VARIETY reports that U.S. broadcast network CBS has acquired the award-winning animated special ROBBIE THE REINDEER and its sequel and will air the shows beginning in December 2002, with an all new star-studded voice cast. The stop-motion animated specials were created by Bristol-based BBC Animation. Both ROBBIE THE REINDEER IN HOOVES OF FIRE and its 2002 sequel LEGEND OF THE LOST TRIBE, will, for no apparent reason other than U.S. broadcasters think Americans prefer to hear well-known actors with American accents voice cartoons, be re-voiced by celebrities for its U.S. debut.
Cartoon Network Latin America has announced its 2003 line-up, which includes the exclusive fifth season launch of POKEMON, the launch of two new Cartoon Network originals and all-new episode premieres of eight Cartoon Cartoons, including DEXTER'S LABORATORY and THE POWERPUFF GIRLS. Cartoon Network LA is also set to host its 10th birthday celebration and kick off the fifth season of COPA TOON, the virtual interactive soccer tournament.
New York-based animation studio The Ink Tank has created four minutes of animation for ENCUENTRO, a two-hour documentary produced by Ninguna Ciencia for Puerto Rican television. The documentary features interviews with and music from several well-known Puerto Rican musicians including actor/songwriter Ruben Bladés. The animation is interspersed throughout the program and follows the life of a fictional musician from conception to the afterlife.
Showing great faith in its new line-up of original series, Kids' WB! has already announced it will order second seasons for freshmen series OZZY & DRIX, ¡MUCHA LUCHA! and WHAT'S NEW SCOOBY-DOO, all from Warner Bros. Animation, plus new seasons of YU-GI-OH! and POKEMON from 4Kids Productions, Inc. for the upcoming 2003-2004 schedule. In making the announcement, Donna Friedman Meir, executive VP, Kids' WB! said, "These early pick-ups are testament to our confidence and appreciation of the wonderful creative teams behind each of these shows.
Mill TV recently completed visual effects production for PYRAMID, a 50-minute special for the BBC. The show combines live-action with computer-generated pyramids and backgrounds to tell the story of the great pyramid at Giza through the eyes of the men who built it. The animation team at Mill TV used both SOFTIMAGE|XSI v.2.0 software and a beta version of SOFTIMAGE|XSI v.3.0 to create a historically accurate depiction of this monumental architectural endeavor, replete with massive crowd scenes.
The original, friendly neighborhood Spider-Man will swing back into town, complete with a new makeover thanks to Buena Vista International Television (BVI-TV), which plans to restore the 1967 SPIDER-MAN animated series. In the restoration process, all episodes of the 52 x half-hour series will be re-mastered to a high definition format from the original 35mm film negatives. The episodes original soundtrack, including the memorable title song, will be renovated with a new music and effects track added.
Walt Disney Television Animation Special Projects and ESPN have teamed to bring to life the syndicated comic strip IN THE BLEACHERS. Disney has created a series of 15-second animated shorts based on the Steve Moore sports strip that will run during select ESPN Original Entertainment programming. The shorts mark the network's initial foray into animation and feature a witty, ever-changing cast of characters in situations centered around athletics.
Sunwoo Entertainment USA plans to turn BOOKASHKIS, Mikhail Aldashin's award-winning short film about insects, into a series. At MIPCOM 2002, the Korean-based studio finalized an agreement with Aldashin and producer Chuck Swenson to develop and create a 52 x 11-minute animated series featuring the trio of bugs. Sasha, Simmons and Shmutz are the BOOKASHKIS, tiny insects living in the big city. They have their work cut out for them trying to stay alive in an apartment inhabited by a rotating set of human beings, all of whom seem hell-bent on the bugs' ultimate destruction.
To highlight a special midterm elections broadcast from Washington, D.C., Comedy Central's THE DAILY SHOW hosted by Jon Stewart, commissioned J. J. Sedelmaier Productions to produce a cartoon parody of perennial favorite SCHOOLHOUSE ROCK that demonstrates how the midterms work. It is slated to air on the Tuesday, October 29, 2002 broadcast. Titled "Daily Show Rock," the three-and-a-half minute cartoon follows a friendly grandfather who goes to the polls to explain how the midterms work to his inquisitive grandson Jimmy.
