MY LIFE AS A TEENAGE ROBOT, a spin-off of the hit show OH YEAH! CARTOONS, premiered at 8:30 pm on August 1, 2003 on Nickelodeon. The series centers on a six-foot robot XJ-9 named Jenny (voiced by Jancie Kawaye) who is programmed to save the world with her incredible super powers and is really a sensitive teenager on the inside.
Now that legal battles over Viacoms rights to call its TNN Network Spike TV, the channel targeted for men will re-launch on August 11, 2003 at 9:00 am. Movie director Spike Lee settled his legal debate July 7 with Viacom Inc. Lee filed the suit June 2, alleging that Viacom was exploiting his name to draw viewers to this male-oriented cable network. The entertainment giant argued that Spike was a common name and that no connection had been made to the director. Viacom was prevented from renaming the channel just four days before its scheduled relaunch on June 16.
KING OF THE HILL has shown it is one of the top cats of primetime animation, receiving an early pickup from Fox Broadcasting Co. for a ninth season, guaranteeing the Texas toon a run through May 2005. The series, which airs Sundays in the U.S. at 7:30 pm on FOX, is in production on the 2003-2004 season, which premieres later this fall.
Cartoon Networks premiere telecast of TEEN TITANS on Saturday, July 19, 2003 at 9:00 pm earned the cable network record ratings. The program stands as the most-watched Cartoon Network premiere ever with boys 6-11. Additionally, the Sunday replay at 10:00 pm ranked as the most-watched program in its timeslot on ad-supported basic cable with kids 6-11, kids 2-11, boys 6-11 and boys 2-11.
TEEN TITANS, a series based on the popular DC Comics comic book characters, moved up on the Cartoon Network schedule to premiere July 19, 2003 at 9:00 pm. It seems appropriate for this new generation of superheroes to hit the airwaves as comic fans in the thousands are attending the world's largest comic book convention, the Comic-Con 2003 in San Diego through the weekend.
As a way of promoting the release of SPY KIDS 3D: GAME OVER on July 25, 2003, Discovery Kids on NBC will be airing a special kids edition of the TLC TV series TRADING SPACES, featuring SPY KIDS stars Alexa Vega and Daryl Sabara. Hitting the airwaves Saturday, July 19 from 11:00-11:30 am (ET)/9:00 -9:30 AM (PT), BOYS VS. GIRLS has Alexa joining 13-year-old Kali as she turns her brothers room into a spy-training obstacle course, featuring monkey bars, tire steps and a climbing wall. Daryl will team with Eli to change Kalis bedroom into a retro soda shop.
Playboys Alta Loma Entertainment and POW! Entertainment have announced a joint venture to develop an animated TV series, entitled HEFS SUPERBUNNIES. The show will star PLAYBOY magazines founder and editor-in-chief Hugh Hefner as the leader of a global crime-fighting organization made up of Playmates of the Month, who fight against the enemies of democracy.
AMC has committed to its first original animated series, THE WRONG COAST, which lampoons the world of celebrity entertainment news shows. Set to debut December 3, 2003 at 10:00 pm on the cablenet, the show promises to make the surreal world of celebrity news even more absurd with stop-motion animation by Toronto-based Cuppa Coffee (www.cuppascoffee.com) and edgy comedy writers, including head writer Glenn Eichler of BEAVIS & BUTT-HEAD and DARIA, as well as A.D. Miles of GIRL GO BOOM.
Kids WB! has announced that the third season of X-MEN: EVOLUTION will debut on Saturday, August 2, 2003, at 10:30 am. The first new episode, entitled X23, follows Wolverine as he discovers that his DNA has been used to create a new Weapon X. Leading up to the new episode, Kids WB! will air a week full of must see episodes from the shows first two seasons, starting July 28, 2003 at 3:00 pm. The series is produced by Marvel Studios with Film Roman handling the animation.
Producer/writer Mel Brooks will provide the voice of Wiley the Sheep, who joins a flock of Irish barnyard characters in a new 3D animated series, JAKERS! THE ADVENTURES OF PIGGLEY WINKS. Produced by Mike Young Productions for Entara, it will be part of the PBS KIDS weekend line-up beginning Sunday, September 7, 2003. PBS affiliate WLIW in New York serves as the presenting station.
Oscar-nominated director Martin Scorsese (GOODFELLAS), along with producer Barbara DeFina (CASINO), has inked a deal with SCI FI Channel to exec produce the six-hour miniseries entitled THE TWELVE. Scorseses first venture into long-form TV will be produced under Cappa/De Fina Prods, in conjunction with Adrian Bate and Zenith Entertainment Ltd. The series is based on an idea by David Pirie (MURDER ROOMS), who originally pitched it to the BBC as an hour-long series.
Nickelodeons hit animated comedy series, THE FAIRLY ODDPARENTS, gets its own world premiere, 90-minute telemovie, ABRA-CATASTROPHE, airing July 12, 2003 at 8:00 pm. The movie repeats on Nickelodeon July 13 at 4:00 pm.
