Budapest, Hungary-based Varga Studio is working on a new, stop-motion animated special, "Don Quixote de La Mancha," based on the classic novel by Miguel de Cervantes. The 30-minute program has been in development for two years, and is now being co-produced with S4C, HBO America and BBC for Spring 1999. The stop-motion materials used--metal skeletons with rubber and clay heads--were developed by studio founder Csaba Varga, who will assume the role of director for the first time since his 1993 short, "Beasts."
New York-based 4 Kids Entertainment is bringing the popular Japanese animated series "Pokémon" to the international market. The show started in U.S. syndication in September, and is signed to appear on Italy's MediaSet network, Australia's Channel 10, Mexico's Televisa, Canada's YTV and Brazil's Globo TV.
Nelvana Limited has greenlit production on 13 episodes of their new animated series, "Redwall" based on the book series by Brian Jacques. The show is about the legends of a mythical medieval abbey populated by woodland creatures. Nelvana co-CEO Michael Hirsh said, "It has all the elements of a medieval fairy tale."
Bohbot Kids Network (BKN) is launching the animated series "Roswell Conspiracies--Aliens, Myths and Legends" for a Fall 1999 U.S. debut and BKN affiliate debut in 2000. It's unusual format will be comprised of 20 one-hour episodes that can also be split into 40 half-hour episodes. With a production budget of U.S. $850,000 per episode, the show is described as Bohbot's most ambitious children's series to date. The science-fiction show, based on the concept that a NATO Alliance was formed to seek out and destroy alien trespassers, is aimed at kids aged 7-13.
World Entertainment Events is introducing a new animated series to the international market. "Voltron: The Third Dimension" debuted in September in over 180 U.S. markets. The 3D computer-animated show is based on the original "Voltron" cartoon made in the 1980s. The first 26 episodes of the new series were produced by Mike Young Productions ("Prince of Atlantis") and Netter Digital Entertainment ("Babylon 5").
One year ago, CANAL + Distribution launched KIDS + to handle international sales of its more than 800 hours of children's programming. Kids + has since sold programming to Italy's Disney Channel Italy and RAI, Germany's Super RTL, Ireland's RTE, Switzerland's Television Suisse-Romande and France's France 3. Kids +'s new animation being launched at MIPCOM this year includes a feature-length version of "Trouble With Sophie," as well as new episodes of "Fennec" and "Blazing Dragons."
Bonjourno, Mickey! The Italian version of THE DISNEY CHANNEL will begin broadcast on October 3, launching with the country's first TV broadcast of the animated feature, "The Lion King." All programming will be dubbed in Italian. The channel is being transmitted daily from 6 a.m. to midnight, as part of a digital bouquet of channels offered by Telepiu. Disney Channel Italy is headquartered in Milan and headed up by vice president and managing director Janet Scardino. The former Sunbow Entertainment VP joined the company in March 1998.
NICKELODEON plans to launch a 24-hour version of its network in Russia, per a recently-signed agreement with Metromedia International Group. Programming will consist of Russian-language dubbed U.S. shows such as "Rugrats." This will be Nickelodeon's sixth territory-specific network, following existing channels in Australia, Latin America, the Nordic countries, Turkey and the U.K.
Santa Monica, California-based Epoch Ink Animation and Phoenix, Arizona-based Todd McFarlane Entertainment collaborated on a fully-animated music video for Pearl Jam's song "Do the Evolution." The four-minute video was produced in just 12 weeks with a budget of U.S. $220,000.
The National Film Board of Canada (NFBC) has entered into a license agreement with Los Angeles-based producer Jean Madar to develop new TV series and films based on a collection of popular animated shorts from its library. Madar, a Montreal native whose background includes work with Pixibox and Medialab, will use the animated shorts as ready-made pilots for new projects. He has grouped the NFBC films into four collections: "Kids" for children's animation, "Tunes" for musical shorts, "Crazy" for more adult-oriented films, and "Insane" for late-night fare.
As of this Sunday, The Simpsons will become the longest-running sitcom currently on television. Creator and executive producer Matt Groening said he is surprised the show has gone on this long, but, he added, The real surprise is that this coming season is as good as any we've ever done. The writers, led by executive producer Mike Scully, are fantastic. They get the characters and they are creating original stories that don't repeat what we've done or anything else I've seen on television. Audience: you be the judge!
U.S. network NBC aired only three episodes of the prime-time animated series Stressed Eric before pulling it off the air due to disappointing ratings (Nielsen average 4.8). The show, produced with British broadcaster BBC by Klasky Csupo and Absolutely Productions, had been specially dubbed with a new voice track for American viewers, and was slated to air for six episodes through the end of the summer season.
Due to minor post-production delays, CARTOON NETWORK has moved the premiere of its newest animated half-hour series, Ed, Edd n Eddy. The show, produced by Danny Antonuccis A.K.A. Cartoons, will now debut on Monday January, 4, 1999, pushed back from its original November launch date.
NICKELODEON will air the Kablam! Life With Loopy Birthday Gala-bration on Friday, September 25 at 8:00 p.m. (ET/PT). Created by Steven Holman and his San Francisco-based production company Wholesome Products, the special is a spin-off from the animated variety show Kablam! mixed-media skit, Life With Loopy.
HBO will launch its new 24-hour channel, HBO Family, in February 1999. The venture is being headed up by Sheila Nevins, senior vice president of original programming for HBO, and Dolores Morris, who left Children's Television Workshop (CTW) in June to become vice president of HBO Family [AF 6/2/98].
By special arrangement with Nielsen Media Research, AWN publishesthe Nielsen ratings for animated programs on a monthly basis in theAnimation Flash. The ratings included herein are only for U.S. nationalnetwork television. The following list of animated national networkprograms is ranked by Household Ratings. A Rating is the percent ofhouseholds that tuned into the program. This percentage can provide us withthe number of households that tuned into the program on average during the
CBS has made a last-minute programming decision to move the debut of its new, animated Saturday-morning line-up back to October 3, two weeks later than the previously announced date of September 19. The aim is to maximize on-air promotional opportunities, which would have been difficult during the sports programming scheduled on many of the network's local affiliates in the next few weeks. "We are very proud of our new Nelvana-produced shows," said Lucy Johnson, senior vice president of daytime/children's programming and special projects at CBS.
Viacom-owned cable network UPN has reached anagreement with Buena Vista Television to broadcast Disney animatedchildren's programming. Starting in fall 1999, UPN will air a two-hourblock of syndicated, Disney-branded shows which is most likely to includeprograms from the "Disney's One Saturday Morning" block which currentlyairs on ABC: "Disney's Recess," "Disney's Doug," "Disney's Pepper Ann" and"Disney's Hercules." Kellogg's, which sponsored the "Disney Afternoon"syndicated program block, will retain it's primary sponsorship role as the
All of the major voice actors on "The Simpsons"have renewed their contracts with Twentieth Century Fox to continue theirwork on the series. The last of the agreements were reached last week,after several weeks of contract negotiations which had four of theactors-Hank Azaria (Apu, Moe and others), Dan Castellaneta (Homer, Krusty,Barney and others), Harry Shearer (Mr. Burns, Ned Flanders and others) andYeardley Smith (Lisa)- requesting salaries upwards of $100,000 per episode