U.K.-based media and entertainment company Ludorum's train-themed series CHUGGINGTON has been picked up by major networks in Europe, reports C21 MEDIA. SuperRTL (Germany), TF1 (France) and ABC (Australia) have signed broadcast deals for the 3D animated series aimed at three- to six-year-olds and their parents. The series is already in production for the BBC and is scheduled for delivery in the fourth quarter of 2008. Shanghai-based Motion Magic Digital Entertainment is animating the show.
Special Event: MIPCOM
Canadian animation studio House of Cool, which has contributed to such films as MONSTERS INC, THE INCREDIBLES and HORTON HEARS A WHO, will begin producing original content, reports C21 MEDIA.
Heading the slate of three new series is BETTY BANNER PARTY PLANNER (26x22), a comedy-action series for kids 7-11 that was one of the most-screened kids shows at MIPCOM. Betty's adventures include such things as arranging a birthday party for a 300-year-old vampire and tea with the Queen, all while contending with a huge party corporation that wants to put her out of business.
Mark Cranwell has been named Director of Content Acquisition for Babelgum, the next-generation global Internet TV network, it was announced today. In the newly created position, Cranwell will be responsible for leading Babelgum's outreach efforts to producers, filmmakers and content creators in support of the new platform's content strategy. He will report directly to Simon Kenny, Babelgum's Head of Content Strategy and Advertising, in the company's London operation.
Adina Pitt has been named vice president, content acquisitions and co-productions for Cartoon Network and Boomerang, it was announced today. In her new role, Pitt will be responsible for identifying, negotiating and acquiring pre-produced series, specials, movies and short-form product that fit the Cartoon Network and Boomerang brands for exposure on all platforms. She'll continue to oversee those programs once they have been acquired and positioned at each of the networks.
The National Film Board of Canada (NFB) wrapped up MIPCOM 2007 -- the best-attended edition since the audiovisual market's founding -- with a rich array of sales of new animation, as well as titles from the board's extensive archives. Multi-award-winning MADAME TUTLI-PUTLI was snatched up by Canal + France, ARTE, and Swizerland's TSR. Canal + Spain and TSR also acquired the audience favorite SLEEPING BETTY, while YLE (Finland) bought three shorts from the NFB's TALESPINNERS children's collection: ASTHMA TECH, THE GIRL WHO HATED BOOKS and JAIME LO, SMALL AND SHY.
France's Marathon Media has concluded several new deals for its leading kids shows MONSTER BUSTER CLUB, FAMOUS FIVE ON THE CASE and TOTALLY SPIES, reports C21 MEDIA.
MONSTER BUSTER CLUB (52x56), which was pre-sold to Super RTL in Germany, has been picked up by RTVE (Spain), RTV (Slovenia), RTE (Ireland), LNK (Lithuania), Arabic network MBC, Radio Canada and Denmark's TV2. Additional negotiations are in progress in the U.S., Italy, Turkey, Singapore, South Africa and Brazil.
Hyderabad-based DQ Ent. has struck major co-production deals with a number of international companies at this year's MIPCOM.
DQ, Classic Media, and MoonScoop have forged a partnership to produce a new 52x11 3D series called CASPER'S SCARE SCHOOL, based on Seymour Reit and Joe Oriolo's classic character Casper the Friendly Ghost.
Spanish animation company Zinkia has inked a deal with videogame publisher and distributor Virgin PLAY to launch HELLO POCOYO!, the first console game based on the award-winning animation series POCOYO.
The deal, signed on the first day of MIPCOM, sees Virgin PLAY's v.2 PLAY label handling worldwide distribution rights for HELLO POCOYO! for Nintendo DS. The console game, which is currently in production at Zinkia's studio in Madrid, is set to debut in Spain in the first quarter of 2008.
License! Global Magazine's 4th Annual Licensing Challenge, held in conjunction with MIPCOM Jr., was in fact won by two properties, Breakthrough Animation's MY BIG BIG FRIEND and Alphanim's award-winning HAIRY SCARY (52x13 or 26x26). In a story published Monday, AWN identified the former show as the winner, but failed to include co-winner HAIRY SCARY. The complete results were reported in LICENSE! GLOBAL WEEKLY E-NEWS.
Cuppa Coffee Studios' new stop-motion animated comedy series LIFE'S A ZOO.TV is being formally launched at MIPCOM. With thirteen half-hours aimed at the "teens and up" crowd slated for a spring 2008 delivery, LIFE'S A ZOO.TV promises to deliver a new spin on "reality" television alongside its own Web channel at lifesazoo.tv.
Aardman is making its foray into the preschool market, unveiling its brand new stop-motion animated series TIMMY at MIPCOM. The 52x10 series has already been pre-bought by CBeebies in the U.K., and Aardman International is looking to secure further worldwide pre-sale deals at the market.
A KIND OF MAGIC (26x30), Xilam's new animated comedy series in which a bunch of maladjusted fairy tale characters find themselves catapulted from their magic kingdom into the real world, was rated the most popular series at MIPCOM Jr., attracting over 280 buyers.
Currently in production at Xilam's Paris-based animation studio, and due to debut
Breakthrough Animation and 2-D Lab's children's animated series MY BIG BIG FRIEND (52x11) has won The Licensing Challenge, sponsored by License Global! at this year's MIPCOM Jr.