Heading home from MIPCOM, Illuminated Films' half-hour animated special WAR GAME is boasting sales in a number of territories. Deals concluded in Cannes included Teletoon in Canada, Television Suisse Romande in Switzerland and NHK/Mico for Japan. The short has already sold to FR3 in France, SVT in Sweden, YLE in Finland and Channel Four in the UK. Most of these countries intend to screen WAR GAME on their national remembrance holidays. Based on the book by Michael Foreman, WAR GAME is the story of three English boys who are members of the same football (soccer) team.
Bardel Entertainment is going into production on nine more episodes of its cross-platform Flash animated series THE MR. DINK SHOW. The four original shorts were broadcast on CTVs Comedy Network, and shown online at AtomFilms.com. CTV has committed to the nine follow-up episodes, which will be available in spring 2003. THE MR. DINK SHOW was recently honored with the Grand Jury Prize for Animation in the New York International Independent Film & Video Festival. The show, created and directed by Ron Crown, follows the eternally optimistic yet blissfully unaware Mr.
Citing the series popularity on Cartoon Network UK and in worldwide sales, TV-Loonland and Cartoon Network Europe announced they will co-produce another 26 episodes of THE CRAMP TWINS, the series that details the comic adventures of 10-year old twins Wayne and Lucien, who have nothing in common apart from their parents. Telemagination, TV-Loonlands UK-based animation studio, will handle the production of the second series, which is expected to start in early November 2002. THE CRAMP TWINS had its worldwide premiere in the UK in 2001.
Adult Swim, Cartoon Network's successful block of late night animation for adults, will join the schedule five times per week beginning Sunday, January 12, 2003. Airing from 11:00 pm to 1:00 am (ET/PT) Sunday-Thursday, the block will showcase recent acquisition FUTURAMA, along with quirky original animated series including HOME MOVIES, AQUA TEEN HUNGER FORCE and HARVEY BIRDMAN, ATTORNEY AT LAW, and popular action/anime series COWBOY BEBOP and INUYASHA.
At MIPCOM, EM.TV & Merchandising AG concluded a comprehensive deal with the childrens channel KI.KA that sees the German public broadcaster acquiring at least 300 half-hours of children's and youth programming from EM.TV, for broadcast on the jointly owned ARD-ZDF channel. Under the terms of the deal, KI.KA will receive the first free-TV broadcasting rights for all new shows, which will include POOCHINI, MOMO and WHAT ABOUT MIMI?
You can settle down with some creepy fiends in your own home this Halloween, thanks to Cartoon Network. Every Friday night in October from 8:00 pm until 1:00 am, Cartoon Network is serving up classic episodes of SCOOBY DOO, plus Cartoon Network originals COURAGE THE COWARDLY DOG and GRIM & EVIL. You can never have enough Courage, so you can watch COURAGE THE COWARDLY DOG tangle with such threats as the savage Weremole, the sinister Katz, the devious French duck Le Quack and even the misunderstood Bigfoot during the 24-Hour COURAGE THE COWARDLY DOG Marathon on Halloween day.
South Africa-based stop-motion animation company Triggerfish Animation has been awarded the animation contract for the second and third season of TAKALANI SESAME, the South African version of SESAME STREET. Triggerfish began working on TAKALANI SESAME two years ago as part of a joint venture, producing half of the animation for the first season.
5f Chennai, India came out of MIPCOM with two co-production deals for new animated series. MUV has teamed with Comet Entertainment of Toronto, Canada and Lasal of the Canary Islands, Spain to co-produce and provide animation for the CG series TINGUARO, THE SUN LIZARDS. Set in a futuristic world where peace-loving lizards struggle against war-mongering scorpions, TINGUARO is a 13-episode action/adventure series, which is also the first and only series to be supported and funded by the Spanish government, according to Carmen Llanos Acero, Comet COO.
