One more avenue for Web content to make the jump to TV is dead. ABC has pulled the plug after only one airing of the series DOT COMEDY, which aired comedic shorts from the Internet. The Friday, December 8 broadcast scored a 2.8 rating/5 share -- one of the worst ratings for a regularly scheduled program in ABC history. The show's immediate replacement until January will be repeats of the live-action comedy TWO GUYS AND A GIRL, then the fourth installment of WHO WANTS TO BE A MILLIONAIRE will take the slot.
UPN will finally premiere the long-in-the-works GARY & MIKE stop-motion animated series. The series will begin airing Friday, January 12, 2001 at 8 pm. In a major show of support for the toon, a special preview episode will air on Thursday, January 11, 2001 at 9:30 pm following UPN's top rated show WWF SMACKDOWN!
Mainframe Entertainment, Inc. and Studio B Productions have announced their first co-development project for television entitled SURF N TURF. The traditional cel and CGI animated series is a multiple segment comedy property created by Amanda Connor and Jim Palmiotti. In 1991, Palmiotti began his career with Marvel Comics and has since worked for DC Comics and Fleer on such titles as SUPERMAN, BATMAN THE MOVIE and KID DEATH AND ASH, which has been optioned for a feature film by DreamWorks SKG. Connor's work can be seen in MAD MAGAZINE, THE NEW YORK TIMES and BARBIE FASHION.
The primetime animation champion once again was THE SIMPSONS at #25 with a 9.7 rating/15 share. CBS' Tuesday 8 pm broadcast of RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER placed #38 with an 8.3 rating/13 share. In a two-way tie for 46th place, KING OF THE HILL garnered a 7.5 rating/12 share. The Wednesday 8 pm SIMPSONS special tied three ways for #64 with a 5.6 rating/9 share. ABC's Saturday 8 pm airing of MICKEY'S CHRISTMAS CAROL sung home a 4.3 rating/8 share. On Friday at 8:30 pm on ABC, DOT COMEDY, featuring Webtoons from BunnyGrenade.com and Oxygen.com, netted a 2.8 rating/5 share.
On Wednesday, December 6,
2000, Comedy Central will start an eight-week run of comedian Robert
Smigel's TV FUNHOUSE, a live-action satire of 1950s children's shows
including twisted cartoons. Animated shorts include "Wonderman," a
superhero who uses his super powers to line-up dates for his alter
ego and "The Baby, The Immigrant and the Guy on Mushrooms," each of
whom always says, "Ahhhhhh." "I get a lot of pleasure out of writing
things that maybe I couldn't have WRITTEN when I was 10 years old,
The first two-hour installment of the Sci-Fi Channel's mini-series FRANK HERBERT'S DUNE broke the network's ratings records. The Sunday, December 3 9 pm broadcast scored a 4.6 rating and reached 3.06 million households. The final two installments aired on Monday and Tuesday at 9 pm. The previous record was set in June with the premiere of Sci-Fi's THE INVISIBLE MAN, which garnered a 2.4 rating in cable homes, reaching 1.534 million households. Sci-Fi has signed John Harrison, the writer-director of the first six-hour mini-series, to write and direct a sequel.
Fox's THE SIMPSONS scored increased numbers this past week with a 9 rating/13 share in a five way tie for 28th place. Specials ruled the animated field with CBS' broadcast of the Rankin/Bass classics FROSTY THE SNOWMAN and FROSTY RETURNS. The December 3 8 pm airing of FROSTY THE SNOWMAN garnered a 5.9 rating/11 share with the 8:30 follow-up broadcast of FROSTY RETURNS also pulling a 5.9 rating but with a 10 share. ABC's Sunday night animated specials were close behind with the 7:30 broadcast of TANGERINE BEAR: HOME IN TIME FOR CHRISTMAS receiving a 5.8 rating/9 share.
ABC is bringing Betty and Mickey Paraskevas' TANGERINE BEAR to primetime with a special animated holiday half-hour. HOME IN TIME FOR CHRISTMAS tells the tale of our teddy bear pal who goes unpurchased for Christmas and makes friends in a second-hand store. The special will air at 7:30 pm on Sunday, December 3, 2000 directly following the WINNIE THE POOH AND CHRISTMAS TOO! special. TANGERINE BEAR is based off the popular children's book by the mother and son duo and will feature the singing talents to Trisha Yearwood.
