BUTT UGLY MARTIANS producer Mike Young Productions is bringing a new series to the small screen. THE CURLY TALES OF PIGGLEY WINKS, 26 half-hour episodes aimed at pre-schoolers, is based on original stories by Irish writer Denise Fitzpatrick and is being produced with London-based Entara Limited. The CGI animated PIGGLEY WINKS features the voice of Irish actor Colm Meaney as Grandpa Piggley, whose comic stories of childhood adventures in rural Ireland form the basis of the series.
MTV Networks, a division of Viacom Inc., is launching Nicktoons TV, a new 24-hour channel for kids, along with three new music channels -- MTV Jams, MTV Hits and VH1 Mega Hits. Nicktoons TV will offer 24-hours a day of Nickelodeon animation, featuring everything from classic Nick originals like DOUG and REN & STIMPY to more recent offerings like JIMMY NEUTRON. Nicktoons TV will replace Nick Too in some areas on the West Coast. Cablevision is the first operator to sign on for Nicktoons TV, adding it and MTV Hits to their digital service line-up.
Atomic Cartoons has produced a pilot of its irreverent property DIRTY LIL BASTER for Canadian broadcaster CBCs new late-night program ZeD. DIRTY LIL BASTER centers on a naked, half-baked rooster and a gawky, oversized alligator locked in a battle of good vs. evil. DIRTY LIL BASTER is one of 12 pilots produced for ZeD, chosen from over 1000 submissions. The show is scheduled to air April 2, 2002.
As part of Oxygen's "Addicted To Love" week, the cable network will premiere BEHIND THE KISS, a one-hour special created by animator Corky Quakenbush. Created in stop-motion animation, this special features a spoof of talk show host Charlie Rose interviewing actors Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts, Meg Ryan, Barbra Streisand, Richard Gere, Ellen DeGeneres and Julie Andrews at the premieres of Hollywood movie parodies, including XENA, WARRIOR PRINCESS DIARIES, ROMEO AND J. LOET, AN OFFICER AND A YENTLMAN, HANNIBAL: YOU'VE GOT MEAL and BITANIC.
MR. BEAN, the eccentric character created by writer/actor Rowan Atkinson, is set for his animated television debut, March 2, 2002 on UK channel ITV1 beginning at 5:50 pm. After previously bringing Bean to life in a live-action series and a feature film, Atkinson was closely involved with the animated version of his character as well. "As a live-action character, Mr. Bean always possessed a cartoon-like quality," said Atkinson, who was filmed for every episode of the series so animators could use his distinct movements when creating the animated MR. BEAN.
To honor Chuck Jones (1912-2002) great cartoon legacy, Cartoon Network's all-classic satellite network, Boomerang will host a 24-hour tribute to the legendary creator beginning Friday, March 1, 2002. Featuring many of the beloved Looney Tunes shorts and characters he created over his 60-year career, the marathon will run 8:00 am Friday, March 1 to 8:00 am Saturday, March 2. In addition to screening his classic Warner Bros.
Are you ready for more Smurfs? Because it looks like IMPS, the Belgian company that owns the worldwide license for Smurfs merchandising, is planning to create a new series of the cuddly blue creatures in Smurfy 3D. According to A&A computer systems, the technology provider to IMPS, the company is working on a pilot for a new Smurf series, which will possibly be produced in 3D. An IMPS representative stated that 3D "offers tremendous creative possibilities that have so far been unused in the Smurfs' cartoon world."
Animated battling robots series MEDABOTS will have its U.K. television premiere on Fox Kids UK starting February 18, 2002. The 52 half-hour episodes, produced by Corus-owned Nelvana Ltd. in association with NAS/Kodansha and TV Tokyo, are set in a technologically advanced future where every child owns a "Medabot," a pet robot fuelled with artificial intelligence and an arsenal of weapons.
Canadian network CTV has picked up a second season of the Studio B Productions series DMYNA LEAGUES. The show chronicles the misadventures of a baseball team comprised of teenaged myna birds, and its new season will premiere on CTV Saturdays at 11:00 am (ET) beginning February 23, 2002.
Kids' WB! has announced it will pick-up five animated series for its fall 2002 line-up. Beginning its fifth season, 52 all-new episodes of 4Kids Productions POKÉMON: MASTER QUEST will air six days a week. Both Sony Pictures Family Entertainments JACKIE CHAN ADVENTURES and X-MEN: EVOLUTION, produced by Marvel Studios in association with Film Roman, return for their third seasons, with 13 new episodes each.
A Fox network representative confirmed that FUTURAMA has not been renewed for the 2003 - 2004 season. The Annie Award winning comedy series from Matt Groening was renewed in January 2001 for 18 episodes and a 4th season. Those episodes have all been completed by production company Rough Draft and will air during the next year. The network says there is a possibility they will order more episodes, but the current plan is to air only what they have.
Boomerang UK is adding more classic cartoon characters to its ranks. 30 half-hours of PRIME TIME PEANUTS SPECIALS and 18 half-hours of THE CHARLIE BROWN SHOW have been acquired by the network from Patrick Sinfield Ltd. The Charlie Brown series join Boomerangs recent acquisitions THUNDERBIRDS, THE PINK PANTHER and DANGERMOUSE. "This is another very valuable acquisition for Boomerang as Snoopy's appeal spans generations and is an extremely well-known franchise," said Jo Sweby, acquisition manager for Cartoon Network Europe. The shows will launch in August.
