The Disney Channel has announced that it will produce its first animated sitcom entitled THE PROUD FAMILY. The series will chronicle the experiences of a 14-year-old African-American girl named Penny and her family. Co-executive producer Bruce Smith (SPACE JAM) created the series. Ralph Farquhar, co-creator of the UPN live-action comedy MOESHA, will serve as the other executive producer. The voice cast will include Kyla Pratt (LOVE & BASKETBALL) as Penny, Paula Jai Parker (THE WAYANS BROS.) as Trudy Proud and Tommy Davidson (IN LIVING COLOR) as Oscar Proud.
Toon Disney, the all-Disney cartoon channel, has announced their first original series, THE LEGEND OF TARZAN. The series will bow on the cable network in fall 2001. In the show, Tarzan (Michael T. Weiss, THE PRETENDER) will be reunited with his animal family and must defend the jungle from the encroachment of man. Other characters in the series will be Jane (Olivia d' Abo, THE WONDER YEARS), Professor Porter (Jeff Glen Bennett, THE WEEKENDERS), the well-meaning ape Terk (April Winchell, RECESS, PEPPER ANN) and Tantor the elephant (Jim Cummings, THE TIGGER MOVIE).
Nickelodeon is set to premiere two new cartoon series, INVADER ZIM and THE FAIRLY ODDPARENTS, in March. Debuting on Friday, March 30 at 8:30 pm, THE FAIRLY ODDPARENTS follows the adventures of 10-year-old Timmy Turner (Tara Strong) and his newly arrived fairy godparents -- Cosmo (Daran Norris) and Wanda (Susan Blakeslee), who grant him wishes in an attempt to fix his problems. The series is created by OH YEAH! CARTOONS! veteran Butch Hartman.
THE SIMPSONS yet again claimed the primetime TV toon crown scoring an 8.6 rating/13 share in 38th place. KING OF THE HILL notched in a four-way tie for #68, garnering a 5.8 rating/9 share. Not preempted by NFL football, FUTURAMA took the 84th slot with a 4.3 rating/7 share. The premiere of GARY & MIKE placed high for its fledgling network, UPN. With extreme help as a follow-up to WWF SMACKDOWN on Thursday, the new stop-motion cartoon kicked off with a 3.6 rating/5 share in 86th place.
DIC Entertainment has signed on to create 26 half-hour episodes of EVOLUTION, based on Ivan Reitman's forthcoming summer live-action feature. This project re-teams DIC's president and CEO Andy Heyward with Reitman, who collaborated on REAL GHOSTBUSTERS and MUMMIES ALIVE. Producing the series along with DIC will be Reitman's The Montecito Picture Co. (TMPC) in conjunction with DreamWorks and Columbia Pictures. Heyward, Reitman and TMPC's co-founder Tom Pollack will executive produce the traditionally animated show.
Toronto broadcaster CTV has gained the Canadian TV rights for the STAR WARS franchise. The three-year deal gives CTV broadcast rights to EPISODE 1: THE PHANTOM MENACE and the original STAR WARS trilogy. In addition, the network has purchased the documentaries FROM STAR WARS TO STAR WARS: THE STORY OF INDUSTRIAL LIGHT & MAGIC, A LONG TIME AGO: THE STORY OF STAR WARS and THE MYTHOLOGY OF STAR WARS. PHANTOM MENACE will debut on April 29, 2001 on the same day that the film premiere's in the States on Fox.
Nickelodeon Latin America and TV Globo have signed a deal that will send Nicktoons to Brazilian airwaves. The two-year deal gives Globo the rights to air Nicktoons on Saturday mornings. Nick has similar deals with Mexico's Televisa and Venezuela's Radio Caracas Television. The cartoons that will air from 7 8 am will be dubbed versions of CATDOG, SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS and THE WILD THORNBERRYS.
After a decade on the air, THE SIMPSONS continues to do well with a top 20 finish this past week. At #19, the longest running U.S. sitcom scored a 10 rating/15 share. KING OF THE HILL tied for 41st place with a 7.2 rating/11 share. A 10-minute bonus installment of HILL ranked #101 with a 1.7 rating/3 share. Also at #101 was THE PJS, pulling down the same rating and share. These ratings and shares represent primetime TV in the U.S. on broadcast networks for the week starting Monday, January 1 through Sunday, January 7, 2000.
