Vancouver-based computer animation studio Mainframe Entertainment, Inc. is bringing two new animated projects to this year's NATPE: ALIEN LEGION and MAXINE 5. ALIEN LEGION, based on the cult comic book series created by Carl Potts, follows the futuristic exploits of the Legion's Force Nomad and its multi-species ranks of alien legionnaires. Culled from the unwanted of three galaxies, legionnaires are the expendable shock troops and peacekeepers of the new intergalactic realm.
TechTV, a cable network dedicated to all things technology, recently launched ANIME UNLEASHED, a program block devoted to screening anime feature films and series, some never before seen on television in the U.S. ANIME UNLEASHED premiered December 30, 2002 with the series debut of CREST OF STARS, which follows a human boy whose life changes forever when an alien race invades his home planet, and currently airs nightly at 1:00 am EST. "ANIME UNLEASHED is a natural extension to our programming mix," said Greg Brannan, senior vice president of programming and production for TechTV.
Cartoon Network continues to branch into anime with the U.S. premiere of CHAR'S COUNTERATTACK during its Adult Swim animation block. The network recently announced it had acquired three anime series, LUPIN THE THIRD, REIGN and TRIGUN, to round out its Adult Swim block, which also includes anime series COWBOY BEBOP and INUYASHA. CHAR'S COUNTERATTACK is a feature-length film drawn from Yoshiyuki Tomino's MOBILE SUIT GUNDAM series.
VH1 and Mondo Media will debut their new special ROCKSTROLOGY on January 2, 2003 on VH1. The show features humorous animated interpretations of psychic predictions for the year 2003. ROCKSTROLOGY answers all those burning questions about today's hottest musicians and celebrities. Get the latest on Jennifer Lopezs romance, find out whats in store for Marilyn Manson and take a peek into the future career of Jack Osbourne.
THE WALKING WITH DINOSAURS specials are back on the BBC, with the premiere of THE GIANT CLAW and LAND OF GIANTS over the holiday season. For the first time in the WALKING WITH series, the special effects on display include the integration of a human being into the prehistoric landscape. Zoologist Nigel Marvin, who hosts both shows, travels back in time to ancient Earth in search of a variety of dinosaurs.
Cartoon Network's Brak from THE BRAK SHOW and Carl from AQUA TEEN HUNGER FORCE are teaming up for a Cartoon Network Adult Swim New Year's Eve celebration. Airing "live" from Times Square on Tuesday, December 31 from 11:00 pm-3:00 am, Adult Swim's New Year's Eve Bash will include a world premiere episode of SPACE GHOST COAST TO COAST at 12 midnight.
Anime producer and distributor ADV Films is readying the launch of The Anime Network, with a mid-December launch as part of Comcast Cable's video-on-demand (VOD) initiative in the Philadelphia area. Comcast's VOD service is available to approximately 1.2 million customers in the Philadelphia area. The move will be phase one of the rollout of the network, which is the first television channel in North America dedicated to anime and anime-related content. Leadership at The Anime Network described the decision to launch phase one via VOD service as one of complementary strengths.
From KISS to clones, Corus Entertainments Nelvana Limited brings an eclectic slate of programming to NATPE this January. Gene Simmons, lead singer of the rock band KISS, has created MY DAD THE ROCK STAR, a 26 x 30-minute animated comedy targeted to 6-12 year-olds. The series centers on Willy Zilla, a 12 year-old kid who just wants to lead a quiet, normal existence.
International distributor Comarex will attend NATPE 2003 with a selection of animated series including FAIRY TALE POLICE DEPARTMENT (26 x 30-minutes), EM.TV's series about a special unit of the secret service that fights against crime in the fairy tale world; FLIPPER & LOPAKA, a 52 x 30-minute series that tells the story of Lopaka, Prince of Quetzo, and his dolphin friend Flipper; THE WORLD OF TOSH (26 x 30-minutes) revolves around nine year old Tosh, who has a talent for getting himself and others into trouble without
Fox Kids UK is including the new series ROBOROACH and MOVILLE MYSTERIES, as well as new seasons of returning favorites to its early 2003 line-up. ROBOROACH (52 x 11-minutes) follows the adventures of Rube, a cockroach who can transform himself into a superhero insect called RoboRoach, and his brainy brother Reg. The series was acquired from RTV Family Entertainment and is scheduled to launch on January 6, 2003.
Kids WB! gives the Scooby Gang their first prime-time special this season with the debut of A SCOOBY-DOO CHRISTMAS. Based on the series WHAT'S NEW SCOOBY DOO?, which currently airs on Kids' WB! on Saturday mornings, the holiday mystery will air on Friday, December 13, 2002 at 8:30 pm. The Mystery Machine rolls into the town of Winter Hollow and the gang discover that Christmas is destroyed each year by the appearance of a headless snowman.
If you haven't already succumbed to the TiVo phenomenon, now may be the time. During the month of December, TiVo will air exclusive promotional content from THE TWO TOWERS, the second installment in the LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy. TiVo was given special access to the cast and crew of the film, and got first hand accounts of what went on behind the scenes of the epic feature's filming. Opening worldwide on December 18, 2002, LORD OF THE RINGS: THE TWO TOWERS details the continuing saga of the hobbit Frodo Baggins and his quest through Middle Earth to destroy the One Ring of power.
Drew Barrymore stars as the voice of Olive, the dog that thinks she's a reindeer in the Emmy-nominated animated holiday special OLIVE, THE OTHER REINDEER, which makes its Cartoon Network debut on December 14, at 8:00 pm. The animation is based on the illustrations of J. Otto Siebold, who co-authored the titular book with Vivian Walsh. In other reindeer news, Cartoon Network will also screen GRANDMA GOT RUNOVER BY A REINDEER for the first time on that network on December 16 at 8:00 pm.
