Head Gear Animation creative partners Steve Angel and Julian Grey have begun the creation of five minutes of animation for SESAME WORKSHOP. Working with Frank Campagna and Lisa Annunziata of the New York-based international division of SESAME STREET, the Head Gear directors will create original stories that fall within the SESAME STREET curriculum goals. Angel and Grey will develop their own pieces, but they have contracted directors Drew Lightfoot, Neil Burns and Isaac King to round out the five minutes.
The Childrens BBC (CBBC) has announced the acquisition of 52 episodes of BKNs half-hour animated series UBOS (formerly ULTIMATE BOOK OF SPELLS). CBBC plans to begin airing the series in Fall 2001. The story begins when friends Cassy, Gus and Verne discover the Ultimate Book Of Spells, which takes them on a journey to the Earths center, where they must use their special powers to thwart the evil wizard, Zarlak.
Fox Kids Latin America, the pan-regional children's channel, will be airing a series of special animation viewer packages in June, 2001, including "Insomnio," a late-night block of both animation and live-action classic television series, as well as "Digithon," a special marathon screening of every episode of the hit "Digimon" anime series. "Insomnio," which debuts on June 11, will showcase everything from the best of Marvel animation series to classic WOODY WOODPECKER cartoons.
Fox Kids Network has announced that the new animated series MEDABOT will be joining their Fall 2001 lineup. Fox has ordered 26 episodes of the show, being produced by Nelvana Limited, in association with NAS/Kodansha. The series is set in 2122 A.D., when every kid owns a high performance Medabot, a pet robot with artificial intelligence and strength exclusively controlled by its owner. Kids compete with each other in Robattles pitting Medabot against Medabot. MEDABOT sets the standard for robot-themed action series, said Toper Taylor, president, Nelvana Communications.
Animagic Entertainment has begun production on BALLOONATIKS, a new comic-action adventure CGI series being produced by The Krislin Company. The first episode is slated to show in October 2001 at MIPCOM. According to series producer Walk Kubiak (TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES, THE SMURFS), We have successfully developed a 3D look that challenges in quality and richness any high-end CGI-produced feature film, while working within the constraints of a typical Saturday morning budget. Grammy award-winner Ray Parker Jr. composed the theme song and will provide music for the series.
Sony Pictures Family Entertainment has begun production on HAROLD AND THE PURPLE CRAYON, a new animated series scheduled for a December 2001 premier on HBO Family. Academy Award nominee Sharon Stone is set to narrate the series. Based on the classic children's book by Crocket Johnson, the simple characters and situations will be illustrated using cel animation. The series will feature all new characters and situations, as well as those which have appeared in the first book.
According to an article in VARIETY, the six stars of THE SIMPSONS are signing deals worth a reported $100,000 per episode. The new contracts reportedly will pay Dan Castellaneta, Hank Azaria, Harry Shearer, Yeardley Smith, Julie Kavner and Nancy Cartwright $2.2 million per season for the next two seasons, with an option for a third season of 22 episodes at $125,000 per episode. Currently, each of the actors makes $70,000 per episode, a significant jump up from the $25,000 per episode they were making in 1998, when they threatened to leave the show unless they received substantial raises.
On Sunday, May 13, Cartoon Network will present JOHNNY BRAVO'S MOTHER'S DAY MAMA-THON, a 7-hour tribute to the Lady Who Brought Us the Sultan of Self Regard, His Mama. During the Mama-Thon, which runs from 12-7 pm (ET/PT), viewers can witness the many facets of Mama's personality, including disciplinarian (she wields a paddle in PREP SCHOOL JOHNNY), protector (leading a team of commandos to the mall to rescue her beloved son in LAW AND DISORDER), and even diva (Mama does a Marilyn Monroe impression in DUDE RANCH DOOFUS).
International television program distributor Rai Trade has announced the launch of THE ADVENTURES OF MARCO AND GINO, a new Eurovision series produced by the European Broadcasting Union (EBU). Budgeted for 10 million Euros, the series is co-funded by nine members of the Geneva-based EBU: BBC (UK), France Television (France), TVE (Spain), RTP (Portugal), RTBF (Belgium), SSR (Switzerland), ZDF (Germany), ORF (Austria) and Rai (Italy), as well as non-member France Animation. Rai Trade will have distribution rights to all countries except those of the other eight co-producers.
UNDERGRADS, a new animated series, will premier on MTV this Sunday, April 22, at 8 pm. Co-produced by Torontos Decode and MTV Animation, the series launch also includes a Website featuring Flash animated series out-takes, interactive animated games, character home pages, downloadable applications, weekly video clips, message boards and a chat area. Decode, which also owns the international television and video distribution rights, is launching a companion UNDERGRADS Web page for the international market.
In celebration of the tenth anniversary of the series, Nickelodeon will be broadcasting a special viewer's all-time 10 favorites RUGRATS marathon on Saturday, April 21, from 4:30 pm - 8 pm ET/PT. During the months of January through March, the network aired every episode of the series every produced. Viewers were invited to rate each episode on Nick.com. Voter tallies will determine the top 10 episodes. The top 10 will air in order, with the all-time favorite episode airing immediately preceeding the Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards.
Leading independent animation house Film Roman announced five new half-hour, animated properties at MIP on Monday, April 2, 2001. The new series include John Waters' PATENT LEATHER DREAMHOUSE, Norman Lear's 'TIL THE FAT LADY SINGS, HAIRBALLS, ZIPPY THE PINHEAD and TRIPPING THE RIFT. According to Peter Schankowitz, president of programming and development, "Our MIP slate reflects Film Roman's ability to partner with well known talent like John Waters and Norman Lear, as well as to develop our own properties in-house.