Toonz Animation India has announced that they have signed a production deal with Rainbow Animation Italy on a new animated TV series. The untitled toon tells the story of an 8-year-old boy named Tommy whom, along with his friend Yukari and a nervous alien, uses his uncles strange inventions to defeat the evil Caesar. Toonz Animation India CEO Bill Dennis said, "Toonz Animation is very eager to start the new project with Rainbow. The story is very fun and entertaining, but also has many important themes and lessons that are important for younger audiences.
Once again Fox's Sunday night back-to-back-to-back toon line-up ruled the primetime animation field. THE SIMPSONS claimed the highest finish at #36 with an 8.4 rating and a 12 share. KING OF THE HILL came in at #75 with a 4.7 rating/7 share, down 1.5 rating points from the previous week. FUTURAMA returned to its Sunday night 7 pm slot in 83rd place, with a 3.7 rating/6 share. THE PJS continues to struggle on the WB gaining a 1.7 rating/3 share. These ratings and shares represent primetime TV in the U.S.
Nickelodeon has ordered 26 additional episodes of their popular new preschool show DORA THE EXPLORER. The English/Spanish toon broke Nick Jr. debut records in August and has averaged 1.1 million viewers daily. "DORA THE EXPLORER was an instant success for both Nick Jr. and CBS," said Nick executive vice president and general manager Cyma Zarghami. "We are very proud to have created a strong Latina preschool role model that has been overwhelmingly embraced by our audiences."
Cartoon Network and Oscar winning TOM & JERRY creator Joe Barbera are finishing up the production of a new episode of the classic cartoon series. Barbera worked with SYLVESTER AND TWEETY veteran Karl Toerge to create the new adventure "Mansion Cat," which has the dueling duo wrecking havoc in an old mansion. Barbera even provided the voice of the mansion owner. The short will air as part of Cartoon Network U.K.'s New Year's Day 2001 24-hour TOM & JERRY marathon, which includes 161 MGM TOM & JERRY shorts. Fans of the series outside the U.K.
ABC has decided to redesign its Disney's One Saturday Morning line-up starting December 9, 2000. Instead of airing three half-hour series and interstitials during a two-hour programming block, they will air four half-hour episodes. This move will secure start times for all four series, which up until now floated around the two-hour window depending on the length of the various animated and live-action interstitials. Until their new series LLYOD IN SPACE joins the block in 2001, ABC will air TEACHER'S PET, WEEKENDERS and two episodes of RECESS.
On September 4, the new afternoon Monday-Thursday line-up will be unveiled with a "POKEMON Top 15 Countdown," highlighting the most popular characters selected by viewers. The three series set for the Monday-Thursday schedule are POKEMON, HISTERIA! and THE SYLVESTER & TWEETY MYSTERIES. The fourth spot will rotate throughout the fall, with series such as THE ZETA PROJECT and X-MEN: EVOLUTION.
THE SIMPSONS came in 39th place with an 8.5 rating and a 13 share. At #65, KING OF THE HILL earned a 6.2 rating and a 10 share. On the WB, THE PJS only grabbed a 1.4 rating and a 2 share in its Sunday 7:30 pm time slot. These ratings and shares represent primetime TV in the U.S. on broadcast networks for the week starting Monday, November 13 through Sunday, November 19, 2000. A rating is the percentage of households that tuned into the program in the entire universe of TV homes. The universe estimate for the 2000-2001 television season is 102.2 million TV homes.
Oxygen Media is in talks to secure the rerun rights to XENA: WARRIOR PRINCESS. XENA reruns currently air on USA Network and Sci-Fi Channel, but if Oxygen's deal closes they will have first airings of episodes from the 1999-2000 and 2000-2001 seasons. What Oxygen will have to dish money wise has yet to be released, but it might be quite a bit of cash considering that the series has other cable suitors. XENA: WARRIOR PRINCESS announced in October that it would end production at the end of this its sixth year.