UPN may be backing out of its plans to produce DOOMSDAY, a new animated series produced by talk radio host Howard Stern. The show would have chronicled the Bradley family who travel in a motor-home across a post-apocalyptic United States in search of a new home and traditional family values. UPN head Dean Valentine told the NEW YORK DAILY NEWS that the first drafts of the show were "decent, but it wasn't great and if you do this kind of show, a show about the aftermath of nuclear war, it has got to be great.
Fox has renewed both KING OF THE HILL and FUTURMA for the 2001-2002 season. The network ordered a complete season of HILL and 18 episodes of FUTURAMA. In addition, Jonathan Aibel and Glenn Berger were upped to executive produce HILL. Former executive producer Richard Appel is leaving to focus on developing a new live-action comedy for ABC. The new orders put HILL, produced by Film Roman, into its sixth season and FUTURAMA, produced by Rough Draft, into its fourth. Currently, Fox is in discussions to renew THE SIMPSONS for next season also.
Warner Bros. Television has backed out of its partnership to produce THE PJS with Imagine Entertainment. The decision comes after the WB Network ordered 13 episodes for next season. Apparently, WBTV felt that the short order wouldn't cover costs, in addition to worries that the series wouldn't receive large amounts of money in off-net sales. However, Imagine has a potential partner in the wings Paramount. But there's a catch. Insiders say that Paramount wants syndication rights to all 56 episodes of the series.
This past week animated shows saw primetime animation in a New Year's mood. In a three way tie at #54, THE SIMPSONS New Year's special was the top toon, drawing a 5.5 rating/11 share. The KING OF THE HILL New Year's special came right behind at #57 with a 5.4 rating/10 share. A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS aired for the last time on CBS on Christmas Day December 25, 2000. The holiday special finished 64th with a 5.0 rating/11 share. The classic cartoon had scored an impressive 10.8 rating/16 share when it aired on Monday, December 11, 2000.
Fox TV Studios has tapped Los Angeles-based Gear-CGI to develop and produce a new action/adventure TV series entitled XERONINE. The series follows the mishaps and adventures of a simple-minded robot, a mad half-cockroach-half human scientist and the president of the United Earth. Providing voices for the series will be Gary Coleman (DIFF'RENT STROKES) as Xeronine, Clancy Brown (STARSHIP TROOPERS, SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION) as Dr. Canard and Pam Grier (JACKIE BROWN) as the president of the United Earth.
Collideascope Digital Productions has signed a deal with Teletoon to create the first television and online convergence program produced in Flash. OLLIE'S UNDER THE BED ADVENTURES will be a half-hour special consisting of ten 2-minute episodes targeted to children aged 5-10. The show will chronicle the imaginary tales of Ollie, a young hyperactive boy who invents a world of his own underneath his bed where he embarks on wild adventures. The show will also air at OllieLand.com, which will include an interactive environment where viewers can journey into Ollie's crazy world.
Solange, teamed with Destiny's Child and Baha Men, has agreed to record theme songs for Disney Channel's two upcoming animated series, THE PROUD FAMILY and STANLEY. Gary Marsh, executive vice president, original programming, Disney Channel, said, "Great music, performed by uniquely talented artists and integrally linked to our award-winning original programming, is a key component of our programming strategy.
Oxygen will give life to ABC's DOTCOMEDY. The series that highlighted the funniest content on the Internet was cancelled from ABC after only one airing. The show received one of the network's lowest ratings for a regularly scheduled program with a 2.8 rating. Oxygen will air the four episodes of the show, created by Oxygen Media and Carsey-Werner, but will not produce anymore. Originally, ABC called for 13 installments of the series.
In a pledge of support for its fledging network, Viacom has agreed to let UPN air episodes of MTV's clay-animated series CELEBRITY DEATHMATCH as a compliment to GARY & MIKE. So far UPN has the rights to 7 choose reruns of DEATHMATCH with an option for 13 more. As part of the arrangement, MTV and UPN will cross-promote each other's airings of DEATHMATCH and MTV is considering a broadcast of GARY & MIKE after it nods on UPN. "It's great to be a part of Viacom," UPN COO Adam Ware said.
