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Studio Headline News

Mocap Studio Opens at UCF

Vicon Ent.'s Los Angeles-based House of Moves has launched a new state-of-the art motion-capture studio at the University of Central Florida on the grounds of the Florida Interactive Entertainment Academy, UCF's graduate video-game development school. The 3,500-square-foot studio, one of the largest on the East Coast, is described by House of Moves executives as a "world-class facility" for industry professionals and academia.

Headline News

PLG Signs Horrid Toy Deal

Copyright Promotions Licensing Group (CPLG) has announced a master toy deal with re:creation for Novel Ent.'s animated series HORRID HENRY.

The deal takes HENRY beyond the regular "boys" range with the development of innovative and engaging cross-gender products that reflect the protagonist's mischievous and spontaneous nature. The line will be launched at Toy Fair.

Headline News

New Rigging Book Puts Muscle in CG

Award-winning 3D animator TJ Galda announces the publication of ADVANCED CHARACTER RIGGING, the first of a new series of books on the subject. The initial book explains how to create muscles and tendons using computer graphics software such as Autodesk's Maya, and is designed to make the techniques as accessible as possible, so that even beginners can create and animate lifelike muscles for their animated characters. ADVANCED CHARACTER RIGGING is available through digital publishing site and major outlets such as Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Headline News

Cuppa Coffee Eyes U.S. for Zoo

Having secured a first-season run of 20 half-hours for its new animated reality series LIFE'S A ZOO on Canada's TELETOON, Cuppa Coffee Studios has now set its sights on the U.S. The new stop-motion show aimed at teens and up delivers a new spin on the reality television genre while also pushing a distinctly indie-music angle.

Friends Headline News

Hit Ent. Signs Ozzie Toy Co. for Thomas

Leading independent kids producer HIT Ent. has announced the appointment of Funtastic Limited as the THOMAS & FRIENDS Trackmaster Distribution Partner for Australia. Funtastic will oversee the transition from the THOMAS & FRIENDS Motor Road and Rail track system to the new Trackmaster play system, which is due for launch in 2009. Funtastic will also continue to distribute the Tomy THOMAS & FRIENDS Pre-School Range.

Series Headline News

Al Jazeera Gets Prehistoric

Arabic broadcaster Al Jazeera has adapted Barcelona-based Cromosoma's kids series about a young dinosaur for its children's channel, C21 MEDIA reports.

Al Jazeera bought 12 episodes of TOM, marking the latest addition to Cromosoma's output deal with Al Jazzera Children's Channel (JCC). Previous acquisitions include THE TRIPLETS, JUANITO JONES, MINIMAN and THE BABY TRIPLETS.

The companies worked together to modify the series in accordance with Arab cultural and social standards, although some episodes were excluded in the interest of creative integrity.

Headline News

Bazay Departs Decode

Decode Ent.'s longtime head of distribution Dominique Bazay is leaving the company to join Astral Media's Quebec-based kids channel Vrak.TV as VP of programming, reports C21 MEDIA.

Decode partner Neil Court was philosophical about the loss. "If you have to lose an employee, it makes it a little easier if they are going to a broadcaster. We're losing an incredible executive, but we're gaining a client," he said.

Decode's international sales team will take over for Bazay in the short term, with a new appointment likely soon.

Headline News

Viva Pinata Explodes with Licensing Deals

4Kids Ent. Int'l has racked up a number of new deals for CGI series VIVA PINATA, reports KIDSCREEN. New merchandisers include BBS (party paperware for all of Europe), Zap (duvet sets, curtains, towels, fleece blankets, bean bags, valance sheets, and rugs for the U.K. and Ireland), Aventure Diffusion (shoes, boots and slippers in France), France's Benjamin (socks) and GB Eye (posters for the U.K. and Ireland).

VIVA PINATA currently can be seen on Nicktoons and GMTV2 in the U.K. and France 3, as well as networks in Spain, Germany, Norway, Benelux, Switzerland and the U.S.

