Brett Merhar's cult comic strip FREE FOR ALL will be brought to life in a new animated series by Showtime Networks, in association with independent animation studio Film Roman to debut in summer 2003 in the U.S. The series of seven episodes follows Johnny and Clay, the strip's cynical, dysfunctional bestfriends, struggling with out-of the ordinary daily woes with Clay's sidekick, Angus, a strung-out ferret.
Anime fans should rejoice that ASTRO BOY will be getting a new animated series from Sony Pictures Television based on the original 50-year-old series from Manga master, Osamu Tezuka. Aimed at kids 6-11, Sony Picture Television International sales execs will launch the new ASTRO BOY at MIP-TV this month. The show continues Tezuka's comics-to-TV tale of a scientist who builds a robot boy after the death of his own son.
The Disney Channel U.S. is the latest in a raft of major broadcasters to prebuy THE KOALA BROTHERS, the first project from a new production house, Spellbound Entertainment. London-based Spellbound was launched in 2002 by the ex-HIT executive, Peter Curtis and ex-Endemol executive, Nick Barrington. Produced by Famous Flying Films for Spellbound, the stop-frame model animation series follows the adventures of Frank and Buster, two koalas on a mission to help others in need in the Australian outback.
STUART LITTLE premieres on HBO Family in an all-new 2D animated series Saturday, March 1 at 8:00 am and replays at 1:30 the same day, as well as on the following Tuesdays and Thursdays. Sony Pictures Television and Red Wagon are producing the half-hour series of 13 episodes, based upon the book by E.B. White. The series features the adventures of the three-inch tall mouse (voiced by Hugh Laurie) who has been adopted by the Little family. Other characters featured in the series are Stuart's brother George; Mr. and Mrs.
HEY MONIE will reach a new audience as the series produced by Soup2Nuts debuts as the first animated comedy on BET (Black Entertainment Television) Tuesday, March 4 at 8 pm. The first network animated series based on an African-American woman and her friends started as a short on Oxygen's X-CHROMOSOME. Oxygen has been airing it as a series of shorts and has partnered up with BET and Soup2Nuts to turn it into a half-hour program. Oxygen will also be airing the shows in summer 2003.
The strategy for FOX BOX during the busy network upfront ad selling season is to make customized presentations for clients and advertising agencies instead of doing a mass meeting according to Daniel Barnathan, EVP of sales, marketing and promotion. AWN caught up with the marketing veteran in Los Angeles. Based in the FOX BOX/4Kids headquarters in New York City, Barnathan will be on the road through May, selling space for the programming block his company airs on the Fox TV network on Saturday mornings in the U.S.
Kids' WB! will add three new animated series to its Saturday morning and weekday slates with shows to roll out throughout the year, starting in summer 2003. The network will be sharing more series with sister cablecaster Cartoon Network and is combining the ad sales units of each it was announced Tuesday, February 25, 20003, at the joint Kids' WB! and Cartoon Network upfront sales presentations in New York City.
On February 24, 2003 Cartoon Network kicks off a week of some of the best action/anime series starring giant fighting machines in TOONAMI'S first Giant Robot Week, culminating with a special presentation of the acclaimed animated feature THE IRON GIANT on Friday, February 28, 2003, at 8:00 pm ET/PT. DAI-GUARD and NADESICO, which have never aired on U.S. television, are part of the anime series featured Monday, Feb. 24 Friday, Feb. 28 from 4-5:00 pm ET/PT each day.
Animation chat rooms are buzzing with the news that Cartoon Network has partnered with Lucasfilm Ltd. to create STAR WARS: CLONE WARS, an interstitial series of 20 animated shorts that will begin airing this fall and continue into 2004. This was part of an overall announcement Cartoon Network made when it unveiled its new 2003 programming slate February 20, 2003.
FUNKY COPS by AnteFilms, is the latest in a growing roster of French-made animated series to be broadcast on a U.S. network. 4Kids Entertainment acquired the 26x30 series to air in the FOX BOX Saturday morning kids block. FUNKY COPS features a pair of cops who turn into disco stars in '70s San Francisco. The show was created by brothers Christophe and Benoit Di Sabatino. It is produced in AnteFilms' digital studios based in Levallois and Angouleme.
The upfront season has started with Cartoon Network first out of the toon gate as it unveiled its substantial new programming slate for 2003 in New York City. All the networks are embarking upon the annual dog and pony show (upfronts) to attract potential advertisers and sponsors to support their season slates. Highlights include three new series, 20 shorts with Lucasfilm Ltd. and new episodes of returning series that will provide more than 400 new half-hours of programming.
Vintage comic strip hero Dick Tracy is being adapted as a new animated series by Film Roman, which signed a development deal with Classic Media. This announcement follows on the heels of former AOL Time Warner exec Robert Friedman's appointment as president of Classic Media (AF February 18, 2003). Friedman said his mandate was to take his company's comic characters into the television and film mediums.
