Spike Lee has temporarily prevented Viacom from relaunching its TNN channel as Spike TV in a branding campaign that was supposed to roll out June 16, 2003. The New York Supreme Court in Manhattan granted the filmmaker a preliminary injunction to stop the name change. Lee and his lawyer, Johnnie L. Cochran Jr., argued that the network is trying to capitalize on his celebrity status and that he does not wish to be associated with male-oriented programming, which includes the upcoming adult animated series STRIPPERELLA and GARY THE RAT. Viacom is seeking an immediate stay of the injunction.
Will fathers want to watch hours of cartoons or are Cartoon Network and Nickelodeon scheduling Father's Day programming marathons to keep the kids busy while dad relaxes in his easy chair? Nick plans to give dads their due on June 15, 2003 from 2-6:00 pm with a new special show of THE ADVENTURES OF JIMMY NEUTRON, BOY GENIUS titled "Make Room for Daddy-O." Jimmy invents a device that alters Hugh's personality, making him the coolest dad in Retroville.
Disney's new branded service, Disney Channel on Demand, will be offered to Cablevision's 400,000 digital TV subscribers across the nation for an additional $4.95 per month. As part of a pact with ABC Cable Networks Group, this video-on-demand package consists of original series programming for preschoolers from Playhouse Disney and original movies and series for older kids.
THE GRIM ADVENTURES OF BILLY AND MANDY returns June 13, 2003 to Cartoon Network, as a full-fledged 30-minute series at 7:00 pm and replays at 10:00 pm. The toon net obviously isn't afraid of American superstitions about Friday the 13th, considered a bad luck day by many in the U.S. Then again, this macabre yet hilarious tale had good luck when it won The Big Pick in August 2000. The toon, created by Maxwell Atoms, beat out a number of different pilots to be selected by the viewers to become a 13-episode series, launched in October 2001.
Does an animated star like Johnny Bravo flub a line? What happens when an anvil does not fall the right way? Cartoon Network digs through the archives of animated outtakes for a one-hour special that delivers some goofy goof-ups during CARTOON NETWORK BLOOPERS AND OTHER EMBARRASSING MOMENTS, airing Friday, June 6, 2003 at 7:00 pm (ET/PT). We're not talking bad paint jobs and characters floating off their baseline, but hilarious mess-ups like live-action pros do. Tom Kinney, the animated voice of SpongeBob SquarePants and The Mayor in THE POWERPUFF GIRLS, hosts the special. Included will be the funniest blown lines, a cavalcade of mishaps starring Wile E. Coyote and shots to the groin. Among the stars contributing outtakes are Ed, Edd and Eddy, The Flintstones, Samurai Jack, Foghorn Leghorn and The Jetsons. For more on Cartoon Networking programming go to CartoonNetwork.com (AOL Keyword: Cartoon Network).
Despite increasingly vocal opposition, the FCC approved changes in media ownership regulations on June 2, 2003 that are expected to lead to a new series of mergers as media companies seek to expand and enter into new combinations in local markets across the U.S. Changes the FCC made included raising the percentage of the nation's TV households one company can reach from 35% to 45%. It lifted a 28-year band on allowing newspaper and broadcast combinations in larger markets and is also allowing one company to own more radio stations locally. The vote split along party lines 3-2, with three Republication commissioners voting for the change and two Democrats objecting. The FCC did not touch the ban on mergers among the four major TV networks, but they do stand the most to gain from the vote. The FCC received more than 750,000 pieces of mail -- the most related to any one issue in the history of the FCC. Many critics claim that further consolidation will drown out minority viewpoints and destroy competition. Some say it will lead to more unemployment in the entertainment industry.
The Ink Tank has wrapped on a new stylized documentary for PBS entitled FASHIONATION. The 30-minute program takes a tour of the high fashion world using animation, archival material, runway footage and original interviews with curators and designers Karl Lagerfeld, Sonia Rykiel and Christian Lacroix.
Nickelodeon's CHALKZONE enters a second season May 30, 2003 (8:00 pm ET/PT), rejoining the channel's Friday primetime lineup, and moves from Saturdays into a regular Friday, 9:30 pm timeslot beginning June 6.
