USA Networks has order a pilot and five episodes of a new sci-fi series entitled THE 4,400, reported VARIETY. The new program will follow the events that occur when 4,400 people abducted by aliens are returned to Earth. The project will be exec produced by Francis Ford Coppola, Rene Echevarria (DARK ANGEL) and Maira Suro (PLATINUM). Scott Peters (THE OUTER LIMITS) will be writing and producing the hour-long series with Viacom Prods. and Renegade 83 as the production firms.
Spike TV has given the go-ahead for six episodes of a new animated series, THIS JUST IN, from THE FAIRLY ODDPARENTS writer Steven Marmel. The show will follow three best friends a freelance journalist, a teacher and a househusband -- as they comment on on-going current events. Marmel will reteam with ODDPARENTS partner Kevin Kay to exec produce the show. Kay was formerly evp of production and development at Nickelodeon and now serves as evp of programming and development at Spike TV.
THE TRIPLETS OF BELLEVILLE, which was partially funded by the BBC, will air New Years Eve in the U.K. on BBC2 at 2:30 pm. The acclaimed Sylvain Chomet animated feature, which made its U.S. debut over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, was released theatrically in Britain in September.
SCI FI Channel has signed Academy Award-winner F. Murray Abraham (AMADEUS) and Sean Patrick Flanery (YOUNG INDIANA JONES) to star in the hour-long pilot for the drama series DEAD LAWYERS. A Zanuck Co. production in association with Sony Pictures Television, LAWYERS begins filming in Toronto in early December. Paris Barclay (THE SHIELD, NYPD BLUE) directs.
THE NIGHT B4 CHRISTMAS special made its U.S. television premiere on Dec. 2, 2003 at 8:30 pm with a replay on Dec. 9, at 8:00 on Cartoon Network. Aries Spears, (MAD TV), Paramounts next feature film comedy star Earthquake, and Chali 2NA of Universal Music Groups hot hip hop sensation, Jurassic 5, highlight a talented ensemble cast that keeps the laughs coming.
ValCom and O Atlas Enterprises will be turning their NEW ZOO REVUE into a new 3D TV series and feature. The original people-in-suits series debuted in syndication in the U.S. in 1971. The new film is budgeted at $3 million and production on both the telefilm and 26-part series should wrap in January 2005. ValCom plans to unveil the project at NATPE.
That conniving Grinch has stolen four consecutive nights of airtime on Cartoon Network for the annual "Grinch Week." The perennial animated holiday special DR. SEUSS' HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS airs at 8:00 pm Monday-Thursday, Dec. 1-4, 2003. Dr. Seuss' classic fable portrays the mean old Grinch and his efforts to muzzle the holiday spirits of the happy-go-lucky citizens of Whoville.
Nickelodeon will reintroduce viewers to one of its all-time favorite family of characters, THE RUGRATS in a first-ever spin-off series, ALL GROWN UP. In a two-hour primetime premiere airing 8-10:00 pm on Nov. 29, 2003. The familiar characters will continue their adventures above rug level on the cusp of teen-hood, facing classic and comical pre-teen issues and dilemmas.
Kids WB! kicks off the Thanksgiving viewing holiday in the U.S. when the TEEN TITANS present the networks first annual "Turkey Surprise Day" on Nov. 29, 2003 form 8:00 am to 12:00 pm. The teen superheroes will host the morning event from their T-shaped Titans Towers featuring some of their original home movies including what they did for Thanksgiving, as well as sneak peeks of whats to come on the channel in 2004.
THE BASIL BRUSH SHOW has been sold to German public service broadcaster ZDF. This deal coincides with Basil's first ever Christmas music single, the double A-side Boom Boom and Christmas Slide that will be released on Dec. 15, 2003 in Germany. The songs will be released in the U.K. on Dec. 8. The 16-year-old singing sensation, India Beau, performs on Boom Boom with Basil. The series will also air on the top rated children's digital channel KIKA, starting fall 2004.
For ABCs PETER JENNINGS REPORTING: THE KENNEDY ASSASSINATIONBEYOND CONSPIRACY, the 3D animation was created by Dale K. Myers, an Emmy-winning animator and author, with a BOXX 3DBOXX workstation, running Newteks LightWave 3D software. The workstation contained dual Intel Xeon 3.06 processors, 4GB RAM and a 3Dlabs Wildcat 4 7210 graphics board.
