On May 27, 2000 in Europe, Turner Broadcasting will launch Boomerang, a brand new animation channel from the Cartoon Network stable. The new network will feature over 2,000 characters such as Top Cat, Wacky Races, Yogi Bear and the Hair Bear Bunch. The new channel will run from 6 am until midnight and will be available along with Cartoon Network and Cartoon Network Plus to all Sky Digital homes. Discussions with operators for digital cable and DTT carriage are also underway.
Nelvana Limited has acquired the worldwide development, production, distribution and merchandising rights to LITTLE CRITTER. The series will be based on the best-selling books by Mercer Mayer. Beginning in 1976, the 90-book LITTLE CRITTER series has sold over 100 million copies worldwide. The story follows the everyday life of Little Critter and his friends Tiger and Gator. As the oldest sibling of five, Critter has to balance his responsibilities with playing sports, going to the mall and reading comics.
THE MIRACLE MAKER is set to air on Easter Sunday at 7 pm screening on ABC. Set in 1st Century Israel, the story follows a sick young girl, Tamar (Rebbeca Callard), her Pharisee father Jairus (William Hurt), and her desperate mother Rachel (Julie Christie) as they encounter the charismatic preacher Jesus (Ralph Fiennes). Can Tamar be healed before those in authority strike against Jesus? THE MIRACLE MAKER was created by Christopher Grace of S4C following the success of SHAKESPEARE: THE ANIMATED TALES, TESTAMENT: THE BIBLE IN ANIMATION and THE CANTERBURY TALES.
POKEMON is still going strong. KIDS WB! has ordered 52 more episodes of the phenomenon for September 2000. The latest broadcasters to catch the series are TV4 Sweden, TV2 Denmark, TV2 Norway, MTV Finland, RTL-Klub (Hungary) and RTL-TVI (Belgium), as well as Cartoon Network in Australia and New Zealand. The total number of episodes for the series is now 156.
Portuguese broadcaster RTP has begun airing the interactive gameshow STINKY AND BEAVER. The ITE property is created using Silicon Graphics software and 3D animation. The series introduces players to CGI characters who test the participants and serve as the show's hosts. The series is included in RTP's Interactive Hour next to ITE's successful HUGO series.
Mattel Interactive has entered into a deal with Danish company, TV Animation, the creators and owners of the animated interactive TV series THE NELLY NUT SHOW and the real-time technology, The Cartoon Broadcast System. The partnership will further develop the series for world TV markets. Mattel Interactive will represent the partnership in North America and other English speaking territories around the globe.
Bristol-based Harvest Films has been commissioned by BBC1 to produce a half-hour animated special entitled, HAMILTON MATTRESS. Developed in conjunction with the BBC Animation Unit, the stop-motion special features a cast of characters created by John Webster, writer of some of the most successful television advertising campaigns. The special will follow the story of an unloved Aardvark and his canny caterpillar companion, who embark on an epic adventure in which friendship and talent triumph over vanity and greed.
If you're waiting for the bus and a poster talks to you don't be startled. To promote, the debut of the hit series ANGELA ANACONDA on Cartoon Network Europe, the toon TV channel has designed talking posters to be placed in bus shelters all over the U.K. The posters will be fitted with a hidden movement sensor that will make it talk whenever a person passes by. There will be five different sound bites plus a song emanating from the posters for Cartoon Network Europe's new 52 part series created by Joanna Ferrone and Sue Rose, creator of the highly successful PEPPER ANN and voice of Angela.
Blue Sky Studios has brought dead fish to life for THE SOPRANOS. Blue Sky's Animation Director Mark Baldo and Lead Technical Director Cliff Bohm were given the task to create the special effects for a pivotal scene in the season finale. The scene features Tony Soprano (James Gandolfini), who is wracked with guilt and indecision about his long-time friend, Pussy (Vincent Pastore), who he knows has turned FBI informant.
Turner Broadcasting System (TBS) has signed a multi-year deal with Israel's first and only DTH operator Yes to show Cartoon Network. The Turner toon network will be offered as a 24-hour channel alongside TCM (Turner Classic Movies) and CNN International on Yes' channel packages which will launch in the second half of 2000. "Yes is extremely proud of its association with TBS," said Yona Wiesenthal, Senior Vice President of Content, Yes.
"The turn-out was terrific. It's better than we ever imagined. It shows the depth of emotion in Hollywood toward this issue," said Tom Sito, president of the Screen Cartoonists' Union Local 893. With bright, artistic signs in hand, a crowd of nearly 250 people consisting of both working and non-working animation professionals showed up to picket in front of Los Angeles PBS affiliate KCET. The picket even drew members from SAG and the American Film union. The event was a show of support against the recent move by PBS that sent their network's animation work to Canada.
Mainframe Entertainment is set to produce two new TV movies based on the characters from their TV series REBOOT. The two telepics are being produced in partnership with Canadian cable broadcaster YTV Canada, Inc. for broadcast in the Spring and Fall of 2001. REBOOT was the first ever half-hour computer animated TV series produced in the world. The series was originally shown in North American in September of 1994 on YTV in Canada and on ABC Television in the U.S.
The Harvey Entertainment Co. has entered into a deal with Vancouver-based Studio B to produce a new TV series based on their character Wendy the Witch. Studio B has acquired the rights to the popular children's series from Harvey and has partnered with Harvey in producing 26 half-hour episodes for the worldwide television and video marketplace. The series is expected to be available for delivery beginning in January 2001. Studio B also produces D'MYNA LEAGUES, WHAT ABOUT MIMI and YVON OF THE YUKON.
