After only two airings, ABC has cancelled Kevin Smiths animated TV series CLERKS. The teen-targeted toon debuted on May 31 with a poor rating of 5.2 and slipped to a 4.1 for its Tuesday, June 6 episode. Insiders say that ABC became initially scared of the toon when advertisers balked on its edgy humor. The series was original scheduled to be a 1999-2000 midseason replacement series. Advertising jitters may have lead to ABCs decision to make the toon a summer release, which drew much publicized heat from creator Kevin Smith [AWN 3/13/00].
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BKN International, a childrens animated series production, distribution and marketing company, announced their acquisition of France-based Arles Animation. Arles has worked on series such as WACKY WORLD OF TEX AVERY, SABRINA and SONIC UNDERGROUND. Arles credits itself as being the only studio in France with experience in managing and executing a two-episode per week schedule. The French firm has created work for DIC, TF1, Canal +, RTL and La Cinquieme.
TV veteran Larry Charles has been added to Columbia TriStars live-action TV version of THE TICK as an executive producer and show-runner. As part of the deal, Charles has extended his overall production-development pact with Columbia TriStar. Previously, Charles worked on SEINFELD and MAD ABOUT YOU and most recently executive produced Columbia TriStar's animated series DILBERT for UPN.
Z.com announced it will preview the upcoming NBC animated series SAMMY on the Web. This deal coincides with the Internet entertainment programming companys recent acquisition of Comedy.com. The series is loosely based on the real-life experiences of creator David Spade and his father. The seemingly unfunny plot line centers on Sammy, a deadbeat dad who abandoned his son, but comes back into the childs life once the son has become rich. The toon premieres on TV, July 25, 2000, with actors Maura Tierney (ER), Andy Dick (NEWSRADIO) and Spade providing voices.
Warner Bros. has announced THE OBLONGS will hit the Net before the network. Warner Bros. On-line will produce 25 30-second sketches based on the characters that will appear in the TV series in early 2001. THE OBLONGS follows five friends who develop abnormal physical and emotional attributes after extensive exposure to a local industrial waste dump. The OBLONGS MOMENTS Webisodes will roll out on the newly designed Warner Bros. On-line next month. To coincide with the Web sketches, Warner will launch interactive games and behind-the-scenes info about the series.
Noggin, the new network from Nickelodeon and the Children's Television Workshop, has announced it has greenlit three new animated series. The new projects will converge the educational opportunities of the Internet and TV and target the higher end of the channel's demographic of kids 6 to 12. Two of the projects will be produced by SCHOOLHOUSE ROCK creator, Geomar Philms. The first, THE MARTAINS ARE COMING! THE MARTAINS ARE COMING!, will follow a time-traveling rock band who will draw connections between seemingly unrelated events in history like science and literature.
Using proprietary motion-capture software and creative partnerships, Protozoas DotComix is quickly becoming a force on the Internet. Lee Dannacher offers an inside peak.
Pokemon has caught new deals with several eastern European countries and renewals from around the rest of the continent. New locations of Pokemon infestation include Polsat in Poland, RTL-Klub in Hungary, Nova in Czech Republic, ETV in South Africa and Fox Kids Scandinavia Satelite service. The countries that renewed the second seasons 52-episodes were TV2 in Denmark, TV2 in Norway, TV4 in Sweden, Star Channel in Greece and RTL in Belgium.
VanHook Studios, a Hollywood-based effects and animation house, has ventured into cyberspace with a new episodic program for whatsonweb.com. VanHook has worked on the visual effects for such features as MY FAVORITE MARTIAN and 13TH WARRIOR and TV series ALLY MCBEAL, ZENA, HERCULES and MAX STEEL. The first series to hit whatsonweb.com will be the fantasy series KIRA: THE CURSED, staring adult film star Kylie Ireland. "Kylie is a great choice for us. Not only is she a wonderful actress, with great screen presence she also has an enormous and incredibly loyal fanbase.
On Sunday, June 11, 2000 at 9 pm, Cartoon Network will present an hour of cartoons never-before-seen on television during "The Lost Cartoons" TOONHEADS Special. Airing on "Lost Cartoons" will be Spooney Melodies' CRYIN' FOR THE CAROLINES, Leon Schlesinger's short-lived collection of musical "Vitaphone Varieties," which feature abstract animation using paper cut-outs and double exposures to create visual accompaniment to arranged music.
Warner Bros. Television will announce its fall schedule this week and it will include claymation series THE PJS. The Hollywood Reporter published the news saying that the official announcement will go before advertisers in New York on Tuesday, May 16. Earlier this year, WB had signed a deal with THE PJS producer Imagine TV/Touchstone that gave the network the option of picking up the show for the fall 2000 season. Previously airing on Fox, THE PJS future was uncertain even as late as last week.
On Saturday May 13, 2000, the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences handed out their Daytime Emmy Awards for technical achievement. Many of the awards handed out featured animated series like big winner ROLIE POLIE OLIE for best special class animated program. The 3D animation series beat out ANGELA ANACONDA, BATMAN BEYOND, DISNEYS MICKEY MOUSEWORKS and THE SYLVESTER & TWEETY MYSTERIES for the honor. BLUES CLUES lost to BILL NYE THE SCIENCE GUY in the childrens series writing category and lost to BEAR IN THE BIG BLUE HOUSE in the childrens series directing category.
