Universal's SITTING DUCKS, a new CGI children's animated series, has been licensed in multiple international territories. ITV has secured rights to the show in the U.K., with other licenses going to France's TF1, Australia's ABC, Mexico's Televisa S.A., Portugal's TVI and Star TV in Greece. Cable rights to SITTING DUCKS have been acquired by Canada's YTV and by the Nickelodeon Channel in Australia. In the Netherlands, the show will be shown exclusively on the SBS group of channels.
Last month Cartoon Network set new May total day ratings and delivery network records, posting double-digit ratings and delivery growth across households and all key kids demographics. Total day ratings grew 10% in households (1.1) as well as 10% for tweens 9-14 (1.1) and kids 2-11 (2.2), and 19% in kids 6-11 (1.9). Total day delivery increased 18% in households (767,000), 26% in tweens 9-14 (191,000), 31% in kids 6-11 (315,000) and 28% in kids 2-11 (616,000).
Taipei-based SMEC Media & Entertainment has acquired the animated TV rights for Wang Du-Lu's CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON book series on which the hit Sony Classics feature was based. The deal with Vista Publishing Group also gives the Chinese production house the right to produce an animated feature and home video. SMEC is currently pitching the idea around Hollywood. Alexis Wallrich, head of SMEC's U.S. offices in Pasadena, said to Variety, "The source material is a gold mine of fantastic stories and characters.
Nickelodeon has announced its new programming schedule for the summer. Beginning Monday, July 2, at 8 pm, SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS will join the primetime line-up. SpongeBob will host Nickelodeon's annual "Summer Splash," a daily, three-hour animation marathon beginning Monday, June 18, airing weekday afternoons from 2-5 pm. The "Summer Splash" line-up will include RUGRATS on Mondays; ROCKETPOWER on Tuesdays; THE WILD THORNBERRYS on Wednesdays; HEY ARNOLD! on Thursdays; and CATDOG on Fridays. Starting Monday, June 18, Nick Jr.
Leading independent animation house Film Roman has signed a deal to provide animation for the upcoming season of THE MAN SHOW on Comedy Central. The North Hollywood-based company will create graphics, title cards and over 30 animated bumpers for the show. The 5-10 second bumpers feature THE MAN SHOW mascot, Uncle Phil in various "manly" situations like barbecuing and sleeping on the couch.
Hoping that the worlds television audience pays more attention than the movie-going audience has, the folks controlling the rights to L. Ron Hubbard's novel BATTLEFIELD EARTH are bringing the epic science fiction adventure to TV. Hollywood-based Author Services, Inc. (ASI), international representatives for all L.
Following on the success of Boomerang in the U.K., Cartoon Network will launch a similar programming block in Spain on June 2, 2001. Cartoon Networks Spanish channel will begin airing Boomerangs four-and-a-half-hour of classic cartoons every Saturday and Sunday. The block will include PIXIE AND DIXIE, ATOM ANT, HONG KONG PHOOEY, HUCKLEBERRY HOUND and YOGI BEAR. Turner Broadcasting launched the Spanish service of Cartoon Network in 2000.
Visual effects house Foundation Imaging, in conjunction with Tribune Entertainment, Microsoft and Fasa Corporation, has announced a deal to develop and produce a one-hour live-action adventure series based upon the hugely successful MECHWARRIOR franchise. Over its fifteen-year history, MECHWARRIOR, also known as BATTLETECH, has been adapted to video games, board games, location-based entertainment centers, books and other entertainment mediums.
Denmark's Egmont Imagination and A. Film are developing a TV series based on the successful Danish theatrical feature film HELP! IM A FISH. HELP! I'M A FISH is a 3D/traditionally animated film about a trio of kids who after becoming transformed into fish race time to find a way to become human again before it's too late. A. Film partner Stefan Fjeldmark wrote and co-directed the film with Michael Hegner. Fjeldmark was nominated for an Oscar for his work on the short WHEN LIFE DEPARTS. When HELP!
