Sony Pictures Entertainment's (SPE) new family entertainment division (AF 03/09/99) has announced their first two development deals. The group has acquired worldwide rights to Kevin Eastman's UNDERWHERE, and has signed Eastman to develop an animated children's series based on his popular book. The series follows the adventures of 10-year-old Jacob who travels to UNDERWHERE, a land that exists in the same space as ours but can only be visited by those who possess the gift of imagination.
Cartoon Network U.S. will air an eight-hour marathon program called CARTOON NETWORK'S GREATEST CARTOON COUNTDOWN on March 20 starting at 2:00 p.m. and a two-hour encore presentation on March 21 at 12:00 p.m. The lineup of this program is a little different from the similar program which ran last year, THE 50 GREATEST CARTOONS OF ALL TIME. The selections come predominantly from the network's Time-Warner library of 8,500 titles, as well as from other studios which contributed cartoons exclusively for the marathon.
Encore Media Group's five-year-old Action Channel has established a new late-night Saturday programming block devoted to adult Japanese animation called Anime. Encore has acquired ten Japanese animation titles, and will launch the show with anime distributor A.D. Vision's TEKKEN: THE MOTION PICTURE on April 3. In addition to TEKKEN, five additional titles are from A.D. Vision: BATTLE ANGEL, BLOOD REIGN: CURSE OF YOMA, GSC GUNSMITH CATS, SOL BIANCA and the cult series BLUE SEED.
The fledgling Fox Family Channel has added ten new animated series to its kid and teen-targeted daytime lineup for the 1999-2000 season. The lineup represents a major investment from Fox Family in creating original and entertaining animated programming. Animation World Network spoke to Joel Andryc, Senior Vice President, Programming & Development about this lineup and how they're working to create a unique identity in the already overcrowded world of cable.
Headbone Interactive has signed two deals to deliver animated series to cable outlets Discovery Channel and Fox Family Channel. HUGO TAKES A DETOUR is a series of one-minute interstitials that will start airing on the Discovery Channel in spring '99. Not only is this Headbone's first foray into animated programming for television but it is also the first animated program to air on the Discovery Channel.
The Kids' WB! has announced two new shows for their 1999-2000 fall lineup. The first is ON THE ROPES, a live-action high school wrestling series, from the producing/directing team of Mike Tollin and Brian Robbins (KENAN & KEL, ALL THAT, VARSITY BLUES). The second freshman show, DETENTION, is an animated entry from Warner Bros. Television Animation, a comedy about eight mismatched preteens who regularly end up in afterschool detention.
The highly anticipated DISNEY'S MICKEY MOUSEWORKS will join the ABC Saturday morning children's lineup on May 1, 1999 at 12:00 noon (ET/PT). The new half-hour series features cartoons of varying lengths (12, 7-1/2, 6, and 1-1/2 minutes) featuring Disney's classic stable of stars such as Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Goofy, Pluto and Minnie Mouse.
Cartoon Network is hosting an eight-hour BOY GIRL, BOY GIRL marathon on Sunday, March 7, from 12-8 p.m. The event features alternating 11-minute shorts from two of their newest shows, ED, EDD n EDDY and THE POWERPUFF GIRLS.
The Game Show Network has signed a deal with Interactive Television Entertainment (ITE-USA) to start airing the live, real-time animated action game THROUT AND NECK in the U.S. Using technologies developed by ITE-USA, home viewers are able to control the movement of the animated characters using their telephone keypads to input commands. In the game, Throut and Neck are two unruly beasts who somehow wind up in SheepHeaven, a mind-numbing world of annoyingly cute and adorable sheep. The players at home control their monsters to see which one can defeat the most sheep and return home.
Link Entertainment's PRESTON PIG has been commissioned by Childrens ITV. Twenty-six seven minute episodes of this children's series will be produced by Varga tvc to air in September 2000. The show, based on Colin McNaughton's popular books, follows the countless inept attempts by Mr. Wolf to catch and eat the carefree Preston Pig. "We believe that this series is set to be a classic, following in the grand tradition of such double acts as Tom and Jerry, and Sylvester and Tweety," commented Genevieve Dexter, Head of Sales & Acquisitions, Link Entertainment.
Foxs new animated series, THE PJS, has been picked up for a second season. Twenty-two additional episodes of the Imagine/Touchstone/Will Vinton Studios series will start airing in fall 99. Season-to-date, The PJs is averaging a 6.4 rating and 10 household share, which is a 12% jump from its King of the Hill lead-in and a 45% increase over the timeslot average last season.
In a precedent-setting deal, Chinese national broadcaster CCTV signed anagreement with Warner Bros. Intl. TV to start airing a 15-minute block ofLooney Tunes starting this summer. The program, which will run 7 days aweek, consists of two animated shorts a day. This marks the first timeLooney Tunes will be nationally broadcast as a regularly scheduled programin China; and signals a significant development in bringing U.S. TVprogramming to China, where it is virtually nonexistent on CCTV, thecountry's main broadcaster.
