With primetime TV animation boiling down to what airs on Fox, four toon comrades battle it out for rating supremacy. THE SIMPSONS finished at #47 with a 4.9 rating/9 share. The debut of FAMILY GUY's new season placed 63rd in its Wednesday 9:30 pm slot, bringing home a 3.8 rating/7 share. At #69, KING OF THE HILL hooked a 3.6 rating/7 share. FUTURAMA placed 81st, racking in a 3.2 rating/7 share. The U.S. universe estimate used for calculating ratings for the broadcast networks (ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, UPN, PAX and WB) is equal to 100% of all TV households.
Shanghai-based Hweilai Studios has announced that Dennis Hopper is set to star in a new special effects heavy TV series, entitled FLATLAND. The EASY RIDER star has agreed to appear in 22 episodes as the mysterious villain Mr. Smith, who controls the show's strange universe. The show follows the adventures of three young adults trapped in a fourth-dimension where time and space crisscross. Hweilai is still looking for a distributor in the States. The studio is spending approximately US$1.75 million per episode.
Nickelodeon has announced that its new Nick Jr. series, OSWALD THE OCTOPUS, will premiere in primetime on Monday, August 20, at 8 pm. The series follows the thoughtful blue octopus (voiced by Fred Savage of THE WONDER YEARS) and his friends Weenie the dog, Henry the penguin and Daisy the flower. The show was created by children's author and illustrator Dan Yaccarino. Nickelodeon and HIT Entertainment are co-producing the series. The acoustic music in OSWALD is done by jazz musician Evan Lurie, a member of the group The Lounge Lizards.
AurenyA, is about to start production on the next three half-hour specials of STORIES FROM THE SEVENTH FIRE for Storytellers Productions Inc. The computer animation and visual effects studio will be responsible for the 3D animated portion of the half-hour animated and live-action productions, currently to be shown on various Canadian broadcasters, including CBC National, Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN), Vision, Access and SCN.
Boomerang, the classic toon channel from Cartoon Network, will launch on Telewest's digital service, in its Supreme Package, beginning mid-July. Casey Harwood, commercial director U.K. & Ireland for Turner Broadcasting said, "The launch of Boomerang means that Telewest Active Digital will carry all of Turner's UK channels. Telewest consistently delivers high penetration for their TV packages and I am sure the addition of Boomerang will help grow this further." James Greville, head of Cartoon Network U.K., said, "Boomerang is the success story of 2001.
Nickelodeon is commissioning three separate pilot concepts for proposed RUGRATS spin-off series. The first of the three spinoff ideas features spunky next-door neighbor Susie Carmichael and troublesome tike Angelica Pickles in pre-school. The second has Susie and her family moving to Atlanta to live with Grandma Carmichael and help her run the family restaurant. The third possible spinoff continues the adventures of the Rugrats as "tweens" as seen in the upcoming 10th anniversary special "All Growed Up," which debuts on July 21 at 8 pm.
TV Land, the spin-off network of Nickelodeon's Nick-At-Nite block, has announced the development of an animated pilot entitled THE ALAN BRADY SHOW, based on Carl Reiner's character on the DICK VAN DYKE SHOW. This pilot is the first plot-driven series in the network's five-year history. The series will be set in the present, 40 years after the debut of THE ALAN BRADY SHOW, and will follow the backstage exploits of creating the TV show. The series will feature Carl Reiner in voice over.
The Disney Channel will premiere its new animated series, STANLEY, in September 2001 as part of a Playhouse Disney block. In addition to airing mornings on the Disney Channel, the series will air in primetime on the recently announced Playhouse Disney network scheduled to launch in early 2002. The interactive, learning-based series was created and executive produced by Jim Jinkins (DOUG) and David Campbell's (PB&J OTTER) Cartoon Pizza Productions, in association with the Disney Channel.
The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences has announced the 53rd annual Primetime Emmy awards nominations. Nominated for "Animated Program Less Than One Hour" are Nickelodeon's AS TOLD BY GINGER "Hello Ginger," Fox's FUTURAMA "Amazon Women in the Mood," Fox's KING OF THE HILL "Chasing Bobby," Fox's THE SIMPSONS "Homer" and Cartoon Network's THE POWERPUFF GIRLS "Moral Decay & Meet the Beat Alls." The only nomination in the "Animated Program One Hour or More" category was Discovery's ALLOSAURUS: A WALKING WITH DINOSAURS SPECIAL.
French production house Teva announced that LETTERS FROM MY WINDMILL, a stop-motion, 8 x 13 television series and feature film, will be co-produced with the Disney Channel in France. The background models will be made at the Disneyland Europe studios, as part of a tourist attraction. Teva also announced the participation of Tonino Guerra in their feature film project 20,000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA. Guerra is a famed Italian screenwriter who worked for Michelangelo Antonioni and Frederico Fellini, among others.
Turner Broadcasting System (TBS) Latin America, Inc. has launched its new, 24-hour animation network, Boomerang. "The launch of Boomerang provides characters like Yogi Bear, Huckleberry Hound, Quick Draw McGraw and Jonny Quest with a new place they can call home," said Barry Koch, vice president of Cartoon Network Latin America and Boomerang Latin America. "Over the last couple of years, as Cartoon Network's programming has evolved, we have had less time to showcase the classic cartoons we all love.
London-based Spider Eye has started production on a new 2D animated TV short based on Geoffrey Chaucer's CANTERBURY TALES entitled THE SQUIRE'S TALE. The project is part of S4C and BBC's continuing animated series depicting the individual tales. THE SQUIRE'S TALE is a tale of the King of Sarai and the special gifts he and his family receive from the King of Arabia and India. Animation, rendering and backgrounds for the film were produced at Jumping Jack Productions Ltd. for transfer to Spider Eye, which provided direction, ink and paint and compositing.
