NBC and DreamWorks Television have announced their star-studded cast for the upcoming CGI primetime toon, FATHER OF THE PRIDE. Heading up the cast will be John Goodman (ROSEANNE), along with Orlando Jones (EVOLUTION), Emmy-winner Carl Reiner (THE DICK VAN DYKE SHOW) and Cheryl Hines (CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM). The comedy series will chronicle the lives of a pride of white lions that perform in Siegfried & Roy's famous Las Vegas act. The show is set to debut in Fall 2004. Goodman will play Larry, a hard-working lion in the magic act with Hines playing his wife Kate. Reiner will voice Sarmoti, Kates father, who couldn't be more different than Larry. Jones will play Larry's comical best friend Snack, a prankish gopher. CGI versions of Siegfried & Roy will also make appearances in the series. Siegfried & Roy's show is the longest-running act on the Vegas Strip and has sold out every performance for 11 years. Executive producers will be Jonathan Groff (LATE NIGHT WITH CONAN OBRIEN), DreamWorks head Jeffrey Katzenberg, Peter Mehlman (SEINFELD) and Jon Pollack (JUST SHOOT ME). The show will be produced by DreamWorks Television and NBC will retain domestic syndication rights.
Warner Bros. Animation has signed a development deal with sultry voiced R&B superstar Macy Gray to bring her real life to the small screen animated style. The project dubbed A PRETTY GOOD LIFE was originally conceived by Gray, partner Stephen Belafonte, who will serve as producer on the toon, and Ellen Goldsmith-Vein, who will executive produce from her address at the talent agency Gotham Group.
MEGAMAN: NT WARRIOR premieres on the U.S. airwaves May 17, 2003 on Kids' WB! following a special preview at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in Los Angeles May 1416, 2003 where CAPCOM was showcasing the game series. Based on the popular comic book series, MEGAMAN: NT WARRIOR is set in the not-so-distant future during the Cyber Revolution of the year 200X, where virtually all technology is linked to a central computer system. Citizens of ACDC Town interface with this network using their personal "NetNavis" (Net Navigators) via their portable terminals (PETs). The anime/adventure series follows the discoveries and exploits of fifth-grader Lan, whose NetNavi - and alter ego- is a blue-suited, virus-fighting, virtual superhero named Mega Man. Lan and his friends plug in different powerchips to change their personal NetNavis' gadgetry and defense capabilities. These net-warriors unite to expose the darkness within their digital universe. For the latest shows on Kids' WB! check out www.kidswb.com.
NBC'S LATE NIGHT WITH CONAN O'BRIEN will broadcast an entire episode in clay animation. The experimental and groundbreaking episode airs May 15, 2003 from 12:35-1:35 am. The entire late night talk show has been produced in stop-motion animation from the opening, to the monologue, comedy, guests even the bumpers that lead in and out of commercials. This LATE NIGHT episode from October 2002 has been completely recreated in clay in-house by the production/scenic staff, including models of guests Johnny Knoxville (JACKASS), comedian Richard Lewis and musical guest David Bowie.
PBS Kids is offering new episodes of CYBERCHASE in May 2003. The new shows, produced by Thirteen/WNET New York and Corus Entertainment's Nelvana, air on Wednesdays, featuring characters who use math to save the day. Jackie, Matt, Inez and their pal Digit sum up their strengths and smarts to outwit the dastardly Hacker. On May 14, 2003, Binky the Cat (voiced by Bebe Neuwirth) calls the Cybersquad to an ancient Egyptian site to help when Hacker (voice by Christopher Lloyd) steals the "Eye of Rom." Al Rocker (THE TODAY SHOW) stars as journalist Sam Vander Rom, who reports on the kids' efforts to catch a rampaging cyber-whale in "A Whale of a Tale" on May 21. Exec producers are Sandra Sheppard, director of children's and educational programming at Thirteen, and Kristin Laskas Martin, former exec producer of the MAGIC SCHOOL BUS. Larry Jacobs is the animation director.
Spike TV'S Adult Animation Series Premieres SetSpike TV has unveiled an original, ambitious new adult animation block entitled, THE STRIP, to premiere on June 26, 2003 (10:00 pm - midnight, ET/PT). The weekly two-hour animation block includes GARY THE RAT, starring Kelsey Grammer, Stan Lee's STRIPPERELLA, starring Pamela Anderson, and John Kricfalusi's REN & STIMPY ADULT PARTY CARTOON.
