From September 23 - 29, 2000, the British terrestrial station Channel 4 is screening a veritable deluge of animation, ranging from the far-flung universe of FUTURAMA to the sharply-observed mundane world of POND LIFE. The only catch is most of it's being shown in the small hours, so set your video recorders. Saturday is the main night, kicking off at 9 pm with Channel 4 regular SOUTH PARK, followed FUTURAMA with a special introduction from creator Matt Groening. This is the series first time airing on British terrestrial TV.
Nickelodeon and HIT Entertainment PLC, a leading supplier of children's programming, have agreed to co-produce 26 half-hour episodes of a new Nick Jr. series entitled, OSWALD. As part of the deal, HIT Entertainment will control all international rights in all media excluding the U.S., which Nickelodeon will handle. The show tells the story of a blue octopus who lives in a whimsical city with his best friends, a pet hot dog, penguin and daisy. The animated series, which will be produced by Nicktoons, is based on characters created and designed by childrens book author Dan Yaccarino.
The WB TV network has decided to pick-up its newest toon, BABY BLUES, for a second season. The channel has ordered 13 more episodes of the series, which debuted in late July. The toon has preformed well in a tough Friday time slot for the WB and is one of the highest rated comedies the network has ever had. BABY could serve as the WBs quick replacement series if any of its new live-action comedy series dont work out. BABY is based off the newspaper comic strip of the same name and features the voice talents of Mike O'Malley, Julia Sweeney and Nicole Sullivan.
pasi (Philippine animation studio, inc.) and Nelvana have teamed up to co-produce 13 episodes of COMMITTED, an animated series based on the popular Michael Fry comic strip. The United Feature Syndicate comic strip is a chronicle of the day-to-day life of a working mom with three children and her stay-at-home writer husband. Eugene Levy, Catherine O'Hara and Andrea Martin are providing the lead voices for the series. The new toon is being produced for Fox Family Channel and CTV in Canada.
Throughout the summer Cartoon Network has been airing a different pilot on Friday evenings, cumulating in the August 25-27, "Voice Your Choice Weekend." Viewers voted for their favorite pilot and the top three will become the next series on Cartoon Network. Surviving the length of the summer after being the first pilot broadcast, THE GRIM ADVENTURES OF BILLY AND MANDY was the top pick to join the channels 2001 schedule.
Playboy TV is ready to unveil its newest TV series, the completely CGI animated satire/adventure, DARK JUSTICE. Debuting on September 3, 2000 at 10 pm, the 3D toon chronicles the exploits of Justina, a vigilante vixen who must dodge the pursuits of the law as she fights Metro Citys most dangerous villains. Adult filmmaker Michael Ninn directs the series. "Playboy's Dark Justice is the ideal animated series for Playboy TV," said Jim English, president, Playboy TV Networks Worldwide.
Nickelodeons newest series DORA THE EXPLORER debuted as the highest rated show in Nick Jr. history. The Monday, August 14 11 am airing scored an 11.22/43 rating/share (1.3 million viewers) among kids 2-5 years old. To top its own success the second airing of DORA at 11:30 am scored a 12.85/48 rating/share (1.5 million viewers) among kids 2-5 years old. The new series beat out the September 9, 1996 premiere of BLUES CLUES, which scored a 10.68/48 rating/share among the same demographic.
As counter-programming to the Summer Olympics, the WB Network has decided to begin airing new episodes of THE PJS. The foamation toon will make its official switch from Fox to the WB in a special airing on Friday, September 8, 2000 at 8:30 pm. The Warner Bros./Imagine/Will Vinton Studios production will then join the Sunday line-up on September 10, 2000 at 8:30 pm and will move to 7 pm once the regular season starts. The Eddie Murphy-voiced toon will also have another Friday run on September 15.
Like its doomed toon brother CLERKS, SAMMY has been sacked by NBC after only airing two episodes. The network pulled the plug on the long-shelved comedian David Spade series after it was down 1.1 million views from its lackluster debut of 4.1 million. The beleaguered toon scored a dismal 1.6 rating among adults 18-49 in its Tuesday 8:30 pm time slot. The cancellation isnt much of a surprise, especially when insiders have said that the series ranked as one of the networks lowest-scoring shows in front of test audiences.
