Due to the success of the first 20-chapter series, Lucasfilm Ltd. and Cartoon Network will present five 12-minute episodes of a new CLONE WARS mini-series beginning March 21, 2005. The new series serves as a close warmer for the theatrical release of STAR WARS: EPISODE III on May 19, 2005. Genndy Tartakovsky (SAMURAI JACK, DEXTER'S LABORATORY), who produced the first "micro-series," will serve as director, co-screenwriter and exec producer of the new mini-series.
CHRONICLES OF RIDDICK director/writer David Twohy has announced he is writing a two-hour movie for The Sci Fi Channel that would follow the fate of the Kyra character from the upcoming PITCH BLACK sequel, reports SCI FI WIRE. The character was first introduced as a boyish young teen in PITCH BLACK, but has grown into a beautiful but ferocious fighter for CHRONICLES OF RIDDICK. The movie will serve as an end-around pilot for a potential series tentatively titled KYRA, THE LOST YEARS, which would show what happened when Kyra chose to find Riddick after the events of PITCH BLACK.
Raven Animation Inc. announced that it has signed former CBS SURVIVOR Rob Cesternino (aka Rob C.) to a long-term contract to be the host of a new 3D reality videogame and television program called AMAZON CHALLENGE. Designed for teens and young adults, the series was created and copyrighted in 1989 by Joey and Bernadette DiFrancesco.
The CharacterShop is creating the 3D elements of 39-part TV series called FRIENDS & HEROES. The 2D and 3D animated series will feature three-minute 3D Bible stories within 2D cartoon style fictional adventure stories. The 2D portion of the project is being outsourced to South Korea. The BBC is set to air the series in the U.K. and The CharacterShop is close to a deal for the U.S.
British animation studio Cosgrove Hall is working with Shelltown Productions in Ireland on the animated series, SHELLTOWN, which follows the tales of three mischievous young eggs Splat, Cracker and Exactly who reside in a town where all the buildings and cars are egg shaped.
g-NET media has signed a deal with MTV to create an animated pilot using characters created for videogames, reports VARIETY. The story will contrast the nerdy real lives and game lives of videogame warriors. g-NET has a deal in place with a undisclosed videogame publisher.
Corus Ent. announced a new partnership with Shanghai Distance Education Group (SDEG), one of the largest developers of educational programming and content in Asia. As part of the agreement, the two companies will develop and exchange programming and will extend Corus' reach into the burgeoning Chinese marketplace.
4Kids Entertainment, Inc. will continue the new TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES animated series, produced by Mike Young Prods., for a third season of new episodes (26) with TF1 (France), Media Set (Italy), and Fox Kids Europe and Latin America.
In addition, NINJA TURTLES already have renewals with GMTV (U.K.), VTM (Belgium), SIC TV (Portugal), Alter TV (Greece), Childrens Channel (Israel) and DTV (Turkey).
Fox Kids Europe N.V. (FKE) has signed an exclusive first look agreement with French animation studio Marathon, for its future childrens animated production output. Under the terms of the agreement, FKE and Marathon will co-develop and co-produce a minimum of three 52-episode series, adding at least 156 fresh, new, half-hour episodes to the programming lineup of FKEs pan- European network of channels.
Buena Vista International Television kicked off the start of the L.A. screenings for some 1,000 TV buyers from around the world in high-spirited style, unveiling six new and seven returning primetime series, with most of the cast and key creatives from each show on stage of the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood May 23, 2004, followed by a party across the street at The Annex, which featured a live performance by rocker Cyndi Lauper.
The FOX Broadcasting Co. continues its tradition of excellence in primetime animation with AMERICAN DAD, a new series from FAMILY GUY creator Seth MacFarlane. The much-anticipated return of FAMILY GUY is projected for summer 2005, when the acclaimed animated series will follow its DVD success with a fourth season on FOX. FOX also re-upped animated family sitcoms THE SIMPSONS (for a 16th season) nd KING OF THE HILL (going into season nine), making the network tops in its commitment to animation in primetime among public access, non-cable broadcasters in the U.S.
Maybe proving the fact that you can't just form a franchise out of thin air, NBC has decided it will now pass on the VAN HELSING TV series TRANSYLVANIA, which it previously signed on to air, reports VARIETY. The original deal, which was struck nine months ago, was the first in-house synergistic move between the two would-be corporate sisters, NBC and Universal Network Television.
