Jeffrey Katzenberg has been aggressively promoting DreamWorks Television's first primetime CG-animated TV series, FATHER OF THE PRIDE, a comedy about the backstage antics of the Siegfried & Roy Vegas act involving the squabbling family of white lions. Already given a 13-episode order by NBC with a September 2004 debut (possibly the coveted Thursday 8:00 pm slot being vacated by FRIENDS, though not confirmed), THE NEW YORK TIMES reports that FATHER OF THE PRIDE is costing between $2 million and $2.5 million per episode.
Sundance Channel will spotlight the work of maverick animator Bill Plympton starting May 2, 2004 with broadcasts of two his feature films and a shorts collection.
The short film program, MONDO PLYMPTON, leads off at 8:00 pm, featuring the films, YOUR FACE ANIMATOR, ONE OF THOSE DAYS, HOW TO KISS, 25 WAYS TO QUIT SMOKING, PLYMPTOONS, DRAW, NOSEHAIR, PARKING, which appeared at the 2003 Sundance Film Festival, and EAT WELCOME, winner of the Canal+ Award at the 2001 Cannes Film Festival. (2001).
Nicktoons, Nickelodeons new 24-hour animation channel, will premiere Animation Collectives two new original series LEADER DOG and TORTELLINI WESTERN. The first LEADER DOG episode premieres at 8:00 pm April 18, 2004 while TORTELLINI WESTERN episodes will debut later in the season. LEADER DOG tells the story of a junkyard dog, plucked from the pound to lead an advanced civilization on a distant planet. An homage to Spaghetti Westerns, TORTELLINI WESTERN follows the wild west adventures of a recently arrived immigrant family.
PEEP AND THE BIG WIDE WORLD, an engaging new animated series about a little chicken and his friends that teaches science literacy to preschoolers in an entertaining way, launched April 12, 2004 on The Learning Channel at 8:00 am and will premiere April 19 at 8:30 am on the Discovery Kids Channel.
Buzztime Ent. Inc. and EchoStar Communications Corp. have teamed to launch a premium interactive trivia game service on EchoStar's DISH Network. The new in-home, multiplayer game service combines Buzztime's proprietary Countdown trivia game format and vast library of trivia game show content with EchoStar's application software to allow DISH Network subscribers to play the games on their existing, in-home set-top boxes.
Matrix Stream Canada is conducting a search for video content material to fill up new digital Video-on-demand channel network. The call is open, but not limited, to children's, sports, documentaries, comedy, animation, movies and other content.
Bringing animation to TV in a new way, Acme Filmworks and comedian Drew Carey are joining forces to create the improv comedy pilot, THE GREEN SCREEN, for The WB. Carey will re-team with his WHOSE LINE IS IT ANYWAY cast to perform improv comedy sketches, which will be filmed in front of a greenscreen, allowing animation to be added to the backgrounds. The cast includes Ryan Stiles, Kathy Kinney, Colin Mochrie, Greg Proops, Brad Sherwood, Sean Masterson, Kaitlin Olson and John Mangum.
Nick Jr.s number-one preschool heroine Dora gets her own primetime special, DORAS SUPER SILLY FIESTA, broadcast April 12, 2004 at 8:00 pm on Nickelodeon. The special episode invites kids to join Dora on her journey to the Super Silly Fiesta, a party filled with funny games and riddles plus silly songs and all of Doras pals including cousin Diego, Boots, Swiper and the Silly Mail Bird.
Coinciding with the network broadcast premiere of HARRY POTTER AND THE CHAMBER OF SECRETS, ABC will be airing a 10-minute sneak peak of HARRY POTTER AND THE PRISONER OF AZKABAN. The broadcast will take place May 9, 2004 at 7:00 pm.
Trolling for its next hit, DIC Entertainment has acquired worldwide entertainment and licensing rights from the Troll Company (a.k.a. Dam Things) to the iconic spiky, colorful-haired Troll character to be developed into an entertainment and lifestyle brand for tweens, called TROLLZ.
Half-human, half-ghost DANNY PHANTOM has materialized on Nickelodeon with comic adventures as he straddles two worlds as a shy freshman at Casper High and a heroic phantom-fighter with ghostly superpowers -- courtesy of creator Butch Hartman (THE FAIRLY ODDPARENTS) in an all-new animated series airing Fridays in primetime. The series saw a special premiere on April 3, 2004 at 9:30 pm and features back-to-back episodes on April 9 on its regular night and time at 8:30 pm.
DECODE Entertainment is co-producing the new 2D animated series BROMWELL HIGH with award-winning U.K. independent Hat Trick Productions for Channel 4s primetime schedule in 2005.
DECODE has worldwide distribution rights to BROMWELL HIGH excluding the U.K. and Ireland and already has a deal already in place with TELETOON Canada.