Disney Headline News

New Musical Brings Toy Story to Life

Disney Cruise Line will transform TOY STORY into a stage spectacular aboard the Disney Wonder cruise ship when TOY STORY -- THE MUSICAL makes its debut at the Walt Disney Theatre this spring. This is the first time the popular Disney-Pixar classic has been adapted for the stage.

Following the storyline of the original film, TOY STORY -- THE MUSICAL will give the audience a toy's-eye view of life in Andy's room, exploring the true meaning of friendship as Buzz Lightyear and Woody transform from jealous adversaries to best friends with an unbreakable bond.

Ratings Headline News

Transformers Animated Gives CN New Year's Boost

Cartoon Network launched into 2008 with the half-hour original series premiere of TRANSFORMERS ANIMATED (Saturday, Jan. 5, 10:30 am), charting impressive double-digit delivery and ratings gains among key kid demos and ranking #1 in its time period versus all broadcast and cable competition with boys 6-11 and boys 2-11. The results are based on preliminary data from Nielsen Media Research.

Headline News

GoFish Lands Distribution Deal with MTV

Leading youth entertainment and Internet video network GoFish Corp. announced today that it has entered into a strategic partnership to offer premier video content from several MTV Networks brands for ad-supported viewing on GoFish is one of a select group of third-party video platforms that will distribute content online from Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon, VH1, CMT, Logo, The N, Spike TV, AtomFilms and GameTrailers.

Headline News

Backyardigans Go Medieval

Nickelodeon's THE BACKYARDIGANS will take multiple medieval musical journeys through a new hour-long primetime TV movie, a new CD release, and the launch of a new 50-city live theatrical tour. The movie, TALE OF THE MIGHTY KNIGHTS, will premiere Monday, Jan. 14 at 7:00 pm ET/PT; the CD, BORN TO PLAY, from Nickelodeon/Sony BMG, will be available Jan. 22; and "The Backyardigans Live! Tale of the Mighty Knights" in partnership with Live Nation, will begin on March 28.

Nickelodeon Headline News

Corus Gets Nick Digital Rights

Leading Canadian media company Corus Ent. Inc. and MTV Networks Int'l (MTVNI) today announced plans to extend their multi-year broadcast partnership for Nickelodeon content to encompass all digital rights for Nickelodeon and related brands, covering broadcast, broadband, mobile, video-on-demand, pay-per-view, electronic sell-through and gaming. Under one new multi-platform agreement, Corus will have Canadian rights across all media for TV properties including SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS and DORA THE EXPLORER.

Headline News

Calon Expands Creative Development Team

Cardiff-based Calon, one of Britain's largest independent animation companies, has announced the hiring of Rolant Tomos as development executive, working directly with head of development Andrew Offiler. He will also be working alongside children's live-action producer Peter Murphy on Calon's live-action projects.

Headline News

KidsCo's Footprint Grows

New channel KidsCo, which is jointly owned by NBC Universal, Corus Ent. and DIC Ent., has added the Philippines, Indonesia, South Korea, Hong Kong, South Africa and the Middle East to its territory coverage, reports KIDSCREEN.

Launched on Sky Cable in the Philippines and on Showtime DTH satellite in the Middle East on January 1, the network will begin service in other Asian territories on March 20, with a South African launch planned for August 2008. It will also add the Ukraine to its Eastern European territories in the spring.

Headline News

Military To Get Early Look at Sarah Connor

FOX Broadcasting Co. and Warner Bros. International Television Distribution have partnered with the American Forces Network (AFN) to preview TERMINATOR: THE SARAH CONNOR CHRONICLES for America's service personnel stationed overseas.

The unprecedented sneak preview of the pilot episode will air on AFNprime Monday, Jan. 14 (9:00 pm viewer time), within hours after the network premiere Sunday, Jan. 13 (8:00 pm ET/PT) on FOX.

Show Headline News

Little Princess Toys To Debut

Independent producer/distributor TV-Loonland and Martin Yaffe International, the Master Toy Licensee for The Illuminated Film Co.'s preschool show LITTLE PRINCESS, will showcase the new Spring/Summer products and Autumn/Winter '08 lines at Toy Fair 2008, Jan. 30 - Feb. 2. The first range of LITTLE PRINCESS toys will then launch in stores at the end of Feb.