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.
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.
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.
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.
In a new animated short entitled WILLS WORLD, U.S. pop star Britney Spears seduces the trousers right off Prince William. Airing on June 21, 2000 on the U.K.s Channel 4, the special cartoon is a funny send off to celebrate the Princes 18th birthday. The 18-year-old singer, Spears, has long expressed her hots for the hunky prince, elder son of Prince Charles and the late Princess Diana. One portion of the cartoon shows the teenaged temptress pulling down the prince's trousers as she pursues him.
In the first major move from the Viacom/CBS merger, Viacom-owned Nickelodeon has verified it will program CBS's Saturday morning children's schedule with six half-hour series debuting Saturday, Sept. 16, 2000. The deal was rumored in February as part of the then pending Viacom and CBS merger [2/22/00]. CBS's Saturday morning lineup will feature new and existing series from the "Nick Jr." block, which features programs designed specifically to entertain and educate young viewers. CBS's 2000-2001 children's lineup, entitled "Nick Jr.
The Harvey Entertainment Company announced the acquisition of all television rights to one of the longest running comedy properties on the Internet, WALTER MILLER'S HOME PAGE. Emmy Award winner and former Saturday Night Live film producer Neal Marshad of Neal Marshad Productions will produce the pilot for Harvey, with Tony Eastman (director of Nickelodeon's DOUG pilot) set to serve as creative consultant. Kristin Hawley will head the project for The Harvey Entertainment Company. The site appeared in cyberspace September of 1995.
Makati City, Philippines-based pasi and BKN Kids have teamed up to co-produce 40 half-hour episodes of KONG, THE ANIMATED SERIES. As part of the pact, pasi and BKN will also produce a direct-to-video feature entitled KONG, KING OF ATLANTIS. The series is scheduled to air in over 80 territories. KONG will put a modern twist on the classic King Kong character by pitting the gentle-hearted giant against his enemies, who want to capture the power of the Internet. The demands of producing 40 episodes at a rapid schedule pace will require pasi to utilize several allied studios throughout Asia.
Nelvana Limited announced it has acquired the development, production, distribution and associated merchandise licensing rights for animated television programming, based on the 13-book series, DOCTOR DOLITTLE, written and illustrated by Hugh Lofting. Nelvana has also acquired the production publishing tie-in rights to animated television programming, which the company will develop and produce from its adaptation of the book titles. Nelvana will also develop and produce original stories based on the classic character, who made his book debut in 1920.
Swedish-based animation studio Filmtecknarna F. Animation has produced a 90-second short for Cartoon Network entitled JOSIE AND THE PUSSYCATS IN MUSICAL EVOLUTION. The film is part of the Cartoon Networks "Shorties" series. In the spot, classic Hanna-Barbera characters Josie and the Pussycats take viewers on a journey through musical styles including punk, country, disco, heavy metal and techno. The spot was directed by Jonas Odell and produced by Leila El-Zein. Craig "Sven" Gordon was the Cartoon Network creative director.
After only two airings, ABC has cancelled Kevin Smiths animated TV series CLERKS. The teen-targeted toon debuted on May 31 with a poor rating of 5.2 and slipped to a 4.1 for its Tuesday, June 6 episode. Insiders say that ABC became initially scared of the toon when advertisers balked on its edgy humor. The series was original scheduled to be a 1999-2000 midseason replacement series. Advertising jitters may have lead to ABCs decision to make the toon a summer release, which drew much publicized heat from creator Kevin Smith [AWN 3/13/00].
TV veteran Larry Charles has been added to Columbia TriStars live-action TV version of THE TICK as an executive producer and show-runner. As part of the deal, Charles has extended his overall production-development pact with Columbia TriStar. Previously, Charles worked on SEINFELD and MAD ABOUT YOU and most recently executive produced Columbia TriStar's animated series DILBERT for UPN.
Starz Encore Entertainment's STARZ! Pictures will present the premiere of the sci-fi animated feature film HEAVY METAL 2000. The eagerly-awaited follow-up to the 1981 cult classic HEAVY METAL will bypass theatres in the States and debut on STARZ!, Friday, July 14, 2000 at midnight. "STARZ! Pictures is pleased to offer the many rabid fans of cult classic HEAVY METAL the never-before-seen premiere of HEAVY METAL 2000, the eagerly awaited and already much talked about follow up -- chat rooms have been buzzing about it for months," said Robert Leighton, president of Starz Encore Entertainment.
Britt Allcroft, producer and rights holder of THOMAS THE TANK ENGINE, has signed distribution deals that will send the little engine that could and other properties to Nickelodeon, Paramount and Disney. The deal with Nickelodeon will see THOMAS aired on the station daily and ties into the release of the feature based on the TV series entitled THOMAS AND THE MAGIC RAILROAD. A 15-year Paramount pact will bring 39 30-minute episodes of the pre-school animated MUMFIE to video.
Noggin, the new network from Nickelodeon and the Children's Television Workshop, has announced it has greenlit three new animated series. The new projects will converge the educational opportunities of the Internet and TV and target the higher end of the channel's demographic of kids 6 to 12. Two of the projects will be produced by SCHOOLHOUSE ROCK creator, Geomar Philms. The first, THE MARTAINS ARE COMING! THE MARTAINS ARE COMING!, will follow a time-traveling rock band who will draw connections between seemingly unrelated events in history like science and literature.
THE RUGRATS ruled the May rating sweep by topping both of its Saturday morning time slots. The top toon, RUGRATS, gained 2.4 million viewers at 9:30 am and 2.1 million at 9 am, placing that episode in the second slot. Nickelodeon shows ROCKET POWER and SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS took the third and fourth spots respectively. ROCKET landed an audience of 1.8 million at 8:30 am and SPONGEBOB sank 1.8 million viewers into their couches at 10 am. The regular champion POKEMON slipped to 5th place, only luring in 1.74 million viewers for its 10:30 am broadcast.
Pokemon has caught new deals with several eastern European countries and renewals from around the rest of the continent. New locations of Pokemon infestation include Polsat in Poland, RTL-Klub in Hungary, Nova in Czech Republic, ETV in South Africa and Fox Kids Scandinavia Satelite service. The countries that renewed the second seasons 52-episodes were TV2 in Denmark, TV2 in Norway, TV4 in Sweden, Star Channel in Greece and RTL in Belgium.