Hasbro has signed a multi-year deal with HIT Entertainment for the licensing rights to their successful toon, BOB THE BUILDER. The current BBC series is scheduled to debut on Nick Jr. sometime next year. BOB garners 52% of the pre-school audience in the U.K. for its time period. Last holiday season the toys based on the series sold out in the U.K. Hasbro hopes that the series will build the same kind of fan base in the States as other foreign imports have done recently. Currently, Mainframe is producing a series called ACTION MAN based off Hasbro's British toy line of the same name.
Walt Disney has announced that the new animated series TEACHER'S PET will join ABC's "Disney's One Saturday Morning" line-up this fall. Tony award-winner Nathan Lane will voice the knowledge-fiend dog, Spot, who disguises himself as a boy to go to school. TEACHER'S PET is being produced at Walt Disney Television Animation by the team of cartoonist Gary Baseman and Emmy Award-winning primetime sitcom writers Bill & Cheri Steinkellner (CHEERS, THE JEFFERSONS).
Riding the hopes that fantasy will be hot after LORD OF THE RINGS and HARRY POTTER, Disney has reportedly signed a multi-million dollar deal to produce the film versions of horror-film-writer-director Clive Barker's new fantasy series THE ARABAT QUARTET. Britain's EMPIRE magazine quotes a Disney spokeswoman as saying, "The work is a combination of HARRY POTTER and a contemporary WIZARD OF OZ." The first in the series is scheduled to hit bookstores next year. Barker's lawyer said that Disney inked the agreement "without reading any written words of the novels."
Twentieth TV has signed a cable-TV rights deal for KING OF THE HILL with the Fox Channels Group. Either FX or Fox Family Channel will get the series in September of 2004 on a four-year licensing deal. Twentieth TV has licensed out the series to syndicated networks for US$3 million dollars per episode. The series will start airing off-network in the fall of 2001. So far, Twentieth TV is nearing $300 million in off-net syndication deals for the series.
Portuguese broadcaster RTP has begun airing the interactive gameshow STINKY AND BEAVER. The ITE property is created using Silicon Graphics software and 3D animation. The series introduces players to CGI characters who test the participants and serve as the show's hosts. The series is included in RTP's Interactive Hour next to ITE's successful HUGO series.
Nelvana Limited has acquired the worldwide development, production, distribution and merchandising rights to LITTLE CRITTER. The series will be based on the best-selling books by Mercer Mayer. Beginning in 1976, the 90-book LITTLE CRITTER series has sold over 100 million copies worldwide. The story follows the everyday life of Little Critter and his friends Tiger and Gator. As the oldest sibling of five, Critter has to balance his responsibilities with playing sports, going to the mall and reading comics.
POKEMON is still going strong. KIDS WB! has ordered 52 more episodes of the phenomenon for September 2000. The latest broadcasters to catch the series are TV4 Sweden, TV2 Denmark, TV2 Norway, MTV Finland, RTL-Klub (Hungary) and RTL-TVI (Belgium), as well as Cartoon Network in Australia and New Zealand. The total number of episodes for the series is now 156.
Eruptor.com has launched their new live-action/animated series, JONNI NITRO. The Web series stars Olivia d'Abo (TV's THE WONDER YEARS) and Thomas Jane (DEEP BLUE SEA). The show is being directed by comic book artist Marc Silvestri. The series follows femme fatale, Jonni, as she tries to bring justice to a world that's not as black and white as it appears. "Getting to watch such a talented animator make another art form come to life, is a real honor," said Brad Foxhoven, Eruptor's Co-Founder, President and CEO.
Mainframe Entertainment is set to produce two new TV movies based on the characters from their TV series REBOOT. The two telepics are being produced in partnership with Canadian cable broadcaster YTV Canada, Inc. for broadcast in the Spring and Fall of 2001. REBOOT was the first ever half-hour computer animated TV series produced in the world. The series was originally shown in North American in September of 1994 on YTV in Canada and on ABC Television in the U.S.
The Harvey Entertainment Co. has entered into a deal with Vancouver-based Studio B to produce a new TV series based on their character Wendy the Witch. Studio B has acquired the rights to the popular children's series from Harvey and has partnered with Harvey in producing 26 half-hour episodes for the worldwide television and video marketplace. The series is expected to be available for delivery beginning in January 2001. Studio B also produces D'MYNA LEAGUES, WHAT ABOUT MIMI and YVON OF THE YUKON.
Perhaps, Neitchze was correct because GOD is dead. At least NBC's rendition of him is. The troubled toon GOD THE DEVIL AND BOB has been excommunicated from NBC's line-up. The decision to pull the series out of the line-up came in response to the lowest ratings ever for a regularly scheduled program in the Tuesday 8:30 pm time slot. Nearly 5% of the country's NBC affiliates had already pre-empted the show from their schedule for either religious concerns or they felt it just wasn't funny. Recently, advertisers were even turning their attention away from the ify animation series.
On Thursday, March 16, 2000, the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences announced its nominations for the Daytime Emmy Awards. The 27th annual event highlights the best in daytime television where animation makes much of its home. Besides the specific categories for animation, animated TV series have a strong presence in various other areas of recognition. BLUE'S CLUES racked up nominations for Outstanding Directing In A Children's Series, Outstanding Pre-School Children's Series and Outstanding Writing In A Children's Series.