Brisbane, Australia's Blue Rocket Productions has started pre-production on their new 3D animated television series entitled HOOTA & SNOZ. The interstitial series of 26 episodes are being co-produced with RTV Family Entertainment and Pacific Film and Television Commission. The show follows the antics of two creatures that constantly bicker about everything. The characters speak in squeaks and grunts, which breaks down the culture barrier and has allowed the series to be sold into nearly 40 countries since its release at MIPCOM last October.
The Sundance Channel and entertainment company Hypnotic have closed a deal to produce and exclusively distribute a series of one-hour short film programs. Titled SUNDANCE CHANNEL AND HYPNOTIC PRESENT SHORTS STOP, the companies plan to sell the programs both domestically and internationally to outlets such as airlines, broadband channels, international television networks, video-on-demand/pay-per-view services, hotels, and institutions. Over the next year, Hypnotic and Sundance Channel will produce a series of co-branded one-hour episodes.
ITS THE MR. HELL SHOW!, a critically acclaimed animated comedy series from Sextant Entertainment Group, will have its U.S. premiere on SHOWTIME NEXT, the recently launched multiplex channel which targets 18-24 year-olds. The series, which is part of Showtimes ongoing effort to find new, high profile programming for the multiplex, will debut this fall with an option for a second season. ITS THE MR. HELL SHOW! stars Mr. Hell, a sulphurous, sardonic anti-hero with no regard for political correctness, voiced by British comedian/writer Bob Monkhouse.
Six-time Emmy-winner Phil Roman and his Studio City, California-based Phil Roman Entertainment company have signed a co-production deal with Vancouvers Atomic Cartoons to develop and produce ATOMIC BETTY, a new half-hour TV series. Phil Roman commented, All of us at Phil Roman Entertainment are excited about our new association with the young, energetic and talented team at Atomic Cartoons.
Mainframe Entertainment and Fleischer Studios, Inc. have formed a collaboration that will yield a new television series based on BETTY BOOP, the dazzling "Queen of Cartoons." Mainframe will also be working with Fleischer and King Features Syndicate on launching a significant licensing and merchandising campaign, with a new video series, interactive games and collectible items.
Our SOUTH PARK friends will soon join a select group of television pioneers when Cartman says the S word on the first of eight new episodes. The shows fifth season premier is scheduled to air on Comedy Central Wednesday, June 20, 2001 at 10 pm. Other upcoming episodes include Chefs meteoric rise from an unassuming cafeteria cook to international fame and fortune as a culinary expert.In another, very special episode. Cartman gets pubic hair.
On Sunday, July 1 at 10 pm, Cartoon Network's TOONHEADS will look at the many Looney Tunes World War II cartoons. "The Wartime Cartoons" will feature clips from over 100 cartoons including the 26 episodes of PRIVATE SNAFU, which were written by Theodore Geisel, i.e. Dr. Seuss. Many of these cartoons show Porky Pig, Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Tom and Jerry, Superman and Popeye heading into battle against the nation's enemies. The special presentation will also air four rarely seen classic examples of wartime cartoons in their entirety.
Universal's SITTING DUCKS, a new CGI children's animated series, has been licensed in multiple international territories. ITV has secured rights to the show in the U.K., with other licenses going to France's TF1, Australia's ABC, Mexico's Televisa S.A., Portugal's TVI and Star TV in Greece. Cable rights to SITTING DUCKS have been acquired by Canada's YTV and by the Nickelodeon Channel in Australia. In the Netherlands, the show will be shown exclusively on the SBS group of channels.
Last month Cartoon Network set new May total day ratings and delivery network records, posting double-digit ratings and delivery growth across households and all key kids demographics. Total day ratings grew 10% in households (1.1) as well as 10% for tweens 9-14 (1.1) and kids 2-11 (2.2), and 19% in kids 6-11 (1.9). Total day delivery increased 18% in households (767,000), 26% in tweens 9-14 (191,000), 31% in kids 6-11 (315,000) and 28% in kids 2-11 (616,000).
Taipei-based SMEC Media & Entertainment has acquired the animated TV rights for Wang Du-Lu's CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON book series on which the hit Sony Classics feature was based. The deal with Vista Publishing Group also gives the Chinese production house the right to produce an animated feature and home video. SMEC is currently pitching the idea around Hollywood. Alexis Wallrich, head of SMEC's U.S. offices in Pasadena, said to Variety, "The source material is a gold mine of fantastic stories and characters.
Nickelodeon has announced its new programming schedule for the summer. Beginning Monday, July 2, at 8 pm, SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS will join the primetime line-up. SpongeBob will host Nickelodeon's annual "Summer Splash," a daily, three-hour animation marathon beginning Monday, June 18, airing weekday afternoons from 2-5 pm. The "Summer Splash" line-up will include RUGRATS on Mondays; ROCKETPOWER on Tuesdays; THE WILD THORNBERRYS on Wednesdays; HEY ARNOLD! on Thursdays; and CATDOG on Fridays. Starting Monday, June 18, Nick Jr.
Leading independent animation house Film Roman has signed a deal to provide animation for the upcoming season of THE MAN SHOW on Comedy Central. The North Hollywood-based company will create graphics, title cards and over 30 animated bumpers for the show. The 5-10 second bumpers feature THE MAN SHOW mascot, Uncle Phil in various "manly" situations like barbecuing and sleeping on the couch.
Hoping that the worlds television audience pays more attention than the movie-going audience has, the folks controlling the rights to L. Ron Hubbard's novel BATTLEFIELD EARTH are bringing the epic science fiction adventure to TV. Hollywood-based Author Services, Inc. (ASI), international representatives for all L.