Perhaps, Neitchze was correct because GOD is dead. At least NBC's rendition of him is. The troubled toon GOD THE DEVIL AND BOB has been excommunicated from NBC's line-up. The decision to pull the series out of the line-up came in response to the lowest ratings ever for a regularly scheduled program in the Tuesday 8:30 pm time slot. Nearly 5% of the country's NBC affiliates had already pre-empted the show from their schedule for either religious concerns or they felt it just wasn't funny. Recently, advertisers were even turning their attention away from the ify animation series.
ITV has ordered 26 episodes of the half-hour, 3D CGI animated series BUTT-UGLY MARTIANS. The Mike Young Productions, The Just Group PLC and DCDC-produced show follows three Martians, who came to Earth to overthrow it but stayed because the loved it. The director of the first season of TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES, Gary Selvaggio, is the creator of series. DCDC handles the TV rights for the show in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan, while the U.K.-based The Just Group handles all other international TV, video, merchandising and licensing rights. BUTT-UGLY MARTIANS has not yet found a home in the U.S.
On Saturday, March 18, 2000, Cartoon Network announced the winner of their inaugural CARTOON CAMPAIGN 2000. "Political" ads started airing on January 15, 2000 toting the 50 candidates, but a crime-fighting Great Dane has become the clear winner. Scooby-Doo captured 17.4 percent of the more than three quarters of a million votes received, followed by The Powerpuff Girls with 11.1 percent and Bugs Bunny with 8.6 percent. A mini-marathon of Scooby-Doo cartoons celebrated the election winner on Sunday, March 19, 2000. With endorsements from ex-U.S.
For the rest of March, the Sundance Channel will be showcasing the films of Faith Hubley, her late husband, John, and their daughter, Emily. Hubley films have won three Academy Awards, and numerous other film festivals. Sundance's "Spotlight on the Hubleys" highlights the family's short films such as PIGEON WITHIN and EVERYBODY RIDES THE CAROUSEL. Charles Silver, a curator in the film and video department of New York's Museum of Modern Art, said to CNN, "It is a well-deserved tribute.
Fox Kids Europe has acquired the exclusive U.K. and French rights to DIGIMON: DIGITAL MONSTERS from Toei Animation of Japan. The POKEMON-like series will hit Fox Kids Europe on April 1 and premiere on Britain's ITV network. September will see the debut of the show in France on TF1 and Fox Kids France.
Fox Family will be adding two new animated series to its 2000-01 daytime schedule. DA MOB follows the life of a wanna-be hip-hop band on their futile journey to fame and fortune. The series is being produced by Happy Life Entertainment. DETECTIVE CONAN will be the newest anime series to hit the channel. The show follows the adventures of top detective Shinichi Kudo, who has been accidentally transformed back into a child by his enemies. The series is being distributed in the States by TMS. Twenty-six episodes of each series has already been secured.
Curious Pictures has finished production on AVENUE AMY for the fledgling cable network, Oxygen Media. The series is directed by Curious Pictures' Joan Raspo and written by Amy Sohn, based off of her New York Press column. The new show will air on "X-Chromosome," an original showcase of animation done by women. The show sets brightly colored, rotoscoped actors against live-action photo collage backgrounds in a satirical look at daily life of a woman living in New York. The animated block airs on Oxygen Saturdays and Sundays at 10:30 pm.
The new UPN clay animated series HORMONE HIGH has added more names to its lengthy voice cast. Recently joining the pilots' cast are Jerry O'Connell (MISSION TO MARS, SLIDERS), John Cryer (GETTING PERSONAL), Adam Goldberg (SAVING PRIVATE RYAN) and Jennifer Tilly (BOUND, BRIDE OF CHUCKY). The half-hour comedy is being directed by CELEBRITY DEATHMATCH creator Eric Fogel. Other talent on the voice-over cast are PUNKY BREWSTER child-star Soleil Moon Frye, FRAISER's Harriet Sansom Harris, SPARKS' Arif Kinchen and BAKERSFIELD, P.D.'s Brian Doyle-Murray.
The Aides of March have changed to the Idiots of March at Cartoon Network. On March 15, 2000, Cartoon Network will feature a mini-marathon of I AM WEASEL. The series follows the exploits of the super-smart weasel, I.M. Weasel, and his blunder-prone baboon nemesis I.R. Baboon. The COW AND CHICKEN spin-off's marathon will air from 7 pm - 10 pm.
J.J. Sedelmaier Productions has created the new opening for Comedy Central's second season of STRANGERS WITH CANDY. The opening, produced by J.J. Sedelmaier and directed by Ward Sutton, sums up the premise of the live-action series in 30 seconds. It follows the crazy life of series star Jerri Blank (Amy Sedaris) after she drops out of high school. Ward Sutton's heavy line and bright colors warps an animated Blank through a whirlwind ride of sex, drugs and prostitution that leads back to high school 30 years later. The lead animator on the project was Tony Eastman.
The new NBC animated series, GOD THE DEVIL AND BOB, received heavenly ratings in spite of the devilish controversy surrounding the sitcom. After being axed or shifted by a total of nine NBC affiliates due to religious concerns, GOD, THE DEVIL AND BOB garnered time slot-winning scores of 14.42 million viewers, a 7.3/19 rating in adults 18-49 and 8.0/23 in adults 18-34. However, the show's premiere, positioned between the network's top shows FRIENDS and FRASIER, lost about 30% of the viewers from its FRIENDS lead-in.
The new animated series MAX STEEL premiered at #1 for its rating slot. The new CGI series scored a 7.6 rating/24 share, finishing #1 with Boys 6-11 against all of its Saturday morning competition. The show also garnered Kids WB! a #1 rating with teens for the first time since May of 1999. The series, set in the fictitious, futuristic city of Del Oro Bay, centers around Max Steel, a young secret agent pitted against the evil plots of the mercenary organization, DREAD.