TOPIX/Mad Dog was tapped to create the visual effects for the HDTV animated retelling of the Prodigal Son tale entitled, CHOICE. The 25-minute film was produced for Expo 2000s "Pavilion of Hope" in Hanover, Germany. Presented in six languages, the film started airing in June and will run until October. The project was animated by Canuck Creations in Toronto and digitally scanned, inked and painted in Viet Nam at One Shot Pro and Planet Wave. "Originally, our job was to handle the post to finish off the process and put the footage into continuous form.
Swedish-based animation studio Filmtecknarna has wrapped on a 40-second animated sequence for the latest Madonna music video entitled "Music." Within the video, the tooned Madonna beats up British comedian Ali G who also appears in the live-action part of the video. The animation was directed by Jonas Odell at Filmtecknarna and produced by Leila El-Zein. The backgrounds were designed by Boris Nawratil. Jonas Akerlund of Petterson & Akerlund helmed the live-action portion. Filmtecknarna has previously worked with Akerlund on videos for Madonna and Metallica.
Nelvana Limited has announced plans to produce two new animated series. BRACEFACE will be a co-production between Nelvana and Chinese studio Jade Animation. Voiced by Alicia Silverstone (CLUELESS), the series tells the story of Sharon Spitz, a 13-year-old who turns her metal mouth into a winning smile. The first 26 episodes are set for completion in spring 2001 for Fox Family in the U.S. and Teletoon in Canada. CYBERCHASE will be a co-production between Nelvana and WNET/13 in New York, which will air nationally on PBS KIDS in winter 2002.
On Tuesday August 8, 2000, David Spades new animated series, SAMMY, made a lackluster debut in the bottom of its 8:30 pm time slot. Despite a decent lead-in by a rerun of 3RD ROCK FROM THE SUN, the new primetime toon drew only 4.1 million viewers and a 1.8 rating/6 share for adults 18-49. The long shelved series follows the reunion of a newly famous son and his deadbeat dad. How long will the series last only time can tell. The last two heavily hyped primetime toons, GOD THE DEVIL & BOB and CLERKS, never made it past six episodes combined.
Mattel Interactive has signed Scott Gorden (AN EXTREMELY GOOFY MOVIE) to write a live-action, made for television movie script featuring OREGON TRAIL characters from the successful gaming franchise. The script is scheduled for completion early this fall. THE OREGON TRAIL was originally introduced in 1971 as a text-based simulation created on a Teletype machine and mainframe computer, but has. Gordens other credits include SAVED BY THE BELL, MOONLIGHTING, A DIFFERENT WORLD and GOLDEN GIRLS.
In July, Nickelodeon saw the most-watched month ever in its 21-year history. The numbers were the biggest on a total-day basis in household delivery, total viewers (persons 2+) and among kids 2-11. According to the Nielsens, Nickelodeon's 24-hour average in July was a 1.7 coverage rating/5 share/1.3 million HH (1.7 million average total viewers). During Nickelodeon's Kids Day programming, the net posted its highest-rated month among kids 2-11 since January '98 and delivered its largest kid audience ever. In addition, Nick crushed its closest competitors.
Icebox.com has signed a deal to transform its STARSHIP REGULARS into a live-action series. The show chronicles the lives of ordinary men and women aboard a military spaceship. The animated short will nod at Icebox and Showtime on August 11, 2000. REGULARS was created by Icebox co-founder Rob LaZebnik (co-exec producer of THE SIMPSONS), who will produce the live-action show. After the first five Webtoons air on Icebox, the next installment will be broadcast on Showtimes site, www.sho.com. The first episode of the TV series will debut next June.
