DIC Entertainment and the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) have announced the debut of their newest children's animated series, LIBERTY'S KIDS. Premiering on Memorial Day 2002 on PBS, the series follows two young teenagers working in Benjamin Franklin's print shop as they tell the stories of the American Revolution. Walter Cronkite, one of the most respected American journalists of all time, will be voicing the Benjamin Franklin character. Dr. Jack Rakove, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian, and Dr.
In 51st place, THE SIMPSONS remained the top toon in primetime. Bart and family's ratings slipped a bit however from last week's 4.9 rating/9 share to this week's 4.4 rating/8 share. Moving up from 63rd place to finish 57th in its second week of its new season, FAMILY GUY garnered an improved 4.1 rating/7 share. The special Wednesday 8 pm airing of KING OF THE HILL placed 73rd, scoring a 3.5 rating/7 share. In its regular Sunday time slot, KING OF THE HILL took home a 2.9 rating/6 share in the 85th slot. At #90, FUTURAMA fashioned a 2.6 rating/6 share. The U.S.
Cartoon Network has contracted J.J. Sedelmaier Productions for three more installments of CAPTAIN LINGER. The series was created by writer Stuart Hill and animation director J.J. Sedelmaier and follows Captain Linger, a superhero who lingers around after saving the day. "Everybody who has seen the Captain loves him," said Sedelmaier. "Ad agency people especially respond immediately because any airtime not filled makes them react. Almost immediately, however, they are charmed by this totally irresponsible use of on-air time. The problem is that, so far, these are short, interstitial pieces.
Phoenix Media Group Ltd. has obtained the universal rights to the LITTLE DINOS cartoon series throughout North America. The show is a 26-episode series that presents both popular science and scientific fantasy. Produced by Guangdong South Natural Science Museum Co. Ltd., LITTLE DINOS follows the birth, development, domination and extinction of dinosaurs. "We see the LITTLE DINOS series as a perfect complement to our own MANFRED MOOSE character," said Ron Irwin, chief executive officer of Phoenix Media Group. "Both are dedicated to imparting knowledge to children in a fun and entertaining way.
Wolfmill Entertainment has acquired the rights to ASTOUNDING SPACE THRILLS, an Internet adventure comic strip. The show will follow the adventures of the explorer Argosy Smith after The Shift, a cosmic event that transformed the laws governing the universe. "Steve Conley's created a fascinating universe filled with entertaining characters who give ASTOUNDING SPACE THRILLS a quirky humor that blends perfectly with the adventurous stories he tells," said Marv Wolfman, a partner in Wolfmill Entertainment.
Mainframe Entertainment and MTV have announced they have begun development on the sci-fi comic TV series GATECRASHER. The half-hour CGI series is designed and written by the team of Jimmy Palmiotti, Amanda Connor and Mark Waid and is produced in association with Black Bull Entertainment. The show centers around the story of Alec Wagner, a college student who is half-human, half alien and a full time member of the Split-Second Squad, a secret alien army that protects Earth from alien attacks.
Vancouver-based Studio B Productions has announced that all three of its animated children's series currently airing on Canada's national television have been picked up for another season. "Were very proud to have all three of our original shows picked up for national broadcast," said Blair Peters, partner and founder, Studio B Productions. "There's a lot of competition out there and we're pleased that kids have responded well to our characters and stories." DMYNA LEAGUES follows the wacky baseball adventures of a team of teenage myna birds.
Toon Disney is adding PEPPER ANN to the channel's fall schedule. Produced by Walt Disney Television Animation, the series will make its Toon Disney premiere on Labor Day weekend. The show joins DISNEY'S DOUG, the preschool series RUPERT, MAGICAL WORLD OF TOONS, PRINCESS POWER HOUR and CHILLIN' WITH THE VILLAINS on Toon Disney's fall schedule. "We are delighted to welcome PEPPER ANN to Toon Disney," said Jonathan Barzilay, senior vice president and general manager of ABC Kids and Toon Disney.