DIC Entertainment recently inked deals with leading networks for international distribution for shows including SUPER DUPER SUMOS, MADELINE, MARY-KATE AND ASHLEY: IN ACTION and SHERLOCK HOLMES IN THE 22ND CENTURY. "MIP-TV was a success for us, even considering the state of the world at the time," said Pat Ryan, evp of international sales.
Kids' WB! plans to introduce a new generation of kids in the United States to one of the most beloved anime icons, ASTRO BOY, in its Saturday morning schedule in the 2003-2004 season. Sony Pictures Television and Tezuka Productions are producing the new series based on the original 50-year-old toon from Manga master, Osamu Tezuka.
Minnetonka-Minnesota based TV and film production/distributor/acquisition company Tremendous! Entertainment, Inc. will attend the Los Angeles Screenings for the first time this year, offering international buyers a peek at the newest Garfield 25th anniversary special. GARFIELD'S WORLD EGO TOUR celebrates the fat cat's 25th birthday in a live-action prime-time special. It chronicles the lasagna-loving feline as he visits his millions of fans around the globe.
John Leguizamo, the Emmy Award-winning actor/writer/comedian, is creating ZILCH & ZERO, a 30-minute adult animated special to air on the new Spike TV (formerly The New TNN), the first network for men, according to Albie Hecht, president of Spike TV.
To celebrate Mother's Day on Sunday, May 11, 2003, Cartoon Network gives birth to a seven-hour tribute to that modern Stone Age matriarch, Wilma Flintstone. During the Mother's Day Wilma-Thon, which airs from 12:00-7:00 pm (ET/PT), viewers will see Wilma Flintstone through the years as she and Fred first court, during her pregnancy, as a new mother and, finally, as she becomes a grandmother.
Nickelodeon U.K. is offering its viewers a British-produced version of THE SIMPSONS, based upon a real life family from Leicestershire in the U.K. MEET THE MOORES bowed May 5, 2003 featuring the animated antics of the dad, Robert, 50, a used car salesman and the mother, Tania, 35, an administrative assistant at Loughborough University and a former airline hostess.
Comedy Central is testing a new animated show from comic Denis Leary and Jim Serpico's Apostle studio via a series of interstitial spots pulled from the HOUSE ARREST pilot. The spots started airing on May 1, 2003 and offer animated interpretations of classic stand-up routines from comedians such as Jay Mohr, Leary, Dane Cook, Fitzsimmons, Patrice Oneal, Jeffrey Ross and Janeane Garofalo.
Canadian animation Studio B Productions has hit one into the U.S. network ballpark, scoring a slot on Kids' WB! for a toon about baseball-playing birds that will debut in September 2003. This original production by Vancouver-based Studio B, features the adventures of a team of birds who barnstorm the circuit of D'MYNA LEAGUES playing baseball, and learn a lesson or two along the way. "We're very excited to break into the U.S. with the first ever baseball cartoon series," says Blair Peters, creator and executive producer. "I think kids will really dig the unique combination of traditional 2D characters and 3D backgrounds that capture the exciting on-field action. And adults will get a kick out of the nostalgic tributes to the likes of Shoeless Joe Jackson, Harry Carey and Babe Ruth." D'MYNA LEAGUES already has a strong batting average in its home territory of Canada, with success on both CTV (it was the broadcaster's first venture into kids programming), and kids network YTV. The show, which is distributed by Sony Pictures Television International globally, also airs in territories from Venezuela to Singapore.
The UK's Entertainment Rights has chalked up a number of recent licenses for its kids properties resulting from MIP-TV, in Europe and in North America, via its New York City office. The NYC office has placed several shows with U.S. and Canadian networks. Discovery's Hispanic channel has acquired CGI preschooler CUBEEZ for a 2003 launch and HAMILTON MATTRESS has been sold to HBO while TeleQuebec in Canada has taken PRESTON PIG, SHORT CUTS and MERLIN THE MAGICAL PUPPY. ER's new boy action series TRANSFORMERS ARMADA debuted well on Carton Network in the U.S.
Twenty years after the first international Disney theme park opened in Tokyo and the Disney Channel debuted in the U.S., Disney will launch the Disney Channel Japan on cable and satellite in winter 2003/2004. Satellite platform Sky PerfecTV will offer the 24-hour channel as an á la carte option in winter 2003/4, with the channel also going into basic tier on Japanese cable networks around the same time.