The Kids' WB! is planning a celebrity guest appearance and special two-part episodes of some of its most popular Saturday morning shows in the month of February. STATIC SHOCK will feature NBA superstar Shaquille ONeal in an animated guest appearance. In "Static Shaq," airing Saturday, February 16 (8:30 am ET/7:30 am PT), Shaq pays a visit to Virgil and his dad but a ruthless meta-human gang makes it difficult for Virgil to keep his Static status a secret from his new friend.
Disneys Classic Treasures Crosses The Alps. Buena Vista International Television has added Austrian terrestrial broadcaster ORF and Telepool Zurich in Switzerland to its list of licensees for the "Classic Treasures" package of Disney and Disney/Pixar films. For the first time, viewers in these territories will be able to watch popular animated films on terrestrial television. The package includes A BUG'S LIFE, MULAN, HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME, TOY STORY and TOY STORY 2.
Tape House Toons has completed 16-seconds of animation that transforms Melissa Joan Hart of The WB! television program SABRINA THE TEENAGE WITCH into an animated character. In the episode, which airs February 1, 2002 at 8:00 pm, a hex is put on Sabrina and she is turned into an animated character who careens around the live-action set until the hex is removed and she returns to normal. Don McGrath co-directed and animated the sequences. Richard Codor did character design, storyboarding and co-directed, and David Lipson was executive producer.
The January 26, 2002 episode of SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE, a rebroadcast of a November 2001 Gwyneth Paltrow-hosted show, will contain a new, never-before-aired cartoon by Wachtenheim/Marianetti Animation. "Harry the Embryonic Stem Cell," written by Robert Smigel and Louis C.K., is a humorous look at the debate surrounding this contentious issue. Designed and animated by Wachtenheim/Marianetti, the piece also spoofs Britney Spears. If you have ever wondered what a right-wing, Christian Coalition cartoon might look like, be sure to catch this episode of SNL!
Silver Lining Productions Ltd. and Millimages have developed a script for a television holiday special based on ILL BE HOME FOR CHRISTMAS, the most recent edition in the TOOT & PUDDLE childrens book series written and illustrated by Holly Hobbie. The production team is also in development on a 26-part animated series based on the complete collection of TOOT & PUDDLE books. The companies are seeking broadcaster interest at the NATPE 2002 show.
A judgement was recently rendered by a Stockholm Chamber of Commerce arbitrator that Swedish animation house Happy Life violated copyright and was in breach of contract when it produced a second series of the animated show LISA. The dispute between LISA creator Magnus Carlsson and his former employers ended in his favor on December 21, 2001 after a six-month long arbitration process.
In addition to committing to a new SPIDER-MAN series and the college satire THE FRESHMAN, MTV has signed on for a third animated series due in Fall 2002. Corus Entertainment's Nelvana and MTV will co-produce the animated comedy series CLONE HIGH. Taking a tongue-in-cheek approach to science and history, the series features cloned historical figures, dead celebrities and musicians as high school students facing the pressures of being modern teenagers while attempting to live up to the legacy of their DNA donors.
Kids' WB! announced the production and pick-up of ALL NEW SCOOBY-DOO! THE ANIMATED SERIES (working title) and OZZIE & DRIX, a new animated series based on the Warner Bros. feature film OSMOSIS JONES. The latest incarnation of the Scooby-Doo animated series from Warner Bros. Animation is a joint pick-up by Kids WB! and Cartoon Network and is slated to debut on Kids WB! in Fall 2002 and will air subsequently in the 2002-2003 season on Cartoon Network. Kids WB!
INITIAL D is the tent pole of several newly acquired properties international distributor TOKYOPOP will showcase at NATPE 2002. An unassuming tofu delivery boy becomes addicted to street racing in this Japanese import, which has already spawned a theatrical animated film and sold over 30 million graphic novels in its native country. Call it the animated FAST AND THE FURIOUS. TOKYOPOP will also present REIGN, a sci-fi fantasy take on the ancient world of Alexander the Great featuring character and concept design from Peter Chung, creator of MTVs AEON FLUX.
International production and distribution giant TV-Loonland has again joined forces with German broadcaster ZDF for two new co-production ventures, SOMETHING ELSE and RUDI (working title). This partnership follows the previous TV-Loonland/ZDF co-production of the animated series PETTSON AND FINDUS and the upcoming LITTLE GHOSTS.
Vancouver animation studio Atomic Cartoons is in Las Vegas for NATPE 2002 with a collection of proprietary properties. Their catalogue includes the original program ATOMIC BETTY and the Internet show DOG IN A BOX WITH 2 WHEELS, an offbeat animated comedy series about a randy little dog with wheels for hind legs. Dog has devoted his life to vigilante justice after a senile geriatric ruined his life in a freak oxygen tank/cigarette-smoking accident. The series is geared towards an older audience, teens and young adults, in an 11 x 26 format.
Yes, its true. Nickelodeon has confirmed the cancellation of Emmy and Annie award-winning series INVADER ZIM. A statement from Nick says the reason for the cancellation was poor ratings from their core demographic (kids age 2 to 11). The network will be wrapping the series after completing 26 of the originally contracted 40 episodes. INVADER ZIM premiered on Nickelodeon in March 2001 and was renewed with a 20-episode commitment in August of that year. The show posted strong ratings for its premiere episode, with a 6.0 rating/17 share (about 1.8 million viewers) among kids 2 to 11.