With primetime TV animation boiling down to what airs on Fox, four toon comrades battle it out for rating supremacy. THE SIMPSONS finished at #47 with a 4.9 rating/9 share. The debut of FAMILY GUY's new season placed 63rd in its Wednesday 9:30 pm slot, bringing home a 3.8 rating/7 share. At #69, KING OF THE HILL hooked a 3.6 rating/7 share. FUTURAMA placed 81st, racking in a 3.2 rating/7 share. The U.S. universe estimate used for calculating ratings for the broadcast networks (ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, UPN, PAX and WB) is equal to 100% of all TV households.
Shanghai-based Hweilai Studios has announced that Dennis Hopper is set to star in a new special effects heavy TV series, entitled FLATLAND. The EASY RIDER star has agreed to appear in 22 episodes as the mysterious villain Mr. Smith, who controls the show's strange universe. The show follows the adventures of three young adults trapped in a fourth-dimension where time and space crisscross. Hweilai is still looking for a distributor in the States. The studio is spending approximately US$1.75 million per episode.
Nickelodeon has announced that its new Nick Jr. series, OSWALD THE OCTOPUS, will premiere in primetime on Monday, August 20, at 8 pm. The series follows the thoughtful blue octopus (voiced by Fred Savage of THE WONDER YEARS) and his friends Weenie the dog, Henry the penguin and Daisy the flower. The show was created by children's author and illustrator Dan Yaccarino. Nickelodeon and HIT Entertainment are co-producing the series. The acoustic music in OSWALD is done by jazz musician Evan Lurie, a member of the group The Lounge Lizards.
AurenyA, is about to start production on the next three half-hour specials of STORIES FROM THE SEVENTH FIRE for Storytellers Productions Inc. The computer animation and visual effects studio will be responsible for the 3D animated portion of the half-hour animated and live-action productions, currently to be shown on various Canadian broadcasters, including CBC National, Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN), Vision, Access and SCN.
Boomerang, the classic toon channel from Cartoon Network, will launch on Telewest's digital service, in its Supreme Package, beginning mid-July. Casey Harwood, commercial director U.K. & Ireland for Turner Broadcasting said, "The launch of Boomerang means that Telewest Active Digital will carry all of Turner's UK channels. Telewest consistently delivers high penetration for their TV packages and I am sure the addition of Boomerang will help grow this further." James Greville, head of Cartoon Network U.K., said, "Boomerang is the success story of 2001.
Nickelodeon is commissioning three separate pilot concepts for proposed RUGRATS spin-off series. The first of the three spinoff ideas features spunky next-door neighbor Susie Carmichael and troublesome tike Angelica Pickles in pre-school. The second has Susie and her family moving to Atlanta to live with Grandma Carmichael and help her run the family restaurant. The third possible spinoff continues the adventures of the Rugrats as "tweens" as seen in the upcoming 10th anniversary special "All Growed Up," which debuts on July 21 at 8 pm.
TV Land, the spin-off network of Nickelodeon's Nick-At-Nite block, has announced the development of an animated pilot entitled THE ALAN BRADY SHOW, based on Carl Reiner's character on the DICK VAN DYKE SHOW. This pilot is the first plot-driven series in the network's five-year history. The series will be set in the present, 40 years after the debut of THE ALAN BRADY SHOW, and will follow the backstage exploits of creating the TV show. The series will feature Carl Reiner in voice over.
The Disney Channel will premiere its new animated series, STANLEY, in September 2001 as part of a Playhouse Disney block. In addition to airing mornings on the Disney Channel, the series will air in primetime on the recently announced Playhouse Disney network scheduled to launch in early 2002. The interactive, learning-based series was created and executive produced by Jim Jinkins (DOUG) and David Campbell's (PB&J OTTER) Cartoon Pizza Productions, in association with the Disney Channel.