CODENAME: KIDS NEXT DOOR returns May 21, 2004 for its third season on Cartoon Network with new episodes to air at 7:00 pm with an encore at 10:00 pm on Fridays. The Kids Next Door will face some truly fearsome challenges, like the Homework Bandits, the power-mad Headmistress Margaret and their archenemies, the Delightful Children from Down the Lane.
Look up on NBC and the Internet, its a bird, its a plane no its comedian Jerry Seinfeld and an animated Superman. Seinfeld and Superman return to the Internet May 20, 2004 with a second "webisode" for American Express while the first animated campaign airs tonight at 8:54to 9:00 pm on the NBC network before the encore performance of the FRIENDS finale. The first webisode, A UNIFORM USED TO MEAN SOMETHING, set in New York City, debuted on the American Express Website March 29 and drew enough attention to get a timeslot on TV in primetime.
Just when it had seemed that STAR TREK: ENTERPRISE was doomed, the STAR TREK prequel (with vfx by Eden FX, among others) was apparently saved following a massive fan campaign organized by the Internet site SaveEnterprise.com. When UPN made its upfront presentation on Thursday, it noted that ENTERPRISE would be renewed for a fourth season, switching to the network's low-rated Friday movie slot at 9:00 pm.
DREW CAREYS GREEN SCREEN SHOW, a live-action/animated improv comedy, got the greenlight along with five other new primetime TV series to air in fall 2004 on The WB, it was announced May 18 at the nets upfront presentation to advertisers in New York City. WB ceo Jordan Levin, and chairman, Garth Ancier, unveiled their 2004-2005 primetime schedule in front of 4,000 advertisers, affiliates and national media.
DreamWorks Father of the Pride, didnt end up with the FRIENDS timeslot on NBC that co-founder Jeffrey Katzenberg campaigned for, but it has been assigned the coveted FRASIER timeslot, 9:00 pm, Tuesdays, starting sometime in late August 2004. The CGI animated series, featuring the voices of John Goodman, Cheryl Hines, Carl Reiner and Orlando Jones, centers on a family of talking lions who perform in Siegfried & Roy's Las Vegas magic act.
Animation sketch comedies are making the airwaves lately, and one of the earlier ones, ILL-USTRATED, returns from a second season on VH1 at 11:30 pm (ET/PT, 10:30 pm central) beginning May 17, 2004, as a five-day strip. The half-hour show will then air regularly on Fridays at 10:00 pm, beginning May 28.
Cartoon Network is in development on a potential series with OutKast's Andre 3000, reports HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. The project will start out as an Adult Swim special, which will go to a series if successful.
Mike Lazzo, svp of Cartoon's "Adult Swim" program block, who at first was reluctant about working with the star, said, "I'm extremely wary of it, but in Andre's case, I think he is a creative genius. He has definite opinions of what he likes visually."
Nickelodeon will air the first five minutes of SHREK 2 on May 18, 2004 at 7:00 pm, the night before the DreamWorks film opens in theaters nationwide.
"Giving kids the opportunity to see something top secret reinforces Nickelodeon's relevance to kids," said Nickelodeon president Cyma Zarghami. "It's very exciting to offer kids an exclusive insider's look at one of the biggest pop culture events of the year."
Nickelodeon combines two of its most popular cartoon series for an hour-long special, THE JIMMY/TIMMY POWER HOUR. In it, the 2D FAIRLY ODDPARENTS' star Timmy Turner goes 3D in Retroville, the world of THE ADVENTUES OF JIMMY NEUTRON, BOY GENIUS while its 3D star, Jimmy Neutron, takes a 2D turn in ODDPARENTS Dimmsdale. The show premiered May 7, 2004 at 8:00 pm with encore presentations May 8 at 7:00 pm and May 9 at 5:00 pm.
THE JIMMY/TIMMY POWER HOUR will be released on DVD May 11.
SPE Networks Asia will launch the highly successful anime channel, Animax, in India on July 5, 2004, on the heels of a successful Animax Asia rollout three months ago. Animax South Asia will be the first and only 24-hour-a-day network in India dedicated to popular animation from Japan.
Customized for India and dubbed in Hindi and English, Animax will target Indias youth and young adults with animation programming. The One Alliance will distribute Animax across India, and SET India will represent Animax in advertising sales.
Cartoon Network's is offering a homespun new comedic action/adventure cartoon, MEGAS XLR, featuring reptilian aliens from the future bearing down on New Jersey, seeking to destroy an 80-foot robot thats been reconditioned by 20-something gearhead raised on videogames. Its an original concept from creators George Krstic and Jody Schaeffer., which premiered May 1, 2004 at 9:00 pm with 25 episodes to follow Saturday nights on Cartoon Network.