Sci Fi Channel has partnered with exec producers Steven Long Mitchell and Craig Van Sickle (MEDICAL INVESTIGATION, THE PRETENDER) to develop TIN MAN, a four-hour miniseries that puts a sci-fi twist on the fantasy classic, WIZARD OD OZ. Mitchell and Van Sickle have also co-written the screenplay.
The hugely popular collectibles MIJOS will be getting its own animated direct-to-video via Dean Valentine's First Family Ent. (FFE), reports VARIETY. Craig Bartlett (HEY ARNOLD) and Joseph Purdy (RECESS) will be writing the screenplay. MGM Home Ent. will distribute the DVDs through its exclusive first-look deal with FFE. Production should begin on the first DVD in the beginning of next year.
Hot on the heels of cementing development deals with Ridley Scott and Frank Darabont, Sci Fi Channel partners with former head of development for New Line and DreamWorks Michael De Luca (MAGNOLIA, RUSH HOUR, BLADE) on his first-ever television project. An original miniseries event, DARWIN'S CHILDREN explores what happens when the next step of human evolution becomes a threat to our very existence. The project is based on the best-selling Greg Bear novels, DARWIN'S RADIO and DARWIN'S CHILDREN.
Anime Network, the first channel in North America dedicated to anime expands its reach within Southern California when it launches during the latter part of 2004 on Adelphia OnDemand.
PorchLight Ent. and Jetix Europe have entered into a development deal for the comic adventures of BLADDER LAD AND PLUNGER PETE, two boys who work for the secret government agency F.L.U.S.H. in an effort to protect the world from the evil deeds of D.R.A.I.N.
According to Fred Schaefer, PorchLights vp of animation, BLADDER LAD's edgy, prankster comedy and fast action will appeal to a core boy audience, but all kids will respond to the off-the-wall humor and kid-like heroics.
JibJab has partnered with AtomFilms to release the sequel to their Internet blockbuster, THIS LAND, titled, GOOD TO BE IN DC! Set to the classic American folk song "Dixie," brothers Gregg and Evan Spiridellis take aim at George Bush, John Kerry, Al Gore, Dan Rather, John Ashcroft and many more in the new cartoon, which once again brings a dose of hilarity to the intense presidential election season.
Gerry Anderson Prods. has teamed with Sony Pictures Ent. and Sony Wonder, the family and children's entertainment division of newly merged Sony BMG Music Ent., to launch 26 episodes of the CG-animated television series GERRY ANDERSON'S NEW CAPTAIN SCARLET, which is in production at Pinewood Studios outside of London. TriMedia Ent. Group was instrumental in facilitating the arrangement between Gerry Anderson Prods. and Sony Wonder, and will participate in all revenue streams which result from the partnership.
Marvel Enterprises Inc. has entered into an agreement with acclaimed France-based animation leader Antefilms Prods. to produce an animated television series based on Marvel's THE FANTASTIC FOUR. Under the terms of the agreement, Antefilms will commence production immediately on 26 30-minute 2D/3D animated episodes. The initial episodes are expected to be completed for worldwide distribution in late-2006.
MGA Ent., a consumer entertainment products company most noted for the worldwide doll sensation BRATZ, has joined forces with 4Kids Ent. to bring its new boys' action property ALIEN RACERS to Saturday morning television starting in spring of 2005 during the FOX BOX lineup on the Fox television network. The CG series will be produced by SD Ent., in concert with MGA's ALIEN RACERS creative team, led by MGA vp of entertainment Jay Fukuto.
Matt Groening said he plans to continue THE SIMPSONS for another five years, reports THE SUN. This would make the series tie with GUNSMOKE as the longest running series in U.S. primetime history. THE SIMPSONS is already the longest running sitcom ever in the U.S.
Groening said: "I'd love to get to 365 episodes, so there's one for every day of the year with no repeats."
However, to reach Groenings goal, the actors would have to extend their contract for an additional year.