In its last year on CBS, A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS is nothing but a holiday miracle. Airing at 8 pm on Monday, the 35-year old special scored an amazing 10.8 rating/16 share to finish in 17th place for the week. After its Christmas day airing on CBS, the classic holiday special will move to ABC. At #33, THE SIMPSONS took home a steady 8.7 rating/13 share for Fox. KING OF THE HILL placed #58 with a 6.4 rating/10 share. The Sunday 7:30 special broadcast of THE SIMPSONS finished in the 72nd slot with a 5.2 rating/9 share. CBS' Tuesday night Christmas block took the next two toon slots.
Oscar-winning director/actor Billy Bob Thornton is teaming with Acme Productions on a new TV animated series. The currently untitled series is based on an idea by Thornton about a father who has been in a garage band for the past twenty years. The SLINGBLADE director will team with Emmy-winning SIMPSONS writer, Ron Hauge, on developing the project. Thornton will also voice the main character. Acme Production is the six-month-old production company formed by former 20th Century Fox executives Mindy Schultheis and Michael Hanel.
DIC Entertainment is teaming with Tomopoulos Prods. and Jake Steinfeld's Body by Jake Enterprises to create a new animated TV series entitled CAMP JAKE. The show will follow the exploits of the rebellious kids who go to summer camp to get in shape. The companies have agreed to produce 26 initial episodes of the cartoon.
One more avenue for Web content to make the jump to TV is dead. ABC has pulled the plug after only one airing of the series DOT COMEDY, which aired comedic shorts from the Internet. The Friday, December 8 broadcast scored a 2.8 rating/5 share -- one of the worst ratings for a regularly scheduled program in ABC history. The show's immediate replacement until January will be repeats of the live-action comedy TWO GUYS AND A GIRL, then the fourth installment of WHO WANTS TO BE A MILLIONAIRE will take the slot.
UPN will finally premiere the long-in-the-works GARY & MIKE stop-motion animated series. The series will begin airing Friday, January 12, 2001 at 8 pm. In a major show of support for the toon, a special preview episode will air on Thursday, January 11, 2001 at 9:30 pm following UPN's top rated show WWF SMACKDOWN!
Mainframe Entertainment, Inc. and Studio B Productions have announced their first co-development project for television entitled SURF N TURF. The traditional cel and CGI animated series is a multiple segment comedy property created by Amanda Connor and Jim Palmiotti. In 1991, Palmiotti began his career with Marvel Comics and has since worked for DC Comics and Fleer on such titles as SUPERMAN, BATMAN THE MOVIE and KID DEATH AND ASH, which has been optioned for a feature film by DreamWorks SKG. Connor's work can be seen in MAD MAGAZINE, THE NEW YORK TIMES and BARBIE FASHION.
The primetime animation champion once again was THE SIMPSONS at #25 with a 9.7 rating/15 share. CBS' Tuesday 8 pm broadcast of RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER placed #38 with an 8.3 rating/13 share. In a two-way tie for 46th place, KING OF THE HILL garnered a 7.5 rating/12 share. The Wednesday 8 pm SIMPSONS special tied three ways for #64 with a 5.6 rating/9 share. ABC's Saturday 8 pm airing of MICKEY'S CHRISTMAS CAROL sung home a 4.3 rating/8 share. On Friday at 8:30 pm on ABC, DOT COMEDY, featuring Webtoons from BunnyGrenade.com and Oxygen.com, netted a 2.8 rating/5 share.
On Wednesday, December 6,
2000, Comedy Central will start an eight-week run of comedian Robert
Smigel's TV FUNHOUSE, a live-action satire of 1950s children's shows
including twisted cartoons. Animated shorts include "Wonderman," a
superhero who uses his super powers to line-up dates for his alter
ego and "The Baby, The Immigrant and the Guy on Mushrooms," each of
whom always says, "Ahhhhhh." "I get a lot of pleasure out of writing
things that maybe I couldn't have WRITTEN when I was 10 years old,