Kids' WB! will offer a special sneak-peek of its new adventure series TEEN TITANS on May 3, 2003. The series, coming to Kids' WB!'s 2003-04 season, is produced by Warner Bros. Animation and will be offered in conjunction with Cartoon Network. TEEN TITANS features Robin The Boy Wonder (without Batman) and fellow teens Cyborg, Beast Boy, Starfire and Raven - five superheroes, each with special powers, who unite to form a defensive force to protect the Earth from a new generation of villains as well as the tribulations of being a teenager. An eclectic group, their powers complement each other while their personalities often clash. Discovering how to control their powers, these Teen Titans must learn to work and grow as a team despite their stylistic differences. The series is produced by WBA under the guidance of Glen Murakami and is based on the DC comic book series. The series will debut on Cartoon Network in August 2003 and re-launch on Kids' WB! in mid-season 2004.
The animated series MIMI & MR. BOBO will return to Spain's RTVE at 1:45 pm on May 7, 2003, which co-produced the series with MB Productions. It was a ratings success when it launched on the channel in September 1999. The re-broadcast is being managed by Icon Prods., the new production and distribution company recently created by Sergi Reitg and Myriam Ballesteros in February 2003 in Barcelona. MIMI & MR. BOBO features the misadventures of an enthusiastic girl and her gang of friends. While innocent looking these youngsters get into mischievous adventures. Storekeepers, mafiosos, rock stars and reality show hosts no one is safe when they decide to turn the town upside down.
Icon's animated catalog includes MIMI & THE GANG (26x6 or 7x26), THE LIVING FOREST (82 mins.), LOLA & VIRGINIA (52x11) and RIP XL (52x11). The distributor is also in negotiations with different companies regarding other properties. Before forming Icon, Reitg worked at Cromosoma for the last seven years, working in different areas, until becoming managing director. In 1992 Ballesteros launched MB Producciones. For more information on Icon, check out www:icon-productions.com
Phil Lord and Chris Miller, the writing/producing team behind MTV's animated comedy CLONE HIGH USA, have landed at two-year seven-figure deal with Twentieth Century Fox Television to develop live-action and animated fare, according to THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. Fox TV president Gary Newman said the pair have the "fresh and twisted view of the world" his network looks for and they will also work on existing projects. CLONE HIGH, which features a high school populated with teenage clones of historical figures like Abraham Lincoln, John F.
DECODE Entertainment has concluded a number of pre-sales for its illustrative digital 2D animated show FRANNYS FEET. The pre-school series features a little girl whose fantastic feet step into magical adventures when she tries on shoes in her grandfathers repair shop. Commissioned by Channel Five in the U.K. and the Family Channel in Canada, the 13x30 minute show will step onto the schedules at Discovery UK and ABC in Australia. DECODE is seeking licensing partners for all categories.
A guest appearance by Lil' Romeo on April 19, 2003 sparks up the third season of STATIC SHOCK on Kids' WB! with the super rapper starring as an animated version of himself. In "Romeo In The Mix," the hip-hop musician joins forces with Static in an attempt to defeat The Leech - a metahuman that is stealing metahuman powers. The music-driven episode also will feature two of Lil' Romeo's hot songs - "Play Like Us" and "Bring It" from his most recent hit album, GAME TIME.
Discovery Kids will introduce animated series to its fall lineup, launching the REALTOONS block to air Saturday mornings on NBC in the U.S. and on the Discovery Kids Channel. Offering a mix of cool stories and real facts, the series TUTENSTEIN and KENNY THE SHARK are based on prototypical Discovery themes ancient history and sharks.
Third time's a charm? The Nashville Network started in 1983, was renamed the New TNN when it was bought by Viacom in 2000 and will now be called Spike TV, as of June 16, 2003, reflecting its new brand positioning as the first network for men. The network's new logo will be unveiled at the MTV Networks upfront presentation in New York City on Tuesday, May 6, 2003, according to network president Albie Hecht. "Spike TV captures the attributes and essence of what we want the first network for men to be," said Hecht. "It's unapologetically male; it's active; it's smart and contemporary with a personality that's aggressive and irreverent. It's a name we feel our audience will get and make a connection with. I like Spike! This is a first major step in our journey to super-serving men in a way no one has done before."
U.K. producer Passion Pictures joined forces with director Pierre Coffin at Tiger Aspect in London and Paris-based animation and post production house MacGuff Ligne to produce THE POLAR BEARS, a series of seven short films as new installments for the second series of LENNY HENRY IN PIECES airing since March 2003 on BBC1.
After a hiatus from primetime animation, NBC and DreamWorks are jumping into the genre again with a 13-episode order for a CG animated series, FATHER OF THE PRIDE, from DreamWorks TV about the lives of the family of lions who perform in Siegfried & Roy's Las Vegas magic show, it was reported by THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER and confirmed by a DreamWorks spokesman.