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.
At NATPE, Monster Distributes has acquired the half-hour special HERMIE AND WORMIE from U.S.-based GlueWorks Entertainment. With voice-over talent from Tim Conway, Don Knotts and Melissa Disney, Max Lucados HERMIE AND WORMIE is the 3D-animated story of two caterpillars who long to escape their dull, boring lives and become something great. Post Central Charlottes Demetre Gionis directed the animation team and RAE Creative supervised all post-production for the show.
Adult animation is certainly making in-roads on the major cable channels. Cartoon Network's Adult Swim block is now 5 nights a week, The New TNN announced that it is launching an adult animation block as it transitions the network toward a male audience, and now AMC is replacing its mainstay of classic films with some original programming, including a new prime-time adult animation series called THE WRONG COAST. Debuting Wednesday, April 2, 2003 at 8:00 pm, THE WRONG COAST is a stop-motion comedy that lampoons well known Hollywood films, television shows and celebrities.
Education Comics will showcase a new cartoon series called THE ADVENTURES OF SCOOTER MCDOOGAL at this year's NATPE. Derived from the popular educational comic book series and targeting kids 6-12 years old, the educational series follows quirky hero McDoogal as he visits famous historical figures throughout the ages on his super rocket-powered scooter that defies the laws of physics. The series, which is executive produced by Diane Russomanno, premiered in 2002 at a holiday benefit in Los Angeles for the Danny Thomas St. Jude's Hospital Fund.
At this year's NATPE, Canada's Portfolio Entertainment will offer a sneak peek at its new animated series CARL SQUARED, currently in development for Canadas Family Channel. The half-hour series is a comedic look at cloning and other cutting-edge scientific techniques that are now a part of everyday life. Portfolio will also bring back its hit series ROBOROACH (52 x 30-minutes), which is currently distributed worldwide outside the U.S. by Fox Kids Europe. The series has recently been renewed for a third season of 26 episodes by Canadas Teletoon.
DAILY VARIETY reports that the Fox network has picked up two more seasons of THE SIMPSONS, giving America's favorite dysfunctional family two more years to wreak havoc on the town of Springfield. The series, which is currently in its 14th season, is still widely acclaimed as one of the best sitcoms on air. It is nominated for a 2002 Golden Globe in the Best Comedy Series category, the first time ever an animated series has been so honored.
Entertainment company channelzero brings a "fowl" new animated series entitled THE FUPDUCK SHOW to NATPE 2003. Series creator and producer Dave Warren describes the offbeat show as "POPEYE meets THE SOPRANOS." The adult comedy is set in the seedy underworld of topless dancehalls. The company will also be screening the brand new animated music video "Girl, What's The Deal," from the series SOSOPHIE, which debuted at NATPE 2002.
Heading into NATPE 2003, Canada's Studio B has announced new shows and deals, and is aiming to attract some international co-production deals during the upcoming trade show. Currently the studio is in development on SIMON STIMPLE (26 x 22-minutes) for TELETOON.
The third season of the animated adventure STATIC SHOCK, set to debut on Kids' WB! January 25, 2003, features super-charged hero Static in a hip new costume as he confronts the villains of Dakota and patrols the city with his friend, and now superhero partner, Richie. Richie's newly acquired superhero identity will be revealed in the episode "Gear," debuting on February 1, 2003.
The heroes in a half-shell return to television this February, as the all-new series TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES premieres on the FOX networks new kids' block FOX BOX, beginning Saturday, February 8, 2003. The new series brings back all the original characters -- the mutant turtles Leonardo, Raphael, Michaelangelo and Donatello, their mentor Master Splinter, and arch nemesis Shredder -- and adds a few new villains and foes.
Seoul, Korea-based computer animation studio DigiArt Production is bringing the first of 26 x half-hour episodes of SEEDIAN, a CG-animated action-adventure series targeting 6 to 11 year-olds. The story of SEEDIAN takes place on a faraway planet called Green Star, whose environment has been left in ruins by an insurgence of mutated toxic mushrooms. Joined by a mystical warrior named Seedian, four young botanical heroes team to find the twelve life-seeds which are needed to save the planet.
To more accurately reflect its core business, licensing company ShoPro USA has changed its name to ShoPro Entertainment. The company will officially unveil its new logo and introduce two new anime shows at NATPE 2003: MEGAMAN BATTLE NETWORK and MIRMO ZIBANG! Both properties began as manga and have evolved into popular TV series in Japan. MEGAMAN BATTLE NETWORK, based on the popular video game series from CAPCOM, is set in a time when everyday amenities are linked to a central computer system.
Granada International will arrive at NATPE with two popular preschool series. Cosgrove Hall Films' ENGIE BENJY (26 x 10-minutes), already a hit in the U.K., features the vibrant and colorful world of Engie the engine doctor and his team as they make things better for sick planes and tired buses.
Vancouver-based Atomic Cartoons will be showcasing their animation wares at NATPE 2003 including two new series with cartoonist Adrian Raeside titled DYSFUNCTION JUNCTION and DOC SHOCK. Humor and bizarre experiments run rampant in DOC SHOCK, a series about a college professor who may be a whacked-out extraterrestrial. DYSFUNCTION JUNCTION follows a group of ill-fated dot-commers in a family that is movin on down instead of up.
Latin American distribution specialist Salsa Entertainment returns to NATPE 2003 with the exclusive Latin American distribution rights to three new animation series: SOMETHING ELSE (26 x 11-minutes), OLLIVERS ADVENTURES (13 x 21-minutes) and METALHEADS (26 x 11-minutes). Based on the award-winning childrens illustrated book of the same title by Kathryn Cave and Chris Riddell, SOMETHING ELSE targets 5 to 8 year-old kids with the unpredictable adventures of long-nosed, orange and furry Something and small, blue and furry Something Else.
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.