TV-Loonland has started production on its latest animation series METALHEADS (26 x 11-minutes), a comedy adventure set in the Middle Ages and aimed at 6 to 11 year-olds. TV-Loonlands UK-based animation studio Telemagination is producing the series, which has an anticipated delivery of summer 2003. METALHEADS centers on a motley crew of five kids and their enthusiastic efforts to become knights. Its described by Loonland as a little bit Monty Python and a little bit THE KNIGHT'S TALE.
Colorland Animation Ltd. and Tundra Productions, Inc. are introducing their first original co-produced series to buyers at MIPCOM 2002. Entitled OH MAX, the 26 x half-hour children's series is currently in production. OH MAX and the new animated film IN SEARCH OF SANTA mark Colorland's debut as producers of their own product. Max is an overgrown, accident-prone, recently adopted puppy with an overactive imagination. In his waking life (portrayed in CG animation), Max is still adjusting to his newly adopted household and resident pets.
Bazley Films, a new UK-based animation company formed by animator Richard Bazley, has teamed up with High Eagle Productions to direct, animate and produce a section of THE CUNNING LITTLE VIXEN for the BBC. THE CUNNING LITTLE VIXEN is an animated opera based on the novel by Rudolf Tésnohlídek featuring an original libretto by Czechoslovakian composer Janácek. Bazley, whose team includes former Disney and Warner Bros.
Effective October 1, 2002, animation studio Saban International Paris is changing its name to SIP Animation. The newly named company will be at MIPCOM to present its latest animated series W.I.T.C.H., adapted from a popular comic book series. W.I.T.C.H. is an action series combining epic adventure and comedy, magic and realism through the adventures of five young heroines gifted with magic powers, designated to maintain the natural order of the universe while at the same time coping with the daily trials and tribulations of teenage life.
Entertainment Rights will launch its new series LITTLE RED TRACTOR at MIPCOM and the Brand Licensing Show. Co-produced by Entertainment Rights and The Little Entertainment Company in partnership with the BBC, the preschool series will begin airing on BBC's kids' channel CBeebies in 2004. The series follows the adventures of an optimistic Little Red Tractor who has to rely on his cleverness and determination to compete with the big modern machines that appear in the series. Entertainment Rights owns the global TV, home entertainment, licensing and merchandising rights for LITTLE RED TRACTOR.
Oxygen's original short animation HEY MONIE will be turned into a 13-episode series thanks to cable networks Oxygen and Black Entertainment Television (BET). According to a report in TVInsite.com, the two networks will team to co-finance and share rights to the series, which will air simultaneously on both networks. The series is scheduled to premiere in the spring of 2003. HEY MONIE currently airs as part of Oxygen's X-Chromosome series, and is the first network animated series based on an African-American woman and her friends.
Quebec, Canada-based Sarbakan, a provider of animated content for the Internet and television, is taking its popular Internet-based game GOODNIGHT MR. SNOOZLEBERG to MIPCOM in the form of a 65 x 5-minute animated series. Mr. Snoozleberg is an important diplomat who also happens to be an incurable sleepwalker. So he must dodge all kinds of obstacles while he sleepwalks in order to make it back to bed so he can perform his diplomatic duties the next morning. The Mr. Snoozleberg online Flash-animated game is available at www.sarbakan.com. Sarbakan will be at Mipcom booth # C1.05.
Variety brings us the news that Comedy Central's next "edgy" project will be an animated series based on the life of colorful Hollywood producer Robert Evans. Evans, who was recently featured in the theatrically released biopic THE KID STAYS IN THE PICTURE, will executive-produce with THE KID's director Brett Morgan, who will also write the series with SOUTH PARK alum Pam Brady. The network has ordered 10 episodes of the series, which is scheduled to debut in 2003. The show will be based on Evans notorious life as a maverick Hollywood executive and womanizer.
