Producer/writer Mel Brooks will provide the voice of Wiley the Sheep, who joins a flock of Irish barnyard characters in a new 3D animated series, JAKERS! THE ADVENTURES OF PIGGLEY WINKS. Produced by Mike Young Productions for Entara, it will be part of the PBS KIDS weekend line-up beginning Sunday, September 7, 2003. PBS affiliate WLIW in New York serves as the presenting station.
Oscar-nominated director Martin Scorsese (GOODFELLAS), along with producer Barbara DeFina (CASINO), has inked a deal with SCI FI Channel to exec produce the six-hour miniseries entitled THE TWELVE. Scorseses first venture into long-form TV will be produced under Cappa/De Fina Prods, in conjunction with Adrian Bate and Zenith Entertainment Ltd. The series is based on an idea by David Pirie (MURDER ROOMS), who originally pitched it to the BBC as an hour-long series.
Nickelodeons hit animated comedy series, THE FAIRLY ODDPARENTS, gets its own world premiere, 90-minute telemovie, ABRA-CATASTROPHE, airing July 12, 2003 at 8:00 pm. The movie repeats on Nickelodeon July 13 at 4:00 pm.
MTV's newest animated series, SPIDER-MAN premiered on Friday, July 11, 2003 at 10:00 pm, produced by Sony Pictures Television in association with Adelaide Prods. Mainframe Entertainment engineered and executed for Sony a new 3D production method to give the characters a somewhat flattened 2D look with three-dimensional dynamics of a film.
Spike and Mike's Sick and Twisted Festival of Animation have bought the rights to the series pilot of SICKCOM from comic book artist Robert Steven Rhine (MY BRAIN ESCAPES ME, CHICKEN SOUP FOR SATAN) and his partner, animator Frank Forte (LI'L PIMP movie, THE VAMPIRE VERSES, THE CLETUS AND FLOYD SHOW).
POW! Entertainment and DIC Entertainment have signed a joint venture development deal for a slate of original properties aimed at the kids TV market. DIC will work directly with Stan Lee and POW! to develop and produce the new animated television series. DIC will retain the rights to distribute the programs globally. First in line will be STAN LEES THE SECRET OF THE SUPER SIX -- a superhero-based animated series with a humanitarian spin that will feature Lee as a main character.
Alan Brady, the caustic TV host portrayed by Carl Reiner on THE DICK VAN DYKE SHOW back in the '60s, returns in a new computer-animated special on TV Land, airing Aug. 17 (10:00-10:30 pm). THE ALAN BRADY SHOW marks TV Land's first original animated special in the network's seven-year history. Reiner, who reprises his character in voice over, also wrote the special and serves as exec producer along with George Shapiro and Howard West of Shapiro/West Prods. The special was developed internally for TV Land by Sal Maniaci, vp of development and production for TV Land and Nick at Nite.
Brett Merhar's cult comic strip FREE FOR ALL premieres as a new, very adult animated series on the Showtime Network, at 11:00 pm on July 11, 2003. Produced by Showtime Networks, in association with the primetime animation expert Film Roman, the series of seven episodes follows Johnny and Clay, the strip's cynical, dysfunctional bestfriends, struggling with out-of-the-ordinary daily woes with Clay's sidekick, Angus, a ferret strung out on drugs.
Movie icon Robert Evans will star in and exec produce an eight-episode animated series, KID NOTORIOUS, premiering on Comedy Central October 22, 2003 at 10:30 pm. The adult series features the real-life and fictional adventures of Evans as he charms Hollywood, battles global corruption and, of course, always gets the ladies.
The CNX daytime anime programming block, Toonami, has become so popular in Europe that the third kid's animation channel from the Cartoon Network stable will be rebranding under that name in September 2003.
The Toonami concept began as a programming block on Cartoon Network and was then expanded into the daytime hours on CNX. Shows like DRAGONBALL Z and X-MEN: EVOLUTION have consistently been amongst the highest rated cartoons with boys 10 to 15, the target audience for the new channel.
FUNimation Prods., Ltd. has acquired the rights to DETECTIVE CONAN, a Japanese mega-hit series produced by TMS Entertainment, Ltd., the Fort Worth-Texas-based company announced during the recent Anime Expo 2003 in Anaheim, California.
DETECTIVE CONAN is one of the highest rated series in Japan, is in its sixth season with 300 half-hours produced as well as two movies, THE TIME BOMBED SKYSCRAPER and THE FOURTEENTH TARGET, which FUNimation also acquired the rights to. Home video release dates for the features are tentatively scheduled for late spring 2004.
UPN gave its pilot project, MEET THE BREAKNECKS, from Carsey-Werner-Mandabach, the greenlight to series, renaming it GAME OVER. UPN entertainment president Dawn Ostroff ordered the series as a mid-season replacement for the net's first ever CGI series in prime time.
Animal Planets top-rated program, THE FUTURE IS WILD, returns with three all-new episodes, which take a look at how natural selection (with some CGI help) will push Earths flora and fauna to some amazing adaptations. The two-hour documentaries made their world premiere on Tuesdays, July 8, 15 and 22, 2003 from 9:00-11:00 pm.
U.K.-based Glasshead Ltd. has been commissioned to produce a 13x13 animated series entitled, THE BLUE DRAGON, for 4Learning, Channel 4's education division. The series is geared toward 5-7 year olds with the goal of teaching them to look at the world in scientific ways. The series boasts voice talent such as Jane Horrocks (LITTLE VOICE & ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS) and Andrew Sachs (FAWLTY TOWERS). 4Learning plans to start airing the series in January 2004.