EM.TV AG has secured exclusive distribution rights for free-TV, pay-TV and home entertainment to the 3D-animated series ZOÉ KÉZAKO from French production studio Sparkling. The German broadcast rights to the program were subsequently licensed to ZDF, which will premiere the series on KI.KA, the childrens channel owned jointly by German public broadcasters ZDF and ARD. ZOÉ KÉZAKO will start screening on Dec. 8, 2004. In the home entertainment sector, Universal Family Ent.
Classic Media has completed multiple sales in several major territories for the companys award-winning VEGGIETALES animated series. Rights to the series have been sold to Niche Marketing and Crossroads in Australia and New Zealand, Top Tape in Brazil and Chile, Sam Film in Iceland, Maxfun Arthouse in Hong Kong, Pandasia Ent.
Kids' WB! and ShoPro Ent. are teaming up for the third season of MEGAMAN NT WARRIOR: AXESS, for the 2004-05 season. The network has ordered 30 never-before-seen episodes of the Japanese animated series that will begin airing in spring 2005. The third season order brings the total commitment of the series to 80 episodes.
Bardel Ent. has repackaged its SILVERWING series into a movie trilogy created for both broadcast and DVD/VHS distribution worldwide. Under the creative direction of veteran producer Chris Henderson, the 13x22 series has been edited into three 72-minute movies with Dolby 5.1 surround sound. Henderson recently completed Scholastic Ent.s theatrically released feature film CLIFFORDS REALLY BIG MOVIE and also worked on Disneys RETURN TO NEVER LAND.
Legendary broadcast animation studio director Herve Tardif (DONKEY KONG COUNTRY) has chosen Ascension Technology's ReActor2 -- active-optical motion-capture workstation -- for his latest TV production. COTOONS is a seven-minute, 26-episode 3D animated childrens series being created by Tardif's Paris-based animation studio 3dclic.
Spelling Television has optioned the television rights to Tom Sterns comicstrip, CEO DAD, reports HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. The story follows a ceo who is in total control at work, but in total chaos at home. Stern writes the strip and Emmy-winning art director Phyllis Hofberg Bruskin draws. No decision has been made on whether the series will be live-action or animation. Ed McMahon and his son Jeff are attached to produce.
Britt Allcroft Prods. has announced that its SCOOBS animated series will be broadcast in the U.K. on CBBC in 2006. Britt Allcroft and Michael Carrington, head of CBBC Animation and Program Acquisitions, have agreed to terms of a deal which is subject to CBBC approval over cast and location. The ocean adventure series is targeted toward kids 6-11 and will co-produced by Cloud 9 Screen Ent.
Britt Allcroft said, "This is an exciting development for the future of SCOOBS and the series will benefit greatly from our creative collaboration with CBBC."
Studio B and Classic Media announced that they will produce and distribute a new GEORGE OF THE JUNGLE Flash-animated series. Originally a primetime animated series from Jay Ward, the new series (52x11) has been commissioned by Canadian animation broadcaster Teletoon and is slated for broadcast in 2006.
On Sept. 25, 2004, at the Anime Weekend Atlanta convention, ADV Films co-founder Matt Greenfield and ADV representative David Williams let slip that the company had acquired the new anime series MADLAX. ADV will release the new series from Bee Train (NOIR, .HACK// SIGN) on home video and it will broadcast on the Anime Network. A release date has not yet been announced.
Paul Kavanagh from BBC Post Productions 3D animation and digital team has designed CGI animated characters for the new CBBC Scotland family drama series SHOEBOX ZOO.
On the heels of the recently announced groundbreaking co-production and distribution agreement between MarVista Ent. and Brookwell McNamara Ent. (BME), the two companies announced that they have teamed up with The N, the nighttime network for tweens and teens, on a new, multi-series production and development deal for the network. The first of three series will be 22 half-hour episodes of the original teen drama, BOARDING SCHOOL.
Nickelodeon has taken the plunge, ordering 20 new episodes of SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS, one of the most popular kids' shows in television history, adventures to premiere on in 2005.
Series creator Stephen Hillenburg will continue to exec produce the all-new nautical and nonsensical episodes featuring the original voice cast including Tom Kenny as SpongeBob, Bill Fagerbakke as Patrick, Rodger Bumpass as Squidward, Clancy Brown as Mr. Krabs and Carolyn Lawrence as Sandy Cheeks.