Newly formed visual effects studio Zoic is providing effects for FIREFLY, a new adventure drama series created by Joss Whedon (BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER and ANGEL) debuting on FOX, Friday, September 20, 2002 at 8:00 pm. Loni Peristere, Zoic co-founder and visual effects supervisor, has been working with Joss Whedon for six years, on both BUFFY and ANGEL. "Loni Peristere is a mad genius, which, apart from his endless attempts to destroy Metropolis, is useful," said Whedon.
Los Angeles-based entertainment company channelzero will be attending MIPCOM with the pilot episode of their animated series SOSOPHIE. The short entitled "Dead Dog Double-Dare," is a co-production between channelzero, Atomic Cartoons, SMEC Media & Entertainment and Hacienda Post. SOSOPHIE is an action series that is described by its creators as THE SIMPSONS meets THE DUKES OF HAZARD. SOSOPHIE debuted at NATPE in January 2002.
HOWDI GAUDI, a new animation series inspired by the designs of Spanish architect Antoní Gaudí, will be launched at Mipcom Junior. The Gaudins Project, Steve Walsh Productions and Agogo Entertainment, in association with TV Catalunya, have completed the 26 episode half-hour series which was supervised by SIMPSONS' producer Phil Roman. The series had its Spanish premiere this September 11th on TV Catalunya, which aired a "Making Of' special along with 3 episodes of the series. HOWDI GAUDI will debut September 17, 2002 on Disney Channel Spain.
France Animation is launching two new childrens animated series at MIPCOM 2002. TAMA & MELODY (not to be confused with 4Kids' TAMA and FRIENDS) and SPACE DJS, both aimed at the 8-12 year old set. TAMA & MELODY (52 x 13-minutes) is a cross-cultural series based on the book PEAU ET VENT by Marie Félicité Ebokéa. Adapted for screen by Claire Paoletti, the series is seen through the eyes of two musical children, an African boy named Tama and a western girl called Melody, both aged 12. The show explores the encounter between the two cultures.
Germany's EM.TV found success with its first installment of the whimsical series FAIRY TALE POLICE DEPARTMENT (FTPD), which has sold to broadcasters in France, Italy, Spain, Latin America, China, Hong Kong, South Korea, Africa and the Ukraine. Therefore, EM.TV will be bringing another round of FTPD to this year's show. The second series of FTPD (13 x 24-minutes) follows a special unit of the secret service that fights crime in the fairy tale world. FTPD agents Johnny Legend and his partner Chris Anderson ensure that all fairy tale favorites really do live happily ever after.
France Animation has signed a number of deals across its children's programming catalogue. Following the success of the first 26 episodes of animated series WHEEL SQUAD, Disney Channel Asia has made a commitment to the second season with a deal for a further 13 episodes. Radio Canada has also picked up all 39 episodes for broadcast beginning in September 2002. The series, which has also been sold to Disney Middle East and Fox Kids Latin America, is a co-production with Rai, M6, Praxinos and Colorland Animation.
Sesame Workshop will be seeking co-production opportunities for the SESAME STREET brand and will also launch a new half-hour format of 50 episodes of the series at this year's MIPCOM. Also available will be ELMO'S WORLD, a 32 x 15-minute interactive series that looks at the world through the eyes of a three year-old. In addition, Sesame Workshop will launch a slate targeted to 9-14 year-olds including two new live action programs: ZOE HAWKER, NEIGHBORHOOD DOG WALKER and a co-production between CBBC (UK), ABC TV (Australia) and Noggin under the working title TWO DOWN UNDER.
At this year's MIPCOM, Nelvana will launch the preschool series LITTLE CRITTER, a 40 x 12-minute animated program featuring characters and stories culled from the collection of children's books written and illustrated by Mercer Mayer. Another new animated property based on a kid's book is JACOB TWO-TWO, a 26 x 30-minute animated series based on the Canadian best seller by Mordecai Richler.
September 14, 2002 marks the premiere of kid-friendly programming on most network and some cable stations. The Kids' WB will kick off the season with a "Scoob-Tacular-Saturday Sweepstakes," which offers kids the chance to win one of thousands of prizes throughout the morning. The network will introduce three new series to the fall schedule: the all-new WHAT'S NEW SCOOBY-DOO?, the buddy-cop comedy OZZY & DRIX and the new Mexican wrestling comedy ¡MUCHA LUCHA!, which had an early sneak-peek debut on Saturday, August 17. Kids' WB!