Kids' WB! has picked up Warner Bros. Animations superhero series STATIC SHOCK for an additional 13 episodes for the 2003-2004 season. In addition, the series will be going to strip, airing Monday through Saturday.
Cartoon Network has acquired 50 episodes of TOTALLY SPIES, which started airing July 7, 2003 at 4:30 pm. The series, from French producer Marathon, first aired in the U.S. on Fox Family Channel in 2001. It features three teenage girls who are super agents in sort of an animated CHARLIE'S ANGELS with a distinctive visual style influenced by everything from JOSIE AND THE PUSSYCATS to anime.
TBS has picked up reruns of FUTURAMA and THE FAMILY GUY. Starting Monday, July 7, 2003, the two shows will air weekdays at 2:00 pm and 2:30 pm, respectively. This move continues the crossover between Cartoon Network and its fellow AOL Turner channels, as well as TBSs pursuit of the young adult audience.
The Oscar-winning creators of the acclaimed animated TV series BOB AND MARGARET, Alison Snowden and David Fine, are set to produce their latest primetime animation series, SIMON SIMPLE, with Vancouver's award-winning Studio B Productions. The 26x22 series is in development for Canadian broadcaster TELETOON.
The series premiere and first two episodes of DEAD LIKE ME, the new Showtime/MGM Television Entertainment series, will be combined in a mini-marathon on the cable network, July 12, 2003, beginning at 9:00 pm. Laced with gallows humor about life, death and what happens next, the hour series airs Fridays at 10:00 pm. Bob Habros is the visual effects supervisor for Showtime, with Rainmaker Digital serving as the main VFX house. DEAD LIKE ME stars Ellen Muth (THE TRUTH ABOUT JANE), Callum Blue (DEVIL'S GATE), Rebecca Gayheart (SCREAM 2), Laura Harris (24), Jasmine Guy (A DIFFERENT WORLD), Cynthia Stevenson (HOPE & GLORIA) and Mandy Patinkin (CHICAGO HOPE). Exec producers include John Masius (PROVIDENCE) and Bryan Fuller (STAR TREK: VOYAGER).
Montreal-based CinéGroupe Distribution, a division of CinéGroupe, has signed with HOLA Entertainment to sell its shows in Latin America and the Caribbean. Marie-Christine Dufour, evp of distribution, licensing and marketing for CinéGroupe said HOLA president Mercedes Alvarez "offers an unbeatable combination. She has extensive experience in television sales in Latin America, and, she is based in Montreal. She will be able to build on the relations CinéGroupe has acquired over the years, and solidify our position in this growing market." CinéGroupe (www.cinegroupe.com) is the animation partner of Lions Gate Entertainment.
Some of the shows Alvarez will handle include THE CHINESE SIAMESE CAT, (CinéGroupe/Sesame Workshop) and PIG CITY (CinéGroupe /AnimaKids). CinéGroupe has more than 800 half-hours of animation and live-action family programming. CinéGroupe is producing TRIPPING THE RIFT, a 3D animation series with Film Roman for primetime on the Sci Fi Channel (U.S.) and Space (Canada) plus P3K: PINOCCHIO 3000, a 3D animated feature with Animakids and Castelao.
Comedy Central plans to celebrate America's birthday on July 4, 2003 with a 1:00 am broadcast of SOUTH PARK: BIGGER, LONGER & UNCUT, uncensored by the cablenet with encore presentations July 5 and 6 at 1:00 am. The feature film based upon the hit series by Trey Parker and Matt Stone grossed more than $52 million in the U.S. and won both New York and L.A. Film Critics awards. It also received an Oscar nomination for Best Original Song, "Blame Canada."
Cyborg 009 will join Cartoon Network's "Toonami" line-up on Monday, June 30, 2003, airing weekdays at 6:00 pm. Combining elements of JAMES BOND movies and ASTRO BOY, CYBORG 009 follows the adventures of a world-class sprinter who, after being seriously injured, is kidnapped by the Black Ghost, a villain plotting to take over the world. The athlete is rescued by a kind-hearted professor, who turns him into the ninth series of cyborg warriors that were originally designed as "super soldiers" to help carry out the plot to conquer the world, but are now dedicated to stopping them.
For the past three weeks, members of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences have been coming home to mysterious packages set upon their doorsteps as networks, TV producers and their public relations firms vie to get their vote for the Primetime Emmy Awards. Some of the gimmicks are so arresting that AWN decided to look into who is responsible for these bizarre campaigns and what is involved. The votes to nominate productions, talent and craft people were due June 20, 2003, so a bit of disclosure should not sway results.
Vancouver-based Bardel Entertainment seems to be doing exceptionally well with holiday programming. Bardel's big Leo Award-winning production, THE CHRISTMAS ORANGE, has recently been sold to SVT Sweden and is in final negotiations with TV2 Denmark and CBBC London. This family holiday classic has aired on ABC Family in the U.S., TELETOON in Canada, TV12 in Singapore, Asia TV in Hong Kong and Teletoon in France, charming audiences with its thoughtful message and unique 2D and Flash-animatied style.
Bravo! NewStyleArtsChannel got animated with the world premiere of the new sitcom HEY JOEL on June 3, 2003 at 10:30 pm. Produced by Blueprint Entertainment and Curious Pictures in association with CHUM Television, this half-hour, 13-part adult-themed cartoon series depicts the adventures of Joel Stein, the host of a daily three-minute rock star interview show on the music channel VH1, and offers an irreverent behind-the-scenes look at the recording industry.