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."
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.
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.
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.
Cartoon Network Latin America has announced its 2003 line-up, which includes the exclusive fifth season launch of POKEMON, the launch of two new Cartoon Network originals and all-new episode premieres of eight Cartoon Cartoons, including DEXTER'S LABORATORY and THE POWERPUFF GIRLS. Cartoon Network LA is also set to host its 10th birthday celebration and kick off the fifth season of COPA TOON, the virtual interactive soccer tournament.
New York-based animation studio The Ink Tank has created four minutes of animation for ENCUENTRO, a two-hour documentary produced by Ninguna Ciencia for Puerto Rican television. The documentary features interviews with and music from several well-known Puerto Rican musicians including actor/songwriter Ruben Bladés. The animation is interspersed throughout the program and follows the life of a fictional musician from conception to the afterlife.
Showing great faith in its new line-up of original series, Kids' WB! has already announced it will order second seasons for freshmen series OZZY & DRIX, ¡MUCHA LUCHA! and WHAT'S NEW SCOOBY-DOO, all from Warner Bros. Animation, plus new seasons of YU-GI-OH! and POKEMON from 4Kids Productions, Inc. for the upcoming 2003-2004 schedule. In making the announcement, Donna Friedman Meir, executive VP, Kids' WB! said, "These early pick-ups are testament to our confidence and appreciation of the wonderful creative teams behind each of these shows.
Mill TV recently completed visual effects production for PYRAMID, a 50-minute special for the BBC. The show combines live-action with computer-generated pyramids and backgrounds to tell the story of the great pyramid at Giza through the eyes of the men who built it. The animation team at Mill TV used both SOFTIMAGE|XSI v.2.0 software and a beta version of SOFTIMAGE|XSI v.3.0 to create a historically accurate depiction of this monumental architectural endeavor, replete with massive crowd scenes.
The original, friendly neighborhood Spider-Man will swing back into town, complete with a new makeover thanks to Buena Vista International Television (BVI-TV), which plans to restore the 1967 SPIDER-MAN animated series. In the restoration process, all episodes of the 52 x half-hour series will be re-mastered to a high definition format from the original 35mm film negatives. The episodes original soundtrack, including the memorable title song, will be renovated with a new music and effects track added.
Walt Disney Television Animation Special Projects and ESPN have teamed to bring to life the syndicated comic strip IN THE BLEACHERS. Disney has created a series of 15-second animated shorts based on the Steve Moore sports strip that will run during select ESPN Original Entertainment programming. The shorts mark the network's initial foray into animation and feature a witty, ever-changing cast of characters in situations centered around athletics.
Sunwoo Entertainment USA plans to turn BOOKASHKIS, Mikhail Aldashin's award-winning short film about insects, into a series. At MIPCOM 2002, the Korean-based studio finalized an agreement with Aldashin and producer Chuck Swenson to develop and create a 52 x 11-minute animated series featuring the trio of bugs. Sasha, Simmons and Shmutz are the BOOKASHKIS, tiny insects living in the big city. They have their work cut out for them trying to stay alive in an apartment inhabited by a rotating set of human beings, all of whom seem hell-bent on the bugs' ultimate destruction.
To highlight a special midterm elections broadcast from Washington, D.C., Comedy Central's THE DAILY SHOW hosted by Jon Stewart, commissioned J. J. Sedelmaier Productions to produce a cartoon parody of perennial favorite SCHOOLHOUSE ROCK that demonstrates how the midterms work. It is slated to air on the Tuesday, October 29, 2002 broadcast. Titled "Daily Show Rock," the three-and-a-half minute cartoon follows a friendly grandfather who goes to the polls to explain how the midterms work to his inquisitive grandson Jimmy.
Heading home from MIPCOM, Illuminated Films' half-hour animated special WAR GAME is boasting sales in a number of territories. Deals concluded in Cannes included Teletoon in Canada, Television Suisse Romande in Switzerland and NHK/Mico for Japan. The short has already sold to FR3 in France, SVT in Sweden, YLE in Finland and Channel Four in the UK. Most of these countries intend to screen WAR GAME on their national remembrance holidays. Based on the book by Michael Foreman, WAR GAME is the story of three English boys who are members of the same football (soccer) team.
Bardel Entertainment is going into production on nine more episodes of its cross-platform Flash animated series THE MR. DINK SHOW. The four original shorts were broadcast on CTVs Comedy Network, and shown online at AtomFilms.com. CTV has committed to the nine follow-up episodes, which will be available in spring 2003. THE MR. DINK SHOW was recently honored with the Grand Jury Prize for Animation in the New York International Independent Film & Video Festival. The show, created and directed by Ron Crown, follows the eternally optimistic yet blissfully unaware Mr.