POOCHINI, the 26-episode series produced by San Francisco-based animation house Wild Brain, Inc. and Germany's EM.TV debuted in the U.S. on September 7, 2002. Wild Brain has partnered with The Television Syndication Company, Inc. (TVS) to distribute POOCHINI in the U.S. market. Stations are currently being cleared in each of the 210 U.S. markets, with over 50% of the country already on board including New York, Chicago and Philadelphia among the top 30 stations.
The latest network series refugee to join cable's Cartoon Network is Matt Groening's FUTURAMA. Twentieth Television and Cartoon Network have entered into an agreement for the exclusive cable rights of all 72 episodes of FUTURAMA to begin airing January 2003, during Cartoon Networks late night adult animation block Adult Swim. FUTURAMA chronicles the adventures of Philip J. Fry, a pizza delivery boy who was accidentally frozen on New Years Eve in 1999 while on the job.
TINY PLANETS, co-produced by Peppers Ghost Productions (PGP) and Sesame Workshop, will be returning to MIPCOM along with the newly formatted tween series BUS STOP. Nominated as "best new property" by License! Magazine at this years New York Licensing Show, TINY PLANETS has already been sold to 73 countries and Peppers Ghost Productions is seeking sales in Spain, Benelux and Scandinavia. TV broadcast rights are also still available in France and are being handled by Euro TV. Peppers Ghost will also be bringing the series BUS STOP to MIPCOM.
OLLIVERS ADVENTURES, a new 13 x 30-minute animated series from Collideascope Digital Productions will have its Canadian premiere starting Saturday, September 7, 2002 at 8:00 am ET/PT on Canadian broadcaster TELETOON. The series is a spin-off of Collideascopes Gemini Award-winning animated shorts, OLLIES UNDER THE BED ADVENTURES.
Atomic Cartoons will be in attendance at this year's Mipcom, showcasing a bevy of shows including DENNIS THE DRAGON, CONEY ISLAND CARNEYS, GOAL!, and DIRTY LIL BASTER. And in other Atomic news, ATOMIC BETTY, the studio's co-production with Film Roman, has picked up a distributor. Toronto-based independent production company Breakthrough Films will act as the series' international distributors with Breakthrough's Ira Levy and Nghia Nguyen on board as executive producers and Kevin Gillis as producer.
Mainframe Entertainment, Inc. will offer a variety of computer animated fare for preschoolers, kids, tweens and primetime audiences at MIPCOM 2002. Among the projects Mainframe will promote include TONY HAWK'S FEASTERS, with pro skateboard champion Tony Hawk acting as a mentor to a group of local kids; an all-new BETTY BOOP series featuring Betty on the road as the lead singer of a rock band; and the collage animation series FAMILY VALUES.
UK-based production company Animatrix Ltd. plans to create an all new 26 part series based on the 1980s preschooler DR. SNUGGLES. Featuring Sir Peter Ustinov voicing the title character, a cuddly bow-tied inventor who strives to make the world a better place, the original DR. SNUGGLES was broadcast in more than 80 countries, and can still be seen in Germany, Scandinavia, Holland, Ireland and Canada. Animation studio Telemagination has produced a 3 1/2-minute pilot of the newly revamped DR. SNUGGLES scheduled to screen this year at Cartoon Forum and Mipcom.
DIC Entertainment has acquired the worldwide television distribution, merchandising and licensing rights for the Japanese animated classic SPEED RACER. DIC acquired the license from Speed Racer Enterprises and Tetsunoko. John Rocknowski and his son, Jim, are the proprietors of Speed Racer Enterprises, who acquired worldwide rights to the property in 1991. The package consists of the original 52 half-hour episodes and 34 new episodes, none of which have been shown in the U.S. with English dubbing until now.