Its the ultimate game of cat and mouse when Cartoon Network presents the 12-hour TOM AND JERRY SLAMFEST on Memorial Day, May 28, 2001 from 8 am to 8 pm (ET/PT). Tom and Jerry, two of the most beloved combatants in animation history, have earned seven Academy Awards over their storied career with their legendary dustups. TOM AND JERRY SLAMFEST will show more than 70 cartoons, including the Cartoon Network premiere of THE MANSION CAT, a short that TOM AND JERRY co-creator Joe Barbera developed with Cartoon Network in 2000.
MTV has announced its 2001 slate of animated projects, which includes two green-lit animated comedy series and a full roster of other series in development. These shows represent the networks most ambitious move yet into the world of animation, teaming MTV with an A-list of writers, artists and producers. CLONE HIGH follows the lives of four present day high school characters that happen to be cloned from the extracted DNA of some of the most important men and women in history.
Leading independent animation production house Film Roman, Inc. announced on Tuesday, May 15, 2001, that one of its Web short, HAIRBALLS, has been picked up by MTV for development into a TV series. HAIRBALLS is an animated dark comedy with a satirical twist on the classic "cat and mouse" cartoon story. The Web toon was created by Doug Lawrence (REN AND STIMPY) and developed by Eric Radomski, creative head of animation and executive producer for Film Roman's Website, LEVEL13.NET. The short won an Honorable Mention at the 2000 Playboy Animation Contest and an Annie Award nomination in 2000.
FUNimation Productions Ltd. announced its new DRAGON BALL TV series will debut June 25, 2001 on the Cartoon Network, airing Monday through Friday at 5:30 pm ET. DRAGON BALL is the prequel to the DRAGON BALL Z series, #1 on the Cartoon Network's Toonami Block and #1 on the Internet, according to Lycos. Gen Fukunaga, President of FUNimation, also announced that new episodes of DRAGON BALL Z will begin airing on the Cartoon Network beginning September 3, 2001. Like DRAGON BALL Z, the new DRAGON BALL series was a smash hit in Japan before being produced for the U.S. and other countries.
On May 17, 2001, from 9 am to 12 pm (ET/PT), Cartoon Network will air a special presentation of Acme Hour featuring cartoon versions of classic fairy tales. The three-hour special features cartoons based on childhood favorites like LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD, THE THREE LITTLE PIGS, CINDERELLA and JACK AND THE BEANSTALK from renowned directors such as Chuck Jones, Friz Freleng and Robert Clampett. For more information visit CartoonNetwork.com
On June 13, 2001, Cartoon Network will air the most complete retrospective ever offered of the wascally wabbit, Bugs Bunny, during the ninth annual JUNE BUGS marathon. Cartoon Network is now the exclusive TV home to Looney Tunes and celebrates by launching its biggest JUNE BUGS celebration ever, a 49-hour marathon which starts at 11 pm (ET/PT) on June 1, 2001 and runs through 12 midnight on Sunday, June 3, 2001. Overall, Cartoon Network will air 176 Bugs Bunny cartoons during JUNE BUGS, including 55 cartoons making their Cartoon Network debut.
New holiday adventures of THE WILD THORNBERRYS and poignant favorites of RUGRATS and HEY, ARNOLD! will sweeten the Mothers Day mix on Nickelodeon. Moms the word on Nickelodeon, May 10 - 13, 2001 when a quartet of live-action and animated series will sing her praises with all-new and favorite offerings. Episode premieres will chronicle the life-saving Mother's Day exploits of filmmaker Marianne in THE WILD THORNBERRYS ("Gem of a Mom," Thursday, May 10 at 8 pm; repeats May 12 at 6:30 pm and May 13 at noon).
Head Gear Animation creative partners Steve Angel and Julian Grey have begun the creation of five minutes of animation for SESAME WORKSHOP. Working with Frank Campagna and Lisa Annunziata of the New York-based international division of SESAME STREET, the Head Gear directors will create original stories that fall within the SESAME STREET curriculum goals. Angel and Grey will develop their own pieces, but they have contracted directors Drew Lightfoot, Neil Burns and Isaac King to round out the five minutes.