The Licensing Challenge is a pitching session that showcases the TV property with the highest licensing potential. The international jury included Leigh Anne Brodsky (Nickelodeon), Stan Clutton (Fisher Price), Anna Hewitt (BBC), Andrew Lane (Hasbro), John Lee (World World), and Richard Woolf (Jetix). The panelist of judges selected MY BIG BIG FRIEND from a short list of five entrants based on:
Monster Distributes is bringing three new acquisitions to MIPCOM and will be screening a number of other programs at MIPCOM Jr.
BANJO THE WOODPILE CAT (1x30), originally released in 1982, was the first independent production from legendary animator Don Bluth (THE SECRET OF NIMH, AN AMERICAN TALE, THE LAND BEFORE TIME, ANASTASIA). This is the first time that the fully restored film has been available to TV and DVD in both HD and standard-def.
Studio B Productions has signed a production order for 26 episodes of KID VS. KAT, a 26x22 comedy series for kids 6-11 about the exaggerated conflict between a demonically malevolent cat and the beleaguered ten-year-old boy who has become its unwitting nemesis. The property was developed internally at Studio B and originated from a short titled LOOK WHAT MY SISTER DRAGGED IN that screened at MIPCOM Jr. in 2006. The series is currently in production with YTV for a Fall 2008 launch.
Yowza Animation and Cuppa Coffee will join their talents in bringing a unique visual style to Star Farm's THE KINETICS (52x11) with a breakthrough blend of 3D effects and stop-motion animation. Star Farm will introduce the property to international buyers at MIPCOM Jr.
Aardman International will be heading to MIPCOM with its much-anticipated forthcoming WALLACE AND GROMIT film, TROUBLE AT' MILL. The plasticine duo's new adventure will be a half-hour special made for TV, and Aardman will be looking for broadcast pre-sales in Cannes.
Currently in preproduction, TROUBLE AT' MILL will be shown on BBC One next year. Shooting starts in January, with delivery expected for Autumn/Christmas 2008. All production will take place at the Aardman studios in Bristol.
Cosgrove Hall Films is set to unveil a new production at MIPCOM Jr. MY NEIGHBOUR IS AN EVIL GENIUS is a new 52x10 minute series aimed at kids 7-11. Produced in Toon Boom Harmony, MY NEIGHBOUR IS AN EVIL GENIUS is comic tale of espionage, surveillance and high-octane action that just happens to take place over a garden fence in a sleepy suburban town.
VGI Ent. has been appointed the exclusive international television distributor for the 26x30 HD motion-capture action-adventure series ADVENTURES ON ORSUM ISLAND. VGI will launch the series, produced by Pineapple Squared and aimed at children aged 7-12, at MIPCOM Jr. The first episode is due for delivery in October 2007.
Foothill Ent. signed an agreement with Bob's Space Racers to develop multi-platform television programming based on WHAC-A-MOLE, the $1.5 billion amusement park brand.
The deal signifies a "first" for Bob's Space Racers, whose goal is to extend WHAC-A-MOLE beyond the traditional gaming component into entertainment, bringing the "mole" to life through the television medium, and thereby engage a whole new consumer demographic. WHAC-A-MOLE made its debut in 1976 in the amusement and carnival world and is the #1 arcade game across the globe.
Starz Media has announced its slate of programs for MIPCOM.
* WOW! WOW! WUBBZY!_ Flash-animated pre-school series (26x22 or 52x11). Wubbzy, who just wants to have fun, and his best pals Widget (she just wants to build) and Walden (he just wants to think) face the challenges of each day with the best resource they've got -- friendship! The second season has been renewed on Nick Jr. in the U.S., launching in 2009._
French broadcaster Canal+ has acquired all broadcast rights -- including pay TV, cable TV, Internet and mobile -- to distributor BRB Internacional's devilish animation series THE IMP. Canal+ will also act as the licensing agent in France.
Produced by Red Kite, Screen 21, and TVC, THE IMP (65x90) is a comedy produced in black-and-white HD3D targeted at young adults. Winner of the MIPCOM Jr. Licensing Challenge, THE IMP has been specifically designed to easily adapt to new multimedia formats, as well as to more traditional products such as toys, textile, stationery, etc.
This week in AWN's Forums, a wannabe animation writer needs some advice. There's a thread collecting members' favorite children's book artists. RATATOUILLE is still a hot topic on the forums. A member needs some Flash vectoring help. Another member wonders if it is possible to teach themselves 2D. A senior member has started a thread to talk about the forthcoming animated SPACEBALLS TV series. Moderator Larry L wants to know if members would be interested in workshops conducted in the forums.
Rich Ross, President of Disney Channel Worldwide, will present a keynote address on the second day of MIPCOM Junior, which will be held on the Oct. 6-7, 207, at the Carlton Hotel in Cannes.
Rich Ross, who has been with The Walt Disney Co. for 11 years, manages the company's successful and burgeoning global kids' TV business, a total of 67 channel feeds around the world. He is a key member of the team behind the HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL franchise. Ross will share the reasons behind the channel's phenomenal success during his keynote speech at MIPCOM.
9 Story Ent. has announced that production has been completed on the first 26 episodes of its new animated comedy series FUTZ! The Teletoon Original Production is scheduled to premiere as part of the network's new fall programming lineup in September.
Targeting nine- to14-year-olds, the wacky comedy is a retro nonverbal cartoon based on the misadventures of its title character, who is ready for anything, prepared for nothing and always able to severely mess things up in just 180 seconds -- the length of each episode.