Sunbow Entertainment and Nickelodeon have signed a co-development deal for SKELETON KEY, a contemporary comedy adventure series targeted at 8 to 13 year olds. SKELETON KEY is based on the popular Slave Labor Graphics comic books by British writer Andi Watson. The animated series centers on small town teenager Tamsin Mary Cates who holds a magic key with the ability to move her in and out of another world. Pending development, the initial series of 13 half hours is scheduled for delivery to Nickelodeon in 2003. Although Sunbow Entertainment has worked with Nickelodeon U.K.
In its KIDS' WB! debut, the new Japanese anime series YU-GI-OH! ranked No. 1 among the broadcast competition in its time period in Kids 2-11, Kids 6-11, Boys 2-11 and Boys 6-11. The Japanese anime series follows the adventures of a young boy named Yugi, who morphs into a monster-fighting hero after piecing together the "millennium puzzle" given to him by his grandfather. YU-GI-OH! is represented world-wide outside of Asia, by 4Kids Entertainment.
Film Roman, Inc. acquired the popular syndicated comic strip CHELSEA BOYS, created by Glen Hanson and Allan Neuwirth, with plans to develop a half-hour animated series. Peter Schankowitz, Film Roman's president of television programming & development and Sidney Clifton, Film Roman's vice president of development, will be developing the property along with the creators. The comic strip, currently appearing in magazines, newspapers and Websites throughout North America and the U.K. revolves around the lives and loves of three gay roommates residing in New York's trendy Chelsea neighborhood.
Spanish-based animation company BRB Internacional has secured two major European co-production partners for THE INVISIBLE MAN (26 x half hours). Italian state broadcaster RAI and French animation house Dargaud Marina are teaming up with BRB Internacional to co-produce the unique series, which is aimed at 8-12 year olds. The deal gives RAI exclusive Italian speaking rights, Dargaud Marina exclusive French speaking rights, plus some other distribution territories, with BRB Internacional and Dargaud Marina handling distribution for the rest of the world.
TV-Loonland and Nelvana, in association with KirchMedia, announced at MIPCOM the international co-production of the childrens classic, HEIDI. HEIDI will be adapted into a new and highly stylized animated feature film and television series. HEIDI, written by Swiss author Johanna Spyri, was first published in 1880. The book has been translated into over 50 languages with over 100 million copies sold worldwide.
Buena Vista International Television has licensed its "Classic Treasures" collection of animated box office hits to the BBC. For the first time ever on UK terrestrial television, viewers will now be able to enjoy some of the most popular animated movies of all time - TOY STORY, TOY STORY 2, MULAN, A BUG'S LIFE and THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME. These titles combined have grossed over $2 billion in worldwide box office and have been watched by over 121 million people at cinemas in Europe alone.
Sav! The World Productions brings its latest animated program to MIPCOM with MOLLY, STAR-RACER. Described by the creators as Japanimation meets European 3D, MOLLY is an explosive mix of comedy and epic racing scenes in 3D CGI animation. Strongly influenced by their childhood memories of anime series like DRAGON BALL and LUPIN THE 3RD, as well as by cult classics like Hanna Barberas WACKY RACES or Saint Exupérys LE PETIT PRINCE, the creators of MOLLY have mixed styles and techniques to create a fresh new kind of entertainment.
DIC Entertainment and Celedor International have joined together to produce, distribute and merchandise an animated series inspired by the popular game show WHO WANTS TO BE A MILLIONAIRE? Capitalizing on the enormous success of the game show, which is broadcast in over 100 countries, WHO WANTS TO BE A MILLIONAIRE: THE ANIMATED SERIES features an animated host that will launch game show winners on fantastic journeys as they fulfill their millionaire dreams. The program will be introduced at MIPCOM 2001.
The Sundance Channels Sonic Cinema series is airing an episode that focuses on animation for music videos. SONIC CINEMA: ANIMATORS delves into the rich and ever-expanding universe of animated music. The program is made up of music videos, short films and short-form documentaries and features the talents of Bill Plympton, Mark Brierley, Jamie Hewlett, Tomas Apodaca, Tim Hope and the Toei Animation Studio. SONIC CINEMA: ANIMATORS airs on The Sundance Channel on October 19, 2001 at 11 pm and Sunday, October 21, 2001 at 1 am.
New York-based production company, Babelfish Productions, will be attending MIPCOM with their partners, the U.K.s Channel 5 & Channel 5 International and Klik Animation of Canada, to promote ALIENS AMONG US. The 65-part show tells the story of a renegade alien kid, Cosnok, from the planet Gontop, who gets inside the minds of children from all over planet earth to find out what he should do about a variety of issues -- from best friends and school bullies to moving house and first love. ALIENS AMONG US blends 3D animation with live-action docu-drama to create a unique new hybrid.
The Splash! Group will make its international debut as a television program distributor at this year's MIPCOM market. In addition to the successful pre-school animated series LITTLE MONSTERS, Splash! is producing and distributing several new and established properties, some of which will be offered to the international television market for the first time. The second series of LITTLE MONSTERS will commence production in fall of 2001, with an expected delivery of fall 2002.
Egmont Imagination is planning to bring its stop-frame animation special HAMILTON MATTRESS to MIPCOM 2001. HAMILTON MATTRESS tells the story of Sludger, a slovenly aardvark who longs for a more exciting life. With the help of his caterpillar friend Feldwick, he becomes the titular famous drummer and is thrust into the limelight. However, Sludger learns that some people dont believe that talent is everything and he must discover his own inner beauty and substance. The half-hour family special is already scheduled to be broadcast on the BBC over the Christmas programming period.
