Check your local listings for the one-hour documentary INDEPENDENT SPIRITS: THE FAITH & JOHN HUBLEY STORY produced by the Independent Television Service (ITVS) and scheduled to air on PBS in June 2002. Directed by Sybil DelGaudio, INDEPENDENT SPIRITS looks at the careers of Academy Award-winning animators John and Faith Hubley, at their contributions to the development of animation as an art form and at their effort to remain independent in a field that is largely commercial.
Pay TV channel BLACK STARZ will premiere Urban Entertainment's animated comedy series UNDERCOVER BROTHER. All 12 episodes will be presented consecutively beginning at 8 pm (ET/PT), Thursday, May 30, 2002 with additional air times throughout the month. The series will debut on the eve of Universal Pictures release of the feature film UNDERCOVER BROTHER, starring Eddie Griffin. The original online series provided the basis for the live-action feature film directed by Malcolm Lee.
Can't wait for the new Spider-Man television series? Well, revisit some classic episodes from past series during ABC Family's "Spider-Man Through the Years" block marathon. Airing Memorial Day weekend in the U.S. (May 25-27, 2002), each block will showcase Spider-Man, his evil nemeses the Green Goblin, Doctor Octopus and Mysterio and superhero friends like the X-Men and the Incredible Hulk, while the marathon's interstitial moments will feature trivia about the Spider-Man character.
This Memorial Day weekend, Cartoon Network's series TOONHEADS offers a look at what happened when animated characters like Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck and Popeye were enlisted by the war effort in TOONHEADS: THE WARTIME CARTOONS. While soldiers were fighting overseas, cartoon characters kept Americans laughing on the home front, finding humor in such wartime realities as energy conservation, rationing, recycling scrap iron for munitions and the widespread fear of enemy bombing raids on American cities. They also served in an official capacity when Warner Bros.
Film Roman, Inc. has acquired the television rights to the comic book series, DEITY, by creators Karl Altstaetter and Robert Napton, from LA-based media company Hyperwerks Entertainment. Film Roman plans to develop DIETY into an animated primetime television series. Set in the Los Angeles of the future, a seemingly normal teenage girl named Jamie discovers she is to become a "Deity," or ruler of the universe. Jamie joins with three adventurers to fight her nemesis, Ma'Shiva. The comic book debuted in 1998 and is currently distributed by Image Comics.
'60s cult series THUNDERBIRDS has found a new home. Cable network TechTV has acquired the rights to all 32 THUNDERBIRDS episodes, which have been digitally re-mastered with Dolby Surround Sound. The network will air the series beginning in summer 2002. The classic puppet-animated series created by Gerry Anderson debuted in the U.K. in 1965 and has consistently aired around the globe since its debut. Set in the year 2065, THUNDERBIRDS recounts the adventures of the Tracy Brothers, members of the top secret International Rescue organization, on their quest to save Earth.
4Kids Entertainment has announced the fall line-up for its recently acquired block of kids' programming on the Fox network. The new Saturday morning kids block, dubbed FOX BOX, will air between 8:00 am and 12 noon beginning September 14, 2002. The line-up is geared towards the key young boys demo, and includes the debut of a new series based on Nintendo's video game star KIRBY and a 21st century update to the '80s classic TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES.
4Kids Entertainment, Inc. will produce 26 episodes of a new animated TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES television series. The new NINJA TURTLES series is scheduled to premiere in the first quarter of 2003 on the Fox Saturday Morning Block programmed by 4Kids. In addition to producing the television series, 4Kids will also serve as the exclusive merchandise licensing agent for the TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES property worldwide. The TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES were created in May 1984 when Peter Laird and Kevin Eastman published a forty-page black and white comic book.
DIC Entertainment has licensed its package of original feature length animated movies, 39 films in all, to Nickelodeon for broadcast on Sunday afternoons beginning in October 2002. The deal represents the biggest production order DIC has had in its twenty year history and calls for DIC to deliver the 39 movies over three years. "We have put together a team of incredibly talented award winning writers, producers and directors," said DIC CEO Andy Heyward.