KING OF THE HILL creators Greg Daniels and Mike Judge have teamed to develop a live-action series based off of the series' TV preacher Monsignor Martinez. Jim Dauterive, a supervising producer on KING, is set to produce the new show. Martinez is a recurring character on a TV soap that Peggy Hill and the rest of her family watch religiously. The spinoff would chronicle the vigilante adventures of the rough and tough priest. Insiders say that Fox TV is close to placing a script order for the series.
USA Network announced that it would air SINBAD: BEYOND THE VEIL OF MISTS, the first-ever 3D motion-capture animated feature. The movie will premiere on Thursday, November 30, 2000 at 8 pm ET/PT. SINBAD is the tale of the legendary Sinbad and his crew, who are recruited by a beautiful princess to travel beyond the forbidden Veil of Mists in a quest for the cure to an evil spell placed on the King.
Nickelodeon has ordered 26 additional episodes of LITTLE BILL, their daily preschool series created by Bill Cosby. BILL has scored strong rating for the network since its debut in November 1999, averaging a 7.9 rating/36 share among kids 2-5. Since airing on CBS' Saturday morning block in September, the series has averaged a 4.1 rating/16 share for Viacom-owned CBS. BILL chronicles the daily discoveries of an inquisitive 5-year-old, voiced by Xavier Prichett. The voice cast also includes Gregory Hines, Phylicia Rashad and Ruby Dee.
Walt Disney has added a new series, featuring Mickey Mouse and Disneys full roster of characters, entitled DISNEY'S HOUSE OF MOUSE to its 2001 ABC "Disneys One Saturday Morning" lineup. Roberts Gannaway and Tony Craig will executive produce DISNEY'S HOUSE OF MOUSE. The writer-animator team was responsible for returning Mickey Mouse to cartoon shorts with the 1999 premiere of DISNEYS MICKEY MOUSEWORKS, whose crew will mostly make up the talent on the new series.
Harvey Entertainment and Hartbreak Films are teaming up to develop a new live-action TV series for the WB based on the cartoon character Richie Rich. The show, however, will place a grown up Richie in college adapting to his new life as "the richest kid in the world" in a more normal environment. The project is a plan to strengthen WB's Friday night line-up, which currently is anchored by Hartbreak Films' SABRINA THE TEENAGE WITCH. This move adds another toon based live-action adaptation to the WB's fall 2001 line-up. The WB has already ordered 13-episodes of the Warner Bros.
West Virginia 3D animation house Destiny Images has wrapped on two 3D animated educational series entitled LETTER TV and MATH MONSTERS. Twenty-six 5-minute episodes of LETTER TV were produced for The Agency for Instructional Technology (AIT). Destiny wrote, directed and produced each episode, which is based on a separate letter in the English alphabet. The second season of LETTER TV is in production and will include letter combinations like "sh" and "th." For Math Monsters Inc., Destiny animated and designed 13 episodes of MATH MONSTERS.
Tiger Aspect, the producers of the international hit live-action series MR. BEAN, have awarded Varga Holdings the job of animating the new MR. BEAN cartoon series. Varga will create 52 eleven-minute episodes with London-based Richard Purdum Studios handling the design. Robin Driscoll, who served as the original writer on the live-action series, will be scribing the new toon version and Rowan Atkinson, who plays the live-action Bean, is involved closely with the production and will voice the animated character. The series is scheduled to air on ITB.
Disney has ordered 21 episodes of a new toon series entitled, LLOYD IN SPACE, to air as part of the "Disney's One Saturday Morning" line-up on ABC. From the creators of DISNEY'S RECESS and RUGRATS, the series is the coming of age tale of Lloyd, a space station-bound alien teenager. Set to debut in 2001, the show features the voices of Courtland Mead (NYPD BLUE), Diedrich Bader (THE DREW CAREY SHOW), Ben Stein (WIN BEN STEIN'S MONEY) and John O'Hurley (Mr. Peterman on SEINFELD).
Released on October 3, 2000, the direct-to-video SCOOBY-DOO AND THE ALIEN INVADERS will make its television debut after less than two months on video. Cartoon Network will air THE ALIEN INVADERS on November 25, 2000 at 7-9 pm in the U.S. This time around the Mystery, Inc. gang get stranded in a desert town and have a run in with less than friendly extra-terrestrials. This Thanksgiving weekend airing could help put the direct-to-video on Christmas lists around America.