BKN Internationals holiday film RUDOLPH THE RED NOSED REINDEER AND THE ISLAND OF MISFIT TOYS is coming to MIPCOM. Featuring the voice talent of Rick Moranis and Jamie Lee Curtis and seven new holiday songs, the 3D animated sequel capitalizes on one of the favorite scenes from the classic RUDOLPH animated special. The 90-minute film is already scheduled to air during the 2001 holiday season on CBS in the U.S. and has video and DVD distribution in the U.K., Scandinavia and Spain.
Fox Family Channel will air an award-winning episode of KAMPUNG BOY Friday, September 28, 2001 (7:00 AM ET/PT). This will be the U.S. debut of the series, which garnered the Best Animated Television Series award at the 1999 Annecy International Film Festival. From a traditional village tucked away in the lush jungle of Malaysia, KAMPUNG BOY tells about the adventures of Mat, a nine year old boy, his family and his friends as they struggle to maintain traditional family values in an ever-changing technology-obsessed world.
Fox Family Channel is scheduled to debut its new half-hour animated series WHAT'S WITH ANDY? on Saturday, September 22, 2001 and will premiere new episodes daily from September 22-29. The show, inspired by the book series JUST KIDDING, by Andy Griffiths, revolves around Andy Larkin, a kid who is determined to be the greatest practical joker in the world. Cinegroupe is producing 26 episodes of the show for Fox Family.
Decode Entertainment has acquired worldwide distribution rights to OLLIE, a digitally animated 13 x 21 series targeted at kids aged 7 to 11. The show has already been sold to Teletoon in Canada and is set to premiere on that channel in fall 2002. Episodes will be available for the international market at MIPCOM 2001.
4Kids Entertainment's YU-GI-OH!, which has already begun airing in the U.S. on Kids' WB!, will be introduced to international broadcasters at this year's MIPCOM. The Japanese anime series follows the adventures of a young boy named Yugi, who morphs into a monster-fighting hero after piecing together the "millennium puzzle" given to him by his grandfather. Additional 4Kids series that will be presented at MIPCOM 2001 include 52 new POKEMON episodes featuring all new POKEMON characters.
Animation Studio has created several animated segments for the new comedic series, LET'S BOWL, which began airing August 19, 2001 on Comedy Central. The segments were created using USAnimation and feature a bowling pin character created by Realworks named "Pinny." The program's producers approached Reelworks in the early stages of development about the show's concept: The airing and resolving of personal grievances at a bowling alley.
Due to the terrorist attacks suffered by the United States on September 11, 2001, the 53rd Annual Primetime Emmy Awards presentation has been rescheduled for Sunday, October 7, 2001. However, the Emmys for animation and visual effects have already been awarded on September 8, 2001 as previously published here. The winners for individual achievement in animation were Rodney Clouden for FUTURAMA; Curt Enderle and Brad Schiff for GARY & MIKE; and Kyle Menke for INVADER ZIM. The winners in the voiceover performance category were Hank Azaria in THE SIMPSONS and Ja' Net DuBois in THE PJS.
In France, Cartoon Network joins the top 10 most popular cable and satellite channels in the country and stands out as the number one channel for kids ages 4 to 10 in CanalSatellite homes (reaching 68.8% of this age group during one week). Findings from Mediacabsat, the cable and satellite channel survey by Médiamétrie, is promising news for the channel that went on air less than two years ago. Cartoon Network now has an 8.9% audience share of 4 to 10 year olds watching CanalSatellite.
Fox aired a special animation night on Wednesday, September 5, 2001 starting at 8 pm featuring two episodes of THE SIMPSONS alternating with THE KING OF THE HILL and FAMILY GUY. The special episodes of THE SIMPSONS airing at 8:00 and 9:00 pm drew the most viewers finishing 64th and 66th with a 4.4 rating/7 share and 4.2 rating/7 share respectively. KING managed to garner a 4.0 rating/7share in its 8:30 time slot placing 67th, and FAMILY GUY, airing at 9:30pm fared the worst of the three shows in the 72nd spot with a 3.8 rating/6 share.
Santa Monica-based R!OT provided visual effects and post-production services for Days of the Week, the latest music video from the Stone Temple Pilots. The studio provided on-set visual effects supervision, telecine, digital matte painting, visual effects production and compositing services for the video, which was directed by Kevin Kerslake of Satellite Films. In the video, Scott Weiland and his band mates play identically dressed, door-to-door salesmen who escape their mundane lives when their car morphs into a space shuttle.
Creative companies Sunbow Entertainment and Rumpus have signed a co-production deal for KAPPA MIKEY, a fish-out-of-water story with an unusual twist. Targeted at 8 13 year old kids, the series mixes comedy and action in a satire of anime-style animation and American cluelessness about foreign culture. The show revolves around Mikey, an American superhero, who comes to Japan to fight evil with a team of Japanese anime stars. Mikey is not the most sensitive American ever to work overseas.
THE HAND BEHIND THE MOUSE: THE UB IWERKS STORY, a documentary on the life of the animation legend, is scheduled for cable TV broadcast and for sale on home video. Bravo will air a 46-minute version of the film on September 14. Independent Film Channel (IFC) will air the full 90-minute version four times: November 15 at 12:15 pm and 6:15 pm and November 27 at 11:45 am and 6:15 pm. Buena Vista Home Video will release will film on VHS on September 11. The video will contain 2 bonus Mickey Mouse cartoons, PLANE CRAZY and STEAMBOAT WILLIE.
The WB Network has decided not to air the second season of its animated primetime series BABY BLUES. The series was a summer replacement last year and was scheduled for a 13-episode second run. In addition, six-episodes of the series were left over from the first season, leaving 19 un-aired episodes that cost US$15 million to produce. Executives decided to dump the toon due to its already packed fall schedule, which includes 5 new live-action comedies and no animation. The network will write off the series through an accounting rule in relation to its parent Time Warner's merger with AOL.