Production is underway at Sony's Culver City studios on MTV's animated series SPIDER-MAN. Now in college, Peter Parker must juggle academics, work as a Web designer for the Daily Bugle, his relationship with Mary Jane Watson, fighting super-villains and criminals and maintain his secret identity as Spider-Man. The series is being created in CG but will have a classic animation look, and feature a seemingly realistic neon lit city.
Distribution outfit peppermint has struck a first-time deal with Columbia Tri-Star International Television (CTIT) and BBC Choice for the new adult animation series PETEY & JAYDEE GO EXPLORING. The series of 52 x 45-second vignettes follow the adventures of two quirky aliens as they take viewers on an irreverent joyride. CTIT plans to air the series on Japan's all-anime cable-satellite channel Animax. They also acquired all television, merchandising and broadband distribution rights for Sony Entertainment Television (SET) in Latin America.
The Apocalypse is coming in 30 minutes, but ever-resourceful hero Sam has built an atomic resistant Ark in his backyard. While he and his family watch from the safety of the Ark, war, pestilence and disease rain down without so much as denting the body of the great boat. So goes the plot of THE ARK, a creation of Richard Condie (THE BIG SNIT) in association with Nelvana. This half-hour animated pilot is scheduled to air on Canada's CBC in fall 2002. No word yet on whether or not this Ark will continue to have further adventures as a series.
Last October, MIPCOM 2001 Personality of the Year, MTV's Tom Freston, stated in response to the events of September 11th and the diminished attendance of the market, "TV will bounce back." This year's MIPTV, which took place in Cannes from April 15 to 19, 2002, showed strong evidence that the television community is on the way to recovery. Organizer Reed Midem reported over 2,600 buyers from 1,052 companies attended the market and representing an increased number of buyer companies, up 20% from last year.
Canadian CGI animation house Mainframe Entertainment and ANGELA ANACONDA creator Honest Entertainment, announced at MIP-TV that they have joined forces to create the new collage animation series FAMILY VALUES. Created and written by Tom Brady (THE SIMPSONS, THE CRITIC) and Joanna Ferrone (co-creator of FIDO DIDO and ANGELA ANACONDA) the series will be produced using collage illustration made from cut paper with photographs used to portray each character's face.
German distributor EM.TV has sold Jim Henson's live-action puppet series, THE HOOBS (250 x 24-minutes), to the German public broadcaster ZDF and the children's channel KI.KA. The show is scheduled to air on ARD/ZDF-owned KI.KA in October 2002, with broadcast on ZDF in Spring 2003. THE HOOBS currently airs on Channel 4 and Nick Jr. in the UK, and the franchise reaches over 40 territories worldwide with a combination of broadcast license and consumer product deals. EM.TV holds comprehensive European rights to the series.
Once again, a cast-off from The WB has found a home on Cartoon Network. First CN picked up BABY BLUES and now they've nabbed MISSION HILL, a series about the quirky inhabitants of the titular fictional neighborhood. The show will debut on Sunday, May 5, 2002 at 11:00 p.m. (ET/PT) during Adult Swim, Cartoon Network's block of animation aimed at adults 18-34. MISSION HILL originally aired on The WB in the U.S. during the 1999-2000 TV season. Cartoon Network has acquired all 13 episodes, seven of which have never been aired in the United States.
New York-based DMA Animation has again teamed with producers WGBH-TV (Boston, MA) and Sirius Thinking, Ltd. (New York, NY), to create ten new animated shorts for the PBS series BETWEEN THE LIONS. Eight of the two- to three-minute animations will be featured in the third season of half-hour episodes, scheduled to roll out nationally in September 2002, while the remaining two are planned for the 2003 season. BETWEEN THE LIONS is geared toward children four to seven years old and blends animation with puppets and live-action.