Always out to save the world, now that flying triple treat, the Powerpuff Girls must also save Christmas everywhere in TWAS THE FIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS, a 60-minute holiday special, which was released on DVD Oct. 7, 2003. The Powerpuff Girls holiday special debuts Dec. 12 at 9:00 pm on Cartoon Network.
Raven Moon Entertainment has announced it will launch a nationwide contest to promote it's GINA D'S CUDDLE BUG CHRISTMAS SPECIAL, which is scheduled to air Dec. 21, 2003 on PAX Television. The contest will give 20 kids a Free Christmas Cuddle Bug and one grand prize winner and their family a trip to Orlando, Florida to watch a filming of an episode of GINA D'S KIDS CLUB.
GARY THE RAT, which launched as part of The Strip programming block of adult animated cartoons, returns solo to the airwaves on Spike TV, Dec. 2, 2003 at 11:30 pm and repeats Dec. 7 at 2:30 am. An additional episode premieres Dec. 11 at 11:30 pm and repeats Dec. 14 2:30 am.
The animated feature film, MILLIONAIRE DOGS, saw its U.S. premiere Nov. 15, 2003 at 5:00 pm on Cartoon Network in its Cartoon Theatre slot, with an encore on Nov. 16 at 10:00 am, as well as future airings to be announced.
Universal Home Entertainment Productions (UHEP) has announced that an animated preschool series based on H. A. and Margret Reys children's classic, CURIOUS GEORGE is in development with Imagine Entertainment and PBS-affiliate WGBH Boston. The series is scheduled to debut in early 2006 after the theatrical release of an animated CURIOUS GEORGE feature on November 4, 2005. The show will incorporate early childhood science and math educational content.
The Disney Channel will debut a new animated series DISNEYS DAVE THE BARBARIAN, from Walt Disney Television Animation, in January 2004. Created by Doug Langdale, DISNEYS DAVE THE BARBARIAN follows the comedic adventures of an offbeat family in the Middle Ages as they protect themselves and their kingdom from a world of odd foes. Dave is joined by his primping older sister Candy and his fierce younger sister Fang.
STAR WARS fans may get an animated fix as Cartoon Network starts airing in the U.S. STAR WARS: CLONE WARS, an epic micro-series consisting of 20 animated, three-minute shorts, beginning Nov. 7, 2003 at 8:00 pm.
In keeping in its tradition of parodying news events and topical controversies, South Parks senior citizens rise up in protest when their drivers licenses are revoked in an all-new episode, entitled Grey Dawn, premiering Nov. 5, 2003 at 10:00 pm on Comedy Central. The topic springboards from the incident in July 2003 when an elderly driver drove his out-of-control car into the busy farmers market in Santa Monica, California, killing and injuring many pedestrians and sellers.
Spike TV pulled its animation slate from its schedule in October 2003, putting its new entries GARY THE RAT, STRIPPERELLA and REN & STIMPY'S ADULT PARTY CARTOON on hold until early 2004, it was reported in TELEVISIONWEEK. This prompted industry speculation that the network for men may be retreating from creating animation for an adult audience.
As part of the Las Vegas Comic Con, Playhut Entertainment presented the North American debut of "Chinamation. The collection of animated TV series features China's top independent animators. Playhut hosted free screenings of DECHENG, WAY OF THE WARRIORS, LITTLE MONK, MIGHTY BUNCH and BIRD ISLAND. As well, the company gave attendees the chance to win limited edition DVDs of the "Chinamation" screeners.
The Kids' WB! 2003-2004 fall schedule launch continues with new programming for the season including the comedy-adventure series XIAOLIN SHOWDOWN, the next installments of YU-GI-OH!: ENTER THE SHADOW REALM and POKÉMON: ADVANCED and TEEN TITANS on Saturday mornings, beginning November 1, 2003.
Fox Kids Europe is taking its U.K. channel round the clock starting Nov. 3, 2003, in one of the most competitive kids markets in the world. The channel had been broadcasting from 6:00 am to 10:00 pm. The kids net plans to tap into the young, early risers, as well as those adult fans keen to tune into the channels late night POWER RANGERS, classic 80s animation and Marvel programming.