While at MIPCOM, Egmont Imagination signed a distribution deal for the Frederico Vitali series LAVA, LAVA. In a collection of 3-minute stories that take a normal situation and turn it on its head, animation artist Frederico Vitali invites viewers to watch what really happens inside a cuckoo clock when the figurines aren't announcing the time. Or find out what would happen if extra-terrestrials landed on earth and were given a tour by a fanatical goon. A co-production between Les Films du Triangle S.A., La Fabrique S.A.
Millimages has sold the broadcast rights to four of its new animated properties to Australian broadcaster, ABC (Australian Broadcast Corporation). The programs included in the deal are HILLTOP HOSPITAL, CORNEIL & BERNIE, PIGEON BOY and JASPER THE PENGUIN. HILLTOP HOSPITAL is a 39 x 10-minute stop-motion animated series. Described as a "pre-school medical soap opera," the stories focus on a hospital that is run by animals, for animals. Both CORNEIL & BERNIE and PIGEON BOY are Millimages co-productions with France 3.
Teletoon Canada has ordered 13 half-hour episodes of the Atomic Cartoons and Phil Roman Entertainment production ATOMIC BETTY. The series follows Betty, a sweet and brainy girl with only a few friends. But when the galaxy beckons, she sheds her humdrum persona and becomes Atomic Betty, "intergalactic rocket jockey and legendary defender of the universe," zipping across the galaxy on daring and valiant missions.
Nickelodeon has aged the precocious RUGRATS tots into tweens for their new spin-off series ALL GROWED UP, now in production at Klasky Csupo in Los Angeles. The 13-episode series will take off from the 10th anniversary special ALL GROWED UP that aired on Nick in July 2002. The new series is scheduled to run concurrently with RUGRATS during the 2003-2004 season. "What better way to reward an incredibly loyal audience than to serve up a perennial favorite in an all new way," said Cyma Zarghami, executive VP and general manager, Nickelodeon.
Comedy Central has made a big move toward more adult-oriented animation fare by purchasing four animated series that had previously failed on U.S. television in primetime. According to VARIETY, the network has acquired DILBERT (30 half-hours), CLERKS (6 half-hours), GARY & MIKE (13 half-hours) and UNDERGRADS (13 half-hours). This move will be a special treat for Kevin Smith fans, as original network ABC yanked CLERKS after just two episodes. Comedy Central will air a CLERKS marathon on Sunday, December 22, 2002, including the four never-seen episodes.
CineGroupe has joined with Fox Kids Europe (FKE) to distribute its new animated TV series PIG CITY. The series is a co-production of CineGroupe and AnimaKids (France), in association with Merchandising Munchen and Fox Kids France. The agreement with FKE includes the television, home video and merchandising rights to the series across Europe, Latin America, the Middle East and Africa. CineGroupe will continue to distribute the series in Canada, the U.S., Asia, Australia and New Zealand. Animakids will handle the rights in France and Merchandising Munchen in Germany.
This week at MIPCOM, LEGO Media and Miramax Films unveiled the first production and marketing materials available for its direct-to-home video movie, BIONICLE: MASK OF LIGHT, based on the successful LEGO Company toy line. The 70-minute, CGI-animated feature is currently in production at Los Angeles-based Creative Capers, with a debut date scheduled for fall 2003. The trailer, which can be viewed at www.maskoflight.com, will be featured on Miramax Films upcoming home video release of SPY KIDS II, scheduled to hit shelves in January 2003.
The award-winning team of writer Neil Gaiman and artist Dave McKean are in development with TV-Loonland subsidiary Sunbow Entertainment to create a series based on their children's book THE DAY I SWAPPED MY DAD FOR TWO GOLDFISH. This week at MIPCOM, Sunbow is presenting the 13 x 22-minute animated series, targeted at 6 -11 year-olds. Gaiman is best known for his critically acclaimed and widely successful graphic novels SANDMAN and the 3-part series DEATH: THE HIGH COST OF LIVING which he is currently adapting to a feature film for Warner Bros.