MTV's newest animated series, SPIDER-MAN premiered on Friday, July 11, 2003 at 10:00 pm, produced by Sony Pictures Television in association with Adelaide Prods. Mainframe Entertainment engineered and executed for Sony a new 3D production method to give the characters a somewhat flattened 2D look with three-dimensional dynamics of a film.
Spike and Mike's Sick and Twisted Festival of Animation have bought the rights to the series pilot of SICKCOM from comic book artist Robert Steven Rhine (MY BRAIN ESCAPES ME, CHICKEN SOUP FOR SATAN) and his partner, animator Frank Forte (LI'L PIMP movie, THE VAMPIRE VERSES, THE CLETUS AND FLOYD SHOW).
POW! Entertainment and DIC Entertainment have signed a joint venture development deal for a slate of original properties aimed at the kids TV market. DIC will work directly with Stan Lee and POW! to develop and produce the new animated television series. DIC will retain the rights to distribute the programs globally. First in line will be STAN LEES THE SECRET OF THE SUPER SIX -- a superhero-based animated series with a humanitarian spin that will feature Lee as a main character.
Alan Brady, the caustic TV host portrayed by Carl Reiner on THE DICK VAN DYKE SHOW back in the '60s, returns in a new computer-animated special on TV Land, airing Aug. 17 (10:00-10:30 pm). THE ALAN BRADY SHOW marks TV Land's first original animated special in the network's seven-year history. Reiner, who reprises his character in voice over, also wrote the special and serves as exec producer along with George Shapiro and Howard West of Shapiro/West Prods. The special was developed internally for TV Land by Sal Maniaci, vp of development and production for TV Land and Nick at Nite.
Brett Merhar's cult comic strip FREE FOR ALL premieres as a new, very adult animated series on the Showtime Network, at 11:00 pm on July 11, 2003. Produced by Showtime Networks, in association with the primetime animation expert Film Roman, the series of seven episodes follows Johnny and Clay, the strip's cynical, dysfunctional bestfriends, struggling with out-of-the-ordinary daily woes with Clay's sidekick, Angus, a ferret strung out on drugs.
The CNX daytime anime programming block, Toonami, has become so popular in Europe that the third kid's animation channel from the Cartoon Network stable will be rebranding under that name in September 2003.
The Toonami concept began as a programming block on Cartoon Network and was then expanded into the daytime hours on CNX. Shows like DRAGONBALL Z and X-MEN: EVOLUTION have consistently been amongst the highest rated cartoons with boys 10 to 15, the target audience for the new channel.
Movie icon Robert Evans will star in and exec produce an eight-episode animated series, KID NOTORIOUS, premiering on Comedy Central October 22, 2003 at 10:30 pm. The adult series features the real-life and fictional adventures of Evans as he charms Hollywood, battles global corruption and, of course, always gets the ladies.
FUNimation Prods., Ltd. has acquired the rights to DETECTIVE CONAN, a Japanese mega-hit series produced by TMS Entertainment, Ltd., the Fort Worth-Texas-based company announced during the recent Anime Expo 2003 in Anaheim, California.
DETECTIVE CONAN is one of the highest rated series in Japan, is in its sixth season with 300 half-hours produced as well as two movies, THE TIME BOMBED SKYSCRAPER and THE FOURTEENTH TARGET, which FUNimation also acquired the rights to. Home video release dates for the features are tentatively scheduled for late spring 2004.
UPN gave its pilot project, MEET THE BREAKNECKS, from Carsey-Werner-Mandabach, the greenlight to series, renaming it GAME OVER. UPN entertainment president Dawn Ostroff ordered the series as a mid-season replacement for the net's first ever CGI series in prime time.
Animal Planets top-rated program, THE FUTURE IS WILD, returns with three all-new episodes, which take a look at how natural selection (with some CGI help) will push Earths flora and fauna to some amazing adaptations. The two-hour documentaries made their world premiere on Tuesdays, July 8, 15 and 22, 2003 from 9:00-11:00 pm.
Cartoon Network has acquired 50 episodes of TOTALLY SPIES, which started airing July 7, 2003 at 4:30 pm. The series, from French producer Marathon, first aired in the U.S. on Fox Family Channel in 2001. It features three teenage girls who are super agents in sort of an animated CHARLIE'S ANGELS with a distinctive visual style influenced by everything from JOSIE AND THE PUSSYCATS to anime.
TBS has picked up reruns of FUTURAMA and THE FAMILY GUY. Starting Monday, July 7, 2003, the two shows will air weekdays at 2:00 pm and 2:30 pm, respectively. This move continues the crossover between Cartoon Network and its fellow AOL Turner channels, as well as TBSs pursuit of the young adult audience.
U.K.-based Glasshead Ltd. has been commissioned to produce a 13x13 animated series entitled, THE BLUE DRAGON, for 4Learning, Channel 4's education division. The series is geared toward 5-7 year olds with the goal of teaching them to look at the world in scientific ways. The series boasts voice talent such as Jane Horrocks (LITTLE VOICE & ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS) and Andrew Sachs (FAWLTY TOWERS). 4Learning plans to start airing the series in January 2004.