Fox Kids Network is adding seven new animated series (146 new episodes) and nine returning series (121 new episodes) to its fall '99 slate of weekday afternoon and Saturday morning programming.
Major U.S. networks have been bitten by an animation bug and have recently announced a slew of primetime animated series. ABC has worked out a deal with Miramax and Touchstone TV for six episodes of CLERKS, based on director Kevin Smiths 1994 indie film of the same name. Slated for a midseason or fall 2000 launch, the show will be executive-produced by Smith and former SEINFELD supervising producer, Dave Mandel. Like the film, the TV series, only the second ever produced by Miramax, focuses on two young slackers who keep minimum-wage jobs in New Jersey.
Fox Kids will start airing WOODY WOODPECKER on May 8. The series, produced by Universal Cartoon Studios, features new adventures of Woody, Wally Walrus and Chilly Willy. It was originally scheduled to air during the fall '98 season. The show's supervising director and producer is animation veteran Bob Jaques.
Disney's HERCULES has its world television premiere on Saturday, February 27th, on the Disney Channel at 7 p.m. (ET/PT)
The Carsey-Werner Co., a dominant live-action TV production company having produced shows like COSBY and ROSEANNE, is developing their first animated show. The primetime cartoon, BOB, THE DEVIL AND GOD, is in the early development stages, and will reportedly be picked up by NBC. The show is created by Matthew Carlson (an executive story editor on WONDER YEARS, and creator of the U.S. version of MEN BEHAVING BADLY and TOWNIES). A Carsey-Werner spokesman said that the voice cast will be comprised of James Garner (God), Robert Downey Jr.
Seth MacFarlanes FAMILY GUY has edged out Matt Groenings FUTURAMA for Foxs golden post-SIMPSONS Sunday timeslot...
World Events Productions has licensed the 3D animated series, VOLTRON: THE THIRD DIMENSION to Teletoon, Canadas all-animation network. The show will make its Teletoon Canadian premiere on Wednesday, March 3. Voltron, based on the popular 80s cartoon, is produced for World Events by Mike Young Productions (THE SECRET GARDEN) and Netter Digital Entertainment (BABYLON 5).
A recent deal between Canadas Teletoon and Hostess Frito-Lay will result in Chester Cheetah hosting CINETOON, an animated feature-length movie which airs on Teletoon the first Saturday of every month, starting March 6. The promotion will celebrate the March launch of the new Chee.tos Shockwaves snack food, and a CINETOON Trivia Challenge will enable viewers to win Sony Playstations and other prizes.
Cartoon Networks afternoon programming block Toonami will start airing the CG-animated show, REBOOT, as part of its daily Monday-Friday line-up, from 4:30 - 5:00 p.m., starting March 15. The show, which was the first entirely computer-generated cartoon, is produced by Vancouver, Canada-based Mainframe Entertainment.
On Sunday, February 21, Cartoon Network will present ALVIN AND THE CHIPMUNKS GREATEST HITS, an 8-hour marathon from 12-8 p.m. (ET/PT) featuring 32 "hot" tunes from the 1980s. The programming stint will feature sixteen half-hour episodes along with a live-action dance party with Alvin groupees dancing to the high-pitched music. Among the songs that will be played include: "Beat It," "Born to be Wild," "Ghostbusters," "The Heat is On," "Twist and Shout," "I Love L.A.," "Celebration," "On the Road Again," "Bad to the Bone" and 23 others.
CBS has renewed three NELVANA childrens series and placed 13-episode orders for three new series to debut this fall. Returning this fall for a second season are ANATOLE, FLYING RHINO JUNIOR HIGH and MYTHIC WARRIORS: GUARDIANS OF THE LEGEND. The new Nelvana series, all of which are designed to meet the FCC mandate, are BLASTER, RESCUE HEROS and THE NEW TALES FROM THE CRYPTKEEPER. The three NELVANA series that CBS cancelled are BIRDZ, FRANKLIN and DUMB BUNNIES.
Buena Vista International Television (BVI-TV) has signed a first-time volume agreement with NELVANA Enterprises (Paris) to air their programs on Disney Channel in Spain and Italy. BVI-TV will have first rights to NELVANAs production slate for Spain and Italy, acquiring between two and four new series a year. Disney Channel currently plans to air the following NEVLANA titles: NEDS NEWT (Spain), FRANKLIN (Italy, Spain), STICKIN AROUND (Italy, Spain), SAM AND MAX (Spain), LITTLE BEAR (Italy), JAKE AND THE KID (Italy), BIRDZ (Spain) and Rupert (Spain).
UPN has renewed the animated comedy, DILBERT, for a second season of 22episodes to air in the 191999/2000 television season. In the three episodesthat have aired so far, DILBERT has been UPN's top new comedy this seasonin household ratings and all key adult and male demographics. "This pickuporder rewards the ratings' promise Dilbert has shown, with strongdemographics and a bull's-eye for our target of young male viewers," statedTom Nunan, UPN Entertainment President.