The Childrens BBC (CBBC) has announced the acquisition of 52 episodes of BKNs half-hour animated series UBOS (formerly ULTIMATE BOOK OF SPELLS). CBBC plans to begin airing the series in Fall 2001. The story begins when friends Cassy, Gus and Verne discover the Ultimate Book Of Spells, which takes them on a journey to the Earths center, where they must use their special powers to thwart the evil wizard, Zarlak.
Fox Kids Latin America, the pan-regional children's channel, will be airing a series of special animation viewer packages in June, 2001, including "Insomnio," a late-night block of both animation and live-action classic television series, as well as "Digithon," a special marathon screening of every episode of the hit "Digimon" anime series. "Insomnio," which debuts on June 11, will showcase everything from the best of Marvel animation series to classic WOODY WOODPECKER cartoons.
Animagic Entertainment has begun production on BALLOONATIKS, a new comic-action adventure CGI series being produced by The Krislin Company. The first episode is slated to show in October 2001 at MIPCOM. According to series producer Walk Kubiak (TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES, THE SMURFS), We have successfully developed a 3D look that challenges in quality and richness any high-end CGI-produced feature film, while working within the constraints of a typical Saturday morning budget. Grammy award-winner Ray Parker Jr. composed the theme song and will provide music for the series.
Fox Kids Network has announced that the new animated series MEDABOT will be joining their Fall 2001 lineup. Fox has ordered 26 episodes of the show, being produced by Nelvana Limited, in association with NAS/Kodansha. The series is set in 2122 A.D., when every kid owns a high performance Medabot, a pet robot with artificial intelligence and strength exclusively controlled by its owner. Kids compete with each other in Robattles pitting Medabot against Medabot. MEDABOT sets the standard for robot-themed action series, said Toper Taylor, president, Nelvana Communications.
Sony Pictures Family Entertainment has begun production on HAROLD AND THE PURPLE CRAYON, a new animated series scheduled for a December 2001 premier on HBO Family. Academy Award nominee Sharon Stone is set to narrate the series. Based on the classic children's book by Crocket Johnson, the simple characters and situations will be illustrated using cel animation. The series will feature all new characters and situations, as well as those which have appeared in the first book.
According to an article in VARIETY, the six stars of THE SIMPSONS are signing deals worth a reported $100,000 per episode. The new contracts reportedly will pay Dan Castellaneta, Hank Azaria, Harry Shearer, Yeardley Smith, Julie Kavner and Nancy Cartwright $2.2 million per season for the next two seasons, with an option for a third season of 22 episodes at $125,000 per episode. Currently, each of the actors makes $70,000 per episode, a significant jump up from the $25,000 per episode they were making in 1998, when they threatened to leave the show unless they received substantial raises.
On Sunday, May 13, Cartoon Network will present JOHNNY BRAVO'S MOTHER'S DAY MAMA-THON, a 7-hour tribute to the Lady Who Brought Us the Sultan of Self Regard, His Mama. During the Mama-Thon, which runs from 12-7 pm (ET/PT), viewers can witness the many facets of Mama's personality, including disciplinarian (she wields a paddle in PREP SCHOOL JOHNNY), protector (leading a team of commandos to the mall to rescue her beloved son in LAW AND DISORDER), and even diva (Mama does a Marilyn Monroe impression in DUDE RANCH DOOFUS).
International television program distributor Rai Trade has announced the launch of THE ADVENTURES OF MARCO AND GINO, a new Eurovision series produced by the European Broadcasting Union (EBU). Budgeted for 10 million Euros, the series is co-funded by nine members of the Geneva-based EBU: BBC (UK), France Television (France), TVE (Spain), RTP (Portugal), RTBF (Belgium), SSR (Switzerland), ZDF (Germany), ORF (Austria) and Rai (Italy), as well as non-member France Animation. Rai Trade will have distribution rights to all countries except those of the other eight co-producers.