The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences has announced the 53rd annual Primetime Emmy awards nominations. Nominated for "Animated Program Less Than One Hour" are Nickelodeon's AS TOLD BY GINGER "Hello Ginger," Fox's FUTURAMA "Amazon Women in the Mood," Fox's KING OF THE HILL "Chasing Bobby," Fox's THE SIMPSONS "Homer" and Cartoon Network's THE POWERPUFF GIRLS "Moral Decay & Meet the Beat Alls." The only nomination in the "Animated Program One Hour or More" category was Discovery's ALLOSAURUS: A WALKING WITH DINOSAURS SPECIAL.
French production house Teva announced that LETTERS FROM MY WINDMILL, a stop-motion, 8 x 13 television series and feature film, will be co-produced with the Disney Channel in France. The background models will be made at the Disneyland Europe studios, as part of a tourist attraction. Teva also announced the participation of Tonino Guerra in their feature film project 20,000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA. Guerra is a famed Italian screenwriter who worked for Michelangelo Antonioni and Frederico Fellini, among others.
Turner Broadcasting System (TBS) Latin America, Inc. has launched its new, 24-hour animation network, Boomerang. "The launch of Boomerang provides characters like Yogi Bear, Huckleberry Hound, Quick Draw McGraw and Jonny Quest with a new place they can call home," said Barry Koch, vice president of Cartoon Network Latin America and Boomerang Latin America. "Over the last couple of years, as Cartoon Network's programming has evolved, we have had less time to showcase the classic cartoons we all love.
Brisbane, Australia's Blue Rocket Productions has started pre-production on their new 3D animated television series entitled HOOTA & SNOZ. The interstitial series of 26 episodes are being co-produced with RTV Family Entertainment and Pacific Film and Television Commission. The show follows the antics of two creatures that constantly bicker about everything. The characters speak in squeaks and grunts, which breaks down the culture barrier and has allowed the series to be sold into nearly 40 countries since its release at MIPCOM last October.
London-based Spider Eye has started production on a new 2D animated TV short based on Geoffrey Chaucer's CANTERBURY TALES entitled THE SQUIRE'S TALE. The project is part of S4C and BBC's continuing animated series depicting the individual tales. THE SQUIRE'S TALE is a tale of the King of Sarai and the special gifts he and his family receive from the King of Arabia and India. Animation, rendering and backgrounds for the film were produced at Jumping Jack Productions Ltd. for transfer to Spider Eye, which provided direction, ink and paint and compositing.
The Sundance Channel and entertainment company Hypnotic have closed a deal to produce and exclusively distribute a series of one-hour short film programs. Titled SUNDANCE CHANNEL AND HYPNOTIC PRESENT SHORTS STOP, the companies plan to sell the programs both domestically and internationally to outlets such as airlines, broadband channels, international television networks, video-on-demand/pay-per-view services, hotels, and institutions. Over the next year, Hypnotic and Sundance Channel will produce a series of co-branded one-hour episodes.
ITS THE MR. HELL SHOW!, a critically acclaimed animated comedy series from Sextant Entertainment Group, will have its U.S. premiere on SHOWTIME NEXT, the recently launched multiplex channel which targets 18-24 year-olds. The series, which is part of Showtimes ongoing effort to find new, high profile programming for the multiplex, will debut this fall with an option for a second season. ITS THE MR. HELL SHOW! stars Mr. Hell, a sulphurous, sardonic anti-hero with no regard for political correctness, voiced by British comedian/writer Bob Monkhouse.
Six-time Emmy-winner Phil Roman and his Studio City, California-based Phil Roman Entertainment company have signed a co-production deal with Vancouvers Atomic Cartoons to develop and produce ATOMIC BETTY, a new half-hour TV series. Phil Roman commented, All of us at Phil Roman Entertainment are excited about our new association with the young, energetic and talented team at Atomic Cartoons.
Mainframe Entertainment and Fleischer Studios, Inc. have formed a collaboration that will yield a new television series based on BETTY BOOP, the dazzling "Queen of Cartoons." Mainframe will also be working with Fleischer and King Features Syndicate on launching a significant licensing and merchandising campaign, with a new video series, interactive games and collectible items.