be used for a military processor. The fear is due to PlayStation 2's high-speed graphic processing. Theoretically, the processor could be removed from the console and used in missile guidance systems. For example, a missile like a Tomahawk needs to locate its destination as it flies through the air and use high-speed graphic processing to pinpoint its target.
Bristol-based Harvest Films has been commissioned by BBC1 to produce a half-hour animated special entitled, HAMILTON MATTRESS. Developed in conjunction with the BBC Animation Unit, the stop-motion special features a cast of characters created by John Webster, writer of some of the most successful television advertising campaigns. The special will follow the story of an unloved Aardvark and his canny caterpillar companion, who embark on an epic adventure in which friendship and talent triumph over vanity and greed.
If you're waiting for the bus and a poster talks to you don't be startled. To promote, the debut of the hit series ANGELA ANACONDA on Cartoon Network Europe, the toon TV channel has designed talking posters to be placed in bus shelters all over the U.K. The posters will be fitted with a hidden movement sensor that will make it talk whenever a person passes by. There will be five different sound bites plus a song emanating from the posters for Cartoon Network Europe's new 52 part series created by Joanna Ferrone and Sue Rose, creator of the highly successful PEPPER ANN and voice of Angela.
Blue Sky Studios has brought dead fish to life for THE SOPRANOS. Blue Sky's Animation Director Mark Baldo and Lead Technical Director Cliff Bohm were given the task to create the special effects for a pivotal scene in the season finale. The scene features Tony Soprano (James Gandolfini), who is wracked with guilt and indecision about his long-time friend, Pussy (Vincent Pastore), who he knows has turned FBI informant.
Turner Broadcasting System (TBS) has signed a multi-year deal with Israel's first and only DTH operator Yes to show Cartoon Network. The Turner toon network will be offered as a 24-hour channel alongside TCM (Turner Classic Movies) and CNN International on Yes' channel packages which will launch in the second half of 2000. "Yes is extremely proud of its association with TBS," said Yona Wiesenthal, Senior Vice President of Content, Yes.
Manga Entertainment brings Hayao Miyazaki's first film to DVD and VHS. THE CASTLE OF CAGLIOSTRO is the first film written and directed by anime pioneer and visionary Hayao Miyazaki (PRINCESS MONONOKE, KIKI'S DELIVERY SERVICE). Loosely based on French novelist Maurice Leblanc's ARSENE LUPIN: GENTLEMAN THIEF adventure, the film follows Lupin, an underworld version of Sherlock Holmes, who is famous for swindling goods from the rich around the world.