The Comedy Central test of showing via a series of interstitial spots pulled from the HOUSE ARREST pilot worked as the cablenet has given the show a greenlight for 13 half-hours to premiere in 2004. The new animated show, from comic Denis Leary and Jim Serpico's Apostle studio, started airing as spots at 9:58 pm on May 1, 2003.
Dick Clark Productions is setting up a children's division, Dick Clark Kids, which already has an animated/live-action preschool series, THE CANBEES, scheduled for home video markets in 2004, according to VARIETY. Dick Clark's daughter, Cindy, and marketing exec Kelly Sole Holscher will acquire and develop projects for the kids arm located in Burbank, California. Holscher will also oversee marketing and distribution opportunities for Dick Clark Kids. The pair reports to Jules Haimovitz, vice chairman of DCP and coo Fran LaMaina.
Italy will double its cartoon TV fun when boomerang launches on July 1, 2003 on sky italia. building on the success of its parent channel, cartoon network Italy, Boomerang will join the new sky italia line-up with a schedule of classics including TOM AND JERRY, YOGI BEAR, THE FLINTSTONES, POPEYE and THE PINK PANTHER.
Web short turned TV series TRIPPING THE RIFT has announced the Hollywood talent who have signed on to lend their voice to SCI FI Channel's first original animated TV series. Gina Gershon (BOUND), Stephen Root (NEWS RADIO) and "Stuttering" John Melendez (THE HOWARD STERN SHOW) head the ensemble cast. The half-hour 3D show is being produced by CinéGroupe, in association with Film Roman. The show is set to debut in January 2004.
4Kids Entertainment, who handles the Saturday broadcast programming for Fox, has announced their FOX BOX line-up for the 2003-04 season. New to the schedule is 4Kids' first original animated series, CUBIX, as well as SONIC X, SHAMAN KING and FUNKY COPS. Returning to the Saturday morning block will be TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES, KIRBY: RIGHT BACK AT YA!, THE CRAMP TWINS and ULTIMATE MUSCLE: THE KINNIKUMAN LEGACY.
Cartoon Network hopes to make Memorial Day Weekend in the U.S. memorable for Powerpuff Girl fans with the television debut of THE POWERPUFF GIRLS MOVIE, the first feature film based on the series. Townsville's being overrun by bad people so Professor Utonium heads to his lab and invents three perfect little girls with incredible powers. But Blossom, Bubbles and Buttercup have a lot to learn about being superheroes. Cartoon Network will run THE POWERPUFF GIRLS MOVIE at 8:00 pm (ET/PT) each night for four consecutive evenings, Friday, May 23-Monday, May 26, 2003.
NBC and DreamWorks Television have announced their star-studded cast for the upcoming CGI primetime toon, FATHER OF THE PRIDE. Heading up the cast will be John Goodman (ROSEANNE), along with Orlando Jones (EVOLUTION), Emmy-winner Carl Reiner (THE DICK VAN DYKE SHOW) and Cheryl Hines (CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM). The comedy series will chronicle the lives of a pride of white lions that perform in Siegfried & Roy's famous Las Vegas act. The show is set to debut in Fall 2004. Goodman will play Larry, a hard-working lion in the magic act with Hines playing his wife Kate. Reiner will voice Sarmoti, Kates father, who couldn't be more different than Larry. Jones will play Larry's comical best friend Snack, a prankish gopher. CGI versions of Siegfried & Roy will also make appearances in the series. Siegfried & Roy's show is the longest-running act on the Vegas Strip and has sold out every performance for 11 years. Executive producers will be Jonathan Groff (LATE NIGHT WITH CONAN OBRIEN), DreamWorks head Jeffrey Katzenberg, Peter Mehlman (SEINFELD) and Jon Pollack (JUST SHOOT ME). The show will be produced by DreamWorks Television and NBC will retain domestic syndication rights.
Warner Bros. Animation has signed a development deal with sultry voiced R&B superstar Macy Gray to bring her real life to the small screen animated style. The project dubbed A PRETTY GOOD LIFE was originally conceived by Gray, partner Stephen Belafonte, who will serve as producer on the toon, and Ellen Goldsmith-Vein, who will executive produce from her address at the talent agency Gotham Group.