Cartoon Network scored the highest first-quarter prime time ratings and delivery performance of its history, landing in fourth place among all ad-supported cable networks, with a 1.7 prime household rating. The January-March '01 quarter also saw the largest net gain (177,000) in total day delivery among all ad-supported cable networks. Additionally, the network charted double-digit increases among households and all key demographics for total day rating and delivery, earning fourth place for the quarter, with a 1.1 total day rating.
Bolstered by year-to-year quarterly growth across all kid and tween demos and strong performances of the four new series launched since January, Nickelodeon was the number-one basic cable network in the first quarter of 2001. The network averaged a 4.5/24 (1.4 million average kid viewers) among its primary kids 2-11 demo during the "Kids Day," up 3 percent in rating and 8 percent in delivery as compared to last year.
DIRECTV Latin America announced on Friday, April 6, 2001 the official debut of the Disney Channel to all DIRECTV subscribers in Brazil. The Disney Channel is a new, 24-hour Portuguese television network with entertainment for kids and families created specially for the Brazilian market. The Disney programming block includes exclusive and original productions, a two-hour live, daily show, movies, animated and live-action series, concerts and special events.
John Kricfalusi's WEEKEND PUSSY HUNT is just one of many Webisodes scheduled to be shown this coming Sunday, April 15, on the premier of MTV DOWNLOADED. Hosted by Gimpy, one of the stars of the upcoming MTV animation series UNDERGRADS, MTV DOWNLOADED will showcase a number of Webtoons, including Joe Cartoon's SUPERFLY II, Aardman Animations' ANGRY KID, Mondo Media's HAPPY TREE FRIENDS and HEAVY METAL GUY, BullsEyeart's MISS MUFFY and Film Roman's HAIRBALLS. Following the 9 pm (ET/PT) premier, viewers will be able to log-on to mtv.com to watch, review and rate each complete Webisode.
IMagicTV, a provider of software products that allow telephone companies and other service providers to deliver multi-channel television and interactive media services, announced on Tuesday, April 3, 2001, that it has entered into a syndication agreement with AtomShockwave Corp. Under this agreement, AtomShockwave's film and animation brand, AtomFilms, will license and manage short film content for iMagicTV, providing customers with new short film titles each month, each with a 60-day licensing window.
Cartoon Network plans to clean out their vaults and uncork a two-day, 20-hour "The Best We GoT" new and classic cartoon marathon on April 14 and 15, 2001. The marathon will showcase the best classic cartoons on Saturday, April 14, while on Sunday, April 15, the best cartoons from Cartoon Network's acclaimed original animation series will air. "The Best We GoT" will air from 12-10 p.m. (ET, PT) each day. More than 110 cartoons from Cartoon Network's vast archives of more than 8,000 animated titles will air.
TV-Loonland's CONNIE THE COW (52 x 7, produced by Spains Neptuno) has been sold to Disney U.K. for a spring 2002 delivery. After creating quite a buzz at MIPCOM Junior 2000, Munich's TV-Loonland announced at MIP TV that it had sold the pre-school animated series relating the experiences of a curious calf named Connie to Disney's U.K. arm. TV-Loonland has also had Disney success with their live-action series IN A HEARTBEAT.
Emmy Award winning cartoon series THE POWERPUFF GIRLS is now brought to life for deaf and hard of hearing viewers of Cartoon Network U.K. thanks to acclaimed deaf signer, Nikki Stratton. On Monday, March 26, the network announced that THE POWERPUFF GIRLS with deaf signing will be shown on Sundays at 9:30 am and everyday at 12:30 am. The signed version of ED EDD N EDDY is shown everyday at 12:00 am and on Sundays at 8:30 am and is the country's first regular, signed cartoon service. The success of that effort paved the way for this latest effort with THE POWERPUFF GIRLS.
Fox Kids Network announced on March 28 their lineup of new and returning series to their Saturday morning and weekday afternoon programming schedule.
Sesame Workshop's TINY PLANETS is in final negotiations to be aired on Italy's largest commercial broadcaster Mediatrade's channels. TINY PLANETS is a CGI animated educational comic adventure series for 3 to 5 year olds. A co-production with Pepper's Ghost Productions, the show follows Bing and Bong as they explore the worlds of their solar system such as the planets of light and color, sound, technology, stuff, self and nature through a space aged couch.
Nickelodeon, one of the leading entertainment brands for kids worldwide, is expanding its reach into China as of May 1, 2001. After visiting Beijing for four days and meeting with China's president Jiang Zemin and other industry officials, Bill Roedy, president MTV Networks International, and Frank Brown, president MTV Networks Asia, made the announcement.
Fox Family Channel announced on March 28 the addition of three new animated series to their 2001-2002 daytime programming lineup.
LEGO Media International(LMI), the new TV and film division of the world-renowned children'stoy brand, premiered its first ever program, LITTLE ROBOTS, at MIP TV2001. LITTLE ROBOTS is a new pre-school animated series based on thechildren's book by Mike Brownlow. The pilot was produced for LMI bythe U.K.'s Cosgrove Hall Films utilizing an unusual technique, whichcombines model animation with CGI backgrounds and effects. Theprogram also boasts top U.K. writing and voice (Lenny Henry, Su