Canadian independent animation studio AurenyA Entertainment has completed production on the 3D animated half-hour television special, THE ELFKINS FIRST CHRISTMAS. Produced in partnership with Dinosaur Soup Productions, Beaver Creek Creations and Independent Moving Pictures, the show tells the tale of the Elfkins, mythic creatures who live in a parallel universe. When they learn of the existence of human children, the Elfkins discover the true meaning of Christmas.
As part of Nickelodeon's primetime slate of back-to-back holiday specials, dubbed "Nickmas" by the network, holiday favorites from the series SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS, HEY, ARNOLD!, THE FAIRLY ODDPARENTS, THE WILD THORNBERRYS and CATDOG will air, along with specials like A RUGRATS KWANZAA and an animated, musical re-telling of Charles Dickens' A CHRISTMAS CAROL. "Nickmas" specials will air throughout the month of December.
Big Idea Productions brings its first public television special to the airwaves with the debut of VEGGIETALES: THE STAR OF CHRISTMAS. This animated holiday special features the well-known characters from the VEGGIETALES children's home-video series.
Kids' WB! will broadcast its Flash-animated comedy series ¡MUCHA LUCHA! with a Spanish simulcast, beginning on Saturday, December 14, 2002. The network, in conjunction with its affiliates, will provide Hispanic viewers the ability to watch the series in Spanish via Second Audio Programming (SAP). This irreverent comedy celebrates the Latin culture and explores the Mexican phenomenon known as "Lucha Libre." Kids' WB! recently announced it will pick up a second season of the series, which follows Rikochet, Buena Girl and The Flea as they study and live the "Code of Masked Wrestling."
Cartoon Network is expanding the range of its popular Adult Swim block with the acquisition of three anime series: LUPIN THE THIRD, REIGN and TRIGUN. LUPIN THE THIRD follows the adventures of globetrotting crook Lupin, who is aided in his adventures by his two partners, expert marksman Jigen and samurai master Goemon. Lupin travels around the world stealing extraordinary treasures and matching wits with rival thief, Fujiko, all the while staying one step ahead of Inspector Zenigata.
U.S. broadcaster NBC has acquired A FREEZERBURNT CHRISTMAS, a new stop-motion animated special, and plans to air it in prime time this holiday season. SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE cast members Chris Parnell, Darrell Hammond and Horatio Sanz lend their voices to this half-hour special from Wreckless Abandon Studios and distributor Broadway Video Enterprises. When a shy, down on his luck character named Freezerburn stumbles upon an evil toy magnate planning to take down Santa Claus, he summons his gang of quirky pals to warn Santa and save Christmas.
Egmont Imagination has recently completed a host of new deals for its 2D Flash-animated stunt-action series THE AMAZING ADRENALINI BROTHERS. Both Nickelodeon U.S. and Europe (in a pan-European deal), Cartoon Network Japan, ABC Australia, as well as Astral Quebec in Canada, have all picked up the broadcast rights for the program. A winner of the "Prix Des Internautes" (Peoples Choice) award at the 26th Annecy International Animation Festival, this 10 x 2.5-minute series is aimed at all audiences six years old and up.
Comedienne Ruby Wax has been signed to be the Pope's voice in POPETOWN, a star-studded animated series for the BBC's new channel BBC THREE, a digital channel aimed at young adults that will replace BBC Choice. Created by Isabelle Dubernet and Eric Furher, POPETOWN is a 10 x 24-minute sitcom about the office politics that exist in any workplace with the bizarre twist that the company is the Vatican and the CEO happens to be the Pope.
U.K.-based animation studio Elephant Egg will be animating six short sketches for BBC Choices satirical news program THE STATE WERE IN. Designed by Elephant Eggs Andy Wyatt, each sketch will parody a classic cartoon series with a unique spin on that weeks current events. With a running time of between one and a half and two minutes, the animated shorts will faithfully reproduce the look of popular U.K. and U.S. animation series - already slated are ROOBARB & CUSTARD, MR.
Cartoon Network is 24-hours a day, 7-days a week and now 30,000 feet in the air. The network has signed a two-year deal with British Airways to provide over two hours per flight of programming for the airline's in-flight entertainment. Beginning December 1, Cartoon Network programming will be available on British Airways long haul flights. The Cartoon Network branded channel will be updated quarterly and feature the Cartoon Network Studios originals THE POWERPUFF GIRLS, JOHNNY BRAVO, DEXTER'S LABORATORY and ED, EDD N EDDY, plus new titles GRIM AND EVIL and TIME SQUAD.
Over the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday weekend Nickelodeon will offer a behind-the-scenes look at Nickelodeons animation studio in Burbank, California, as well as premieres of new episodes of RUGRATS, ROCKET POWER, THE FAIRLY ODDPARENTS and THE ADVENTURES OF JIMMY NEUTRON, BOY GENIUS and holiday-themed episodes of popular Nicktoons including CATDOG, HEY, ARNOLD! and RUGRATS. The cast of the live-action series ALL THAT hosts the "Non-Stop Nicktoons Weekend," chatting with animators and creators about favorite Nicktoons' characters.
VARIETY reports that U.S. broadcast network CBS has acquired the award-winning animated special ROBBIE THE REINDEER and its sequel and will air the shows beginning in December 2002, with an all new star-studded voice cast. The stop-motion animated specials were created by Bristol-based BBC Animation. Both ROBBIE THE REINDEER IN HOOVES OF FIRE and its 2002 sequel LEGEND OF THE LOST TRIBE, will, for no apparent reason other than U.S. broadcasters think Americans prefer to hear well-known actors with American accents voice cartoons, be re-voiced by celebrities for its U.S. debut.