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.
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.
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.
UNDERGRADS, a new animated series, will premier on MTV this Sunday, April 22, at 8 pm. Co-produced by Torontos Decode and MTV Animation, the series launch also includes a Website featuring Flash animated series out-takes, interactive animated games, character home pages, downloadable applications, weekly video clips, message boards and a chat area. Decode, which also owns the international television and video distribution rights, is launching a companion UNDERGRADS Web page for the international market.
In celebration of the tenth anniversary of the series, Nickelodeon will be broadcasting a special viewer's all-time 10 favorites RUGRATS marathon on Saturday, April 21, from 4:30 pm - 8 pm ET/PT. During the months of January through March, the network aired every episode of the series every produced. Viewers were invited to rate each episode on Nick.com. Voter tallies will determine the top 10 episodes. The top 10 will air in order, with the all-time favorite episode airing immediately preceeding the Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards.
Leading independent animation house Film Roman announced five new half-hour, animated properties at MIP on Monday, April 2, 2001. The new series include John Waters' PATENT LEATHER DREAMHOUSE, Norman Lear's 'TIL THE FAT LADY SINGS, HAIRBALLS, ZIPPY THE PINHEAD and TRIPPING THE RIFT. According to Peter Schankowitz, president of programming and development, "Our MIP slate reflects Film Roman's ability to partner with well known talent like John Waters and Norman Lear, as well as to develop our own properties in-house.
Cartoon Network scored the highest first-quarter prime time ratings and delivery performance of its history, landing in fourth place among all ad-supported cable networks, with a 1.7 prime household rating. The January-March '01 quarter also saw the largest net gain (177,000) in total day delivery among all ad-supported cable networks. Additionally, the network charted double-digit increases among households and all key demographics for total day rating and delivery, earning fourth place for the quarter, with a 1.1 total day rating.
Bolstered by year-to-year quarterly growth across all kid and tween demos and strong performances of the four new series launched since January, Nickelodeon was the number-one basic cable network in the first quarter of 2001. The network averaged a 4.5/24 (1.4 million average kid viewers) among its primary kids 2-11 demo during the "Kids Day," up 3 percent in rating and 8 percent in delivery as compared to last year.
DIRECTV Latin America announced on Friday, April 6, 2001 the official debut of the Disney Channel to all DIRECTV subscribers in Brazil. The Disney Channel is a new, 24-hour Portuguese television network with entertainment for kids and families created specially for the Brazilian market. The Disney programming block includes exclusive and original productions, a two-hour live, daily show, movies, animated and live-action series, concerts and special events.
John Kricfalusi's WEEKEND PUSSY HUNT is just one of many Webisodes scheduled to be shown this coming Sunday, April 15, on the premier of MTV DOWNLOADED. Hosted by Gimpy, one of the stars of the upcoming MTV animation series UNDERGRADS, MTV DOWNLOADED will showcase a number of Webtoons, including Joe Cartoon's SUPERFLY II, Aardman Animations' ANGRY KID, Mondo Media's HAPPY TREE FRIENDS and HEAVY METAL GUY, BullsEyeart's MISS MUFFY and Film Roman's HAIRBALLS. Following the 9 pm (ET/PT) premier, viewers will be able to log-on to mtv.com to watch, review and rate each complete Webisode.
IMagicTV, a provider of software products that allow telephone companies and other service providers to deliver multi-channel television and interactive media services, announced on Tuesday, April 3, 2001, that it has entered into a syndication agreement with AtomShockwave Corp. Under this agreement, AtomShockwave's film and animation brand, AtomFilms, will license and manage short film content for iMagicTV, providing customers with new short film titles each month, each with a 60-day licensing window.
Cartoon Network plans to clean out their vaults and uncork a two-day, 20-hour "The Best We GoT" new and classic cartoon marathon on April 14 and 15, 2001. The marathon will showcase the best classic cartoons on Saturday, April 14, while on Sunday, April 15, the best cartoons from Cartoon Network's acclaimed original animation series will air. "The Best We GoT" will air from 12-10 p.m. (ET, PT) each day. More than 110 cartoons from Cartoon Network's vast archives of more than 8,000 animated titles will air.