Fox Kids Europe NV has locked a deal with Turkish cable service provider Turk Telecom that will put the family-friendly channel in 790,000 Turkish homes. The launch date was July 15. The new distribution deal brings Fox Kids Europe to major cities including Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir. The Turkish-language broadcast will air from 7 am to 8 pm seven days a week. Just two months ago Fox Kids entered the Turkish market via an agreement with digital satellite television platform DigiTurk.
STAR TREK: VOYAGER-producer/writer Brannon Braga has signed a new three-year TV deal with Paramount, which will see the creation of a new TREK series. The seven-digit plus deal will have Braga teaming with Rick Berman to develop and create the next TREK-based series. Braga started at Paramount as the writer and producer of STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION. As part of the deal, Braga will produce other series for Paramount as well.
THE RUTH TRUTH, Oxygen Media's award-winning animated on-line series, makes its TV debut in Oxygen's X-CHROMOSOME series on Saturday, July 15, 2000 at 10:30 pm. X-CHROMOSOME is the first half-hour animated television series created primarily for a female audience by the developers of LIQUID TELEVISION. THE RUTH TRUTH chronicles the adventures of Ruth Decker, an actress/comedian who lands a job working undercover for a detective agency that specializes in busting vendors who traffic in counterfeit designer goods, and is based on the life of the writer and lead actress Sheila Head.
Following up on the hugely successful WALKING WITH DINOSAURS, Discovery and the BBC have set into production on WALKING WITH PREHISTOIC BEASTS. The 3-hour miniseries will start where DINOSAURS left off. The budget is set at US$10 million, which was the price tag for the original miniseries. In addition, the two channels will create a "science behind the series" special to air after BEASTS sometime in 2001. After its successful run on the BBC in England, DINOSAURS premiered on April 16, 2000 in the U.S.
Web entertainment network Heavy.com has signed a deal to have its BEHIND THE MUSIC THAT SUCKS Net series appear within the TV variety show FARMCLUB on USA Network. THAT SUCKS is a 52-Webisode series that lampoons the hit VH-1 show, BEHIND THE MUSIC. Popular recording artists rise to stardom is reinvented in outrageous ways. "As the signature show on Heavy.com, BEHIND THE MUSIC THAT SUCKS has a great following," said show creator and Heavy.coms Co-CEO David Carson. "Were totally into the Heavy.com/Farmclub association.
The WB Network is adding their newest animated series BABY BLUES to their Friday night line-up. The new series, based on the newspaper comic strip of the same name, will air back-to-back episodes from 8 9 pm starting July 28. The series chronicles the everyday lives of a suburban couple, Darryl and Wanda MacPherson, and their highly energized baby daughter. Mike O'Malley and Julia Sweeney are voicing the two parents.
Italy-based Crackartoon is currently in production on three new series BAR BONES, JACOB and ANIME SOULS. Giorgio Bellasio and Terry Amanini created BAR BONES with Carlo Cordella penning the project. The series chronicle the tale of several dogs that live out surreal dreams in an old run down caravan/bar. JACOB was also created by Giorgio Bellasio and Terry Amanini and is scribed by Alex Crippa. The show is a spoof of John Carpenters HALLOWEEN series, where the murderer, dawning a panda mask, steps over everyone in his way to obtain the sweets (ie candy) that he desires.
U.K.-based Astley Baker has just finished up their new series for the BBC, THE BIG KNIGHTS. The new show is created by Mark Baker (JOLLY ROGER) and Neville Astley (TRAINSPOTTER). The series chronicles the tales of two knights: one the best swordsman in the world and the second is at least the most enthusiastic swordsman in the world. Along with the armor-clad pet dog and hamster, the two knuckle-headed knights leave the Castle Big on search for adventure.
From Saturday, June 24 to Monday, June 26, 2000, MTV will air Animationfest Weekend, which will feature the series debut of SPY GROOVE. Throughout the weekend, MTV will air fan favorite episodes of DARIA and CELEBRITY DEATHMATCH. MTV will run sneak peeks at SPY throughout the marathon, with the premiere of the new show at 10:30 pm June 26. GROOVE follows the missions of two suave secret agents sent out into the world to protect the Average Joe from bad style.