MEGAMAN: NT WARRIOR premieres on the U.S. airwaves May 17, 2003 on Kids' WB! following a special preview at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in Los Angeles May 1416, 2003 where CAPCOM was showcasing the game series. Based on the popular comic book series, MEGAMAN: NT WARRIOR is set in the not-so-distant future during the Cyber Revolution of the year 200X, where virtually all technology is linked to a central computer system. Citizens of ACDC Town interface with this network using their personal "NetNavis" (Net Navigators) via their portable terminals (PETs). The anime/adventure series follows the discoveries and exploits of fifth-grader Lan, whose NetNavi - and alter ego- is a blue-suited, virus-fighting, virtual superhero named Mega Man. Lan and his friends plug in different powerchips to change their personal NetNavis' gadgetry and defense capabilities. These net-warriors unite to expose the darkness within their digital universe. For the latest shows on Kids' WB! check out www.kidswb.com.
NBC'S LATE NIGHT WITH CONAN O'BRIEN will broadcast an entire episode in clay animation. The experimental and groundbreaking episode airs May 15, 2003 from 12:35-1:35 am. The entire late night talk show has been produced in stop-motion animation from the opening, to the monologue, comedy, guests even the bumpers that lead in and out of commercials. This LATE NIGHT episode from October 2002 has been completely recreated in clay in-house by the production/scenic staff, including models of guests Johnny Knoxville (JACKASS), comedian Richard Lewis and musical guest David Bowie.
PBS Kids is offering new episodes of CYBERCHASE in May 2003. The new shows, produced by Thirteen/WNET New York and Corus Entertainment's Nelvana, air on Wednesdays, featuring characters who use math to save the day. Jackie, Matt, Inez and their pal Digit sum up their strengths and smarts to outwit the dastardly Hacker. On May 14, 2003, Binky the Cat (voiced by Bebe Neuwirth) calls the Cybersquad to an ancient Egyptian site to help when Hacker (voice by Christopher Lloyd) steals the "Eye of Rom." Al Rocker (THE TODAY SHOW) stars as journalist Sam Vander Rom, who reports on the kids' efforts to catch a rampaging cyber-whale in "A Whale of a Tale" on May 21. Exec producers are Sandra Sheppard, director of children's and educational programming at Thirteen, and Kristin Laskas Martin, former exec producer of the MAGIC SCHOOL BUS. Larry Jacobs is the animation director.
Spike TV'S Adult Animation Series Premieres SetSpike TV has unveiled an original, ambitious new adult animation block entitled, THE STRIP, to premiere on June 26, 2003 (10:00 pm - midnight, ET/PT). The weekly two-hour animation block includes GARY THE RAT, starring Kelsey Grammer, Stan Lee's STRIPPERELLA, starring Pamela Anderson, and John Kricfalusi's REN & STIMPY ADULT PARTY CARTOON.
John Leguizamo, the Emmy Award-winning actor/writer/comedian, is creating ZILCH & ZERO, a 30-minute adult animated special to air on the new Spike TV (formerly The New TNN), the first network for men, according to Albie Hecht, president of Spike TV.
DIC Entertainment recently inked deals with leading networks for international distribution for shows including SUPER DUPER SUMOS, MADELINE, MARY-KATE AND ASHLEY: IN ACTION and SHERLOCK HOLMES IN THE 22ND CENTURY. "MIP-TV was a success for us, even considering the state of the world at the time," said Pat Ryan, evp of international sales.
Kids' WB! plans to introduce a new generation of kids in the United States to one of the most beloved anime icons, ASTRO BOY, in its Saturday morning schedule in the 2003-2004 season. Sony Pictures Television and Tezuka Productions are producing the new series based on the original 50-year-old toon from Manga master, Osamu Tezuka.
Minnetonka-Minnesota based TV and film production/distributor/acquisition company Tremendous! Entertainment, Inc. will attend the Los Angeles Screenings for the first time this year, offering international buyers a peek at the newest Garfield 25th anniversary special. GARFIELD'S WORLD EGO TOUR celebrates the fat cat's 25th birthday in a live-action prime-time special. It chronicles the lasagna-loving feline as he visits his millions of fans around the globe.
To celebrate Mother's Day on Sunday, May 11, 2003, Cartoon Network gives birth to a seven-hour tribute to that modern Stone Age matriarch, Wilma Flintstone. During the Mother's Day Wilma-Thon, which airs from 12:00-7:00 pm (ET/PT), viewers will see Wilma Flintstone through the years as she and Fred first court, during her pregnancy, as a new mother and, finally, as she becomes a grandmother.