Canadian-based entertainment company Cinar Corporation has reached an agreement with the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) to produce 16 new episodes of the preschool series, CAILLOU. The new episodes, to air on PBS beginning January 2003, join the existing 40 episodes currently airing Monday through Friday on PBS KIDS. Based on the series of best-selling children's books, CAILLOU is created using a combination of animation, puppets and live-action, and chronicles the adventures of a little boy as he encounters the ups and downs of four-year-old life.
This week at MIP-TV, Gullane Entertainment announced that it has begun production on 78 new five-minute episodes of THOMAS & FRIENDS, augmenting the property's current library of 130 episodes. Produced at Shepperton Studios in England, the new episodes will begin airing in September 2002 on Nick Jr. in the UK. In the U.S., these episodes will be released direct-to-video by Anchor Bay Entertainment. The first U.S. release will be available September 24, 2002 on VHS and DVD.
At MIP-TV 2002, TV-Loonland has struck a first time deal with Italian state broadcaster RAI for several shows. RAIs free TV channels RAI 2 and RAI 3 will air CRAMP TWINS (26 x 30 minutes) in 2002 while LITTLE GHOSTS (39 x 7 minutes), PETTSON AND FINDUS (13 x 13 minutes) and CLIFFORD (40 x 30 minutes) are expected to air in 2003. Additionally, RAIs pay-TV channel RAISAT will broadcast CLIFFORD, LITTLE GHOSTS and CONNIE THE COW (52 x 7 minutes) in 2002.
Fox Kids Europe (FKE) is at MIP-TV this week and has already acquired 26 half-hour episodes of the new animated series ROBOROACH and 52 episodes of the animated series HAMTARO. ROBOROACH, starring a cockroach superhero named Rube who can morph into almost anything, and Reg, Rube's street-smart big brother, is a co-production between RTV Family Entertainment AG and Canadian producer-distributor Portfolio Entertainment.
Kids animation producer-distributor TV-Loonland will present a new slate of animation programming at MIP-TV 2002. Leading the Loonland catalogue is the launch of REBOOT - SEASON IV. Animated by Mainframe Entertainment, Inc. REBOOT was the first ever half-hour computer animated TV series produced. Originally seen on North American television in September 1994 on YTV (Canada) and on ABC Television (USA), the series remains one of YTV's top-rated programs and can be seen in the daily Toonami block on the Cartoon Network.
Production and distribution company France Animation is attending MIP-TV with a slate of new animated series for children of all ages. Heading the slate is new animated sitcom DR. DOG. Aimed at children aged 6 to 10 years old, this 52 x 13-minute series, co-produced with Silver Lining Productions, is based on the irreverent book by British author Babette Cole. Their documentary series INSECTOSCOPE makes its international debut at MIP-TV as well. Geared toward 6 to 12 year-olds, INSECTOSCOPE (52 x 6-minutes) is a co-production with France's MC4 and TF1 and RAI Italy.
Independent animation house Alphanim has partnered with Canadian production company Nelvana on THE DELTA STATE (26 x 30-minutes). The show, which focuses on four 20-something East Berliners with supernatural powers, was originally announced in 2001 as a co-production with Cinar, but fell through when Cinar Europe closed its doors in February 2002. With Nelvana now on board, the series is scheduled to deliver in fall 2003. Alphanim has also committed to CREEP SCHOOL (26 x 26-minutes) a co-production with Sweden's Happy Life and France 3. The series is also scheduled for 2003.
The first two episodes of the BRB Internacional and Telecinco (Spain) co-production GLADIATOR ACADEMY (26 x 30 minutes) will be available at MIP-TV 2002. The show is targeted to 6 to 10 year-olds and follows the adventures of a family of young gladiators living on a Mediterranean island during the Roman Empire. Another BRB animated series making its debut at MIP-TV is THE INVISIBLE MAN (26 x 30 minutes), which is currently in pre-production. This series combines 2D and 3D animation and is geared to 8 to 12 year-olds.