Edmonds Ent.'s Disney Channel pilot COQUI LOCO has landed a list of Hollywood talent, reports VARIETY. The CG animated series will star the voice of Roise Perez (DO THE RIGHT THING) as well as Luis Guzman (BOOGIE NIGHTS) and Freddy Rodriguez (SIX FEET UNDER).
Set in a tropical rain forest, the show chronicles the life of young tree frog Coquita, who dreams of a singing career. The idea was created by Doreen Spicer (THE PROUD FAMILY), Stephen Langford (ROMEO) and Tracey Edmonds, who exec produce the show.
Sci Fi Channel has its extensive slate of new series and specials for the next season. New series include a live-action WITCHHUNTER ROBIN series and the new CG series AMAZING SCREW-ON HEAD from HELLBOY creator Mike Mignola. In addition, the slate of specials sees several productions based on popular book series and a three picture series created by Stan Lee.
Cartoon Network has announced that it will change its action-adventure programming line-up by shifting the Toonami block to Saturdays and creating the new block Miguzi.
Beginning April 17, Toonami will air from 7:00 11:00 pm. The Saturday night version of Toonami will continue to be hosted by TOM and feature series such as DRAGONBALL Z, YU YU HAKUSHO and TRANSFORMERS: ENERGON. Other series to air exclusively as part of Toonami's include GUNDAM SEED, DRAGONBALL GT and RUROUNI KENSHIN.
Mondo TV has signed a new deal with Padmalaya Telefilms Ltd. to co-produce and commercial exploit four new animated TV series as well as the licensing of 1,000 Mondo TVs library episodes. The deal sees 104 half-hour episodes, each having a budget of $135,000, to be produced at Padmalaya Telefilms, worth $14 million to the Indian studio, which is a subsidiary of Zee Telefilms Ltd.
Since EM.TV head Werner Klatten sold his 24.8% stake in the troubled company to European investment firm Constant Ventures II, EM.TV has made several big acquisition and distribution announcements. These deals along with the announcement of a waiver agreement with 94.22% of the company's former bondholders is seen as a positive sign of the stabilization of the embattled production and licensing firm.
Beginning in April, Spectra Animation will begin production on a new animated series titled, TOPPY AND BINOO. The 26x25 series is geared toward pre-schoolers and was developed and commissioned by Treehouse Original Prods. The series is set to air in September 2005.
Based on the successful book series by Dominique Jolin, who is participating the production the TV series, the story follows Toopy and his friends as they traverse Toppy's comical imaginary world. Dominique Mendal will produce with Raymond Lebrun and Nicolas Lemay directing.
Corus Ent.s Nelvana has announced a co-production agreement with Weta Workshop for the comedy-adventure series JANE AND THE DRAGON. The 26x30 animated show, based on the book series by writer Martin Baynton, will be targeted to the six to 11-year-old audience.
Set in Medieval times, the series follows the exploits of 13-year-old girl, Jane, who is a Knight of the Kings Guard that keeps a giant green dragon in her backyard.
Alliance Atlantis has announced is has secured broadcast deals with Channel Five and BSKYB in the U.K. and an Australian broadcast deal with ABC TV Australia for its new CGI animated childrens property, DRAGON BOOSTER. U.K. digital TV platform BSKYB secured Pay-TV rights to the series, which will air on Sky One, the U.K.'s leading non-terrestrial entertainment channel, staring in January 2005. Channel Five, who secured Free-TV rights, will air the series in their branded "Shake" block on Saturdays in 2005.
20th Century Fox Television has officially committed to producing a minimum of 22 new half-hour episodes of Seth MacFarlanes Emmy Award-winning animated comedy series, FAMILY GUY, more than two years after the series aired its last original episode. The move comes on the heels of the series elevation to pop culture phenomenon, as demonstrated by its enormous success on DVD and on the Cartoon Network.
In conjunction with its first-ever Upfront event for Adult Swim, Cartoon Network made a number of announcements concerning six new shows, three new acquisitions, greenlights of two existing shows and future programming events. The announcement see projects with Hollywood stars Seth Green (AUSTIN POWERS) and Jack Black (SCHOOL OF ROCK) and animation stars Matt Groening and Seth McFarlane. As well, AQUA TEEN HUNGER FORCE and SEALAB 2021 will both return with 13 more episodes and HARVEY BIRDMAN, ATTORNEY AT LAW will make its return to the line-up on April 18.
Evergreen Entertainment will be offer at MIP-TV the first screen images for STARK RAVEN: THE MOVIE, an 85-minute original movie based on the popular comic books created and written by Ken Smith.
STARK RAVEN: THE MOVIE is an action-packed animated feature film, created and developed by Smith, written by Jono Howard, produced by Steve Walsh, and directed by Hervé Bédard, aimed at a 16+ demographic. Now in production, it will be delivered in spring 2005.