This Summer Kids' WB! has added a new anime series, MEGAMAN: NT WARRIOR, to air in the U.S. Saturday mornings this summer 2003. Currently airing in Japan on TV Tokyo since March 2002, MEGAMAN: NT WARRIOR is a top-rated animated television series produced by ShoPro Entertainment. "We are excited to be working once again with the creative team that helped bring POKÉMON to Kids' WB!," said John Hardman, SVP at Kids' WB! "The newest incarnation of this beloved and time-proven character is sure to captivate kids and delight audiences everywhere.
THE VENTURE BROS., a new animated special from Noodlesoup Productions, premieres Sunday, February 16 at 11:30 pm on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim block. It's a spoof of the old-fashioned JONNY QUEST cartoons from the mid-sixties, as well as THE HARDY BOYS and TOM SWIFT boys' adventure novels of the past. With elements of spy and science fiction, the Venture brothers -- Hank and Dean Venture -- travel with their father, renowned scientist Doctor Venture, to New York for the unveiling of a fantastic new invention at the United Nations.
Watch Bart Simpson scrawl his 300th "I will not" lesson at his school chalkboard this Sunday, February 16, 2003 at 8:00 pm on FOX as THE SIMPSONS will air its historic 300th episode during a special 90-minute presentation. "Barting Over" shows Bart splitting from the family when he discovers Homer spent money Bart unknowingly earned to pay off a blackmailer to get back photos of Homer dangling Bart as a baby over the railing of a hotel balcony.
London-based Elephant Prods. is expanding its slate of animated projects it will take to MIP-TV. Heading the slate is WAVERLY A HAMSTER OF SOME IMPORTANCE. The 2D series follows the adventures of the Wilson family and daughter Jessicas most unusual pet, a quirky hamster that speaks only to Jessica. The series is written by Roger Planer whose previous credits include, ROMUALD THE REINDEER for the BBC, THE NEW MAGIC ROUNDABOUT and HILLTOP HOSPITAL. The companys animation studio, Elephant Egg, is producing the show for kids 4-8.
Bibi Blocksberg is one of Germany's most popular and enduring characters. The story of the mischievous little witch has been adapted to a radio play and an animated series, which currently airs in Germany on ZDF. The 14-part series and an animated Christmas special has also been sold to other countries, and pre-production has begun on new episodes at Berlin-based KIDDINX Studios. Bibi has also gained fame in a live-action feature film, which premiered in Germany on September 26, 2002 and has since been seen by over 2 million people, making it Germany's most successful film of 2002.
This Valentine's Day, Cartoon Network premieres a new 30-minute special starring its pompadoured ladies' man, Johnny Bravo. IT'S VALENTINE'S DAY, JOHNNY BRAVO features a bevy of guest stars, including Maureen McCormick (THE BRADY BUNCH), Molly Shannon (SNL), Joey McIntyre (*N'SYNC) and singer/game show host Donny Osmond, along with series regulars Johnny, Mama and Little Suzy. It's Valentine's Day, and Johnny's Mama has set him up on a blind date with a beautiful and smart woman named Heather.
EM.TV has completed another big sale for its children's animation series THE WORLD OF TOSH. Fox Kids UK has acquired 26 x 22-minute episodes of the series, scheduled to air in the UK in October 2003. THE WORLD OF TOSH follows Tosh, a nine-year-old Swedish boy whose one goal in life is to get his first kiss.
Cartoon Network is offering a creative pre-NBA all-star game programming option this weekend. On February 9, 2003, from 12:00-6:00 pm, 12 NBA players will tell viewers about their favorite cartoon characters and introduce some of the best cartoons featuring those characters in a special mini-marathon leading up to tip-off of the NBA all-star game on sister network TNT.
The new animated series CLONE HIGH, which airs on MTV in the U.S., is already causing controversy, but not with activists who oppose human cloning, rather with the people of India, who object to the series' depiction of independence leader Mohandas K. Gandhi.
TV-Loonland has signed a 52-episode agreement with 4Kids Entertainment for animation series THE CRAMP TWINS. 4Kids Entertainment will serve as the exclusive merchandise licensing agent and representative of television broadcast and home video rights for the series within the United States. 4Kids Entertainment's ever-growing portfolio includes well-known children's properties such as POKÉMON, TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES and YU-GI-OH!
In a deal with Entertainment Rights, U.K. broadcaster CBBC has commissioned 26 x 15-minute episodes and 4 half-hour direct-to-video specials of the classic kids' show POSTMAN PAT. Since its original creation in 1981, POSTMAN PAT has been a regular series on CBBC as well as having been seen in over 60 countries over the past 20 years. The new episodes will introduce the first new character in nearly a decade -- train station attendant Mr. Bain, who is of Indian origin.
Cartoon Network has acquired 26 episodes of .HACK//SIGN and added the Japanese animated series to its Saturday lineup of action/adventure programming, starting Saturday, February 1, 2003 at 3 pm (ET, PT). .HACK//SIGN (typically referred to as "dot hack") takes place in "The World," an immersive virtual gaming environment of the future where millions of players log on each day to test their skill in virtual adventures and battles.
VTV:Varsity Television, the recently launched 24-hour network exclusively dedicated to teenagers, has announced its spring 2003 programming lineup. VTV aims to fill the gap in youth programming between Nickelodeon (kids 3 to 12) and MTV (adults 18 to 34) by delivering a wide variety of original programming that is compelling and relevant to today's teens.