The new, futuristic "Batman Beyond" animated series is set to have a special one-hour primetime sneak preview on Sunday, January 10, 1999 from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m. (EST/PST). The series will officially premiere on the Kids WB! with a special one-hour debut on Saturday morning, January 16 (time to be announced). "Batman Beyond" will move to its regular Saturday 9:30 a.m. timeslot on January 23. The show is set in the early part of the 21st century where an older and "retired" Bruce Wayne, Batman's alter ego, becomes the mentor to young teenager Terry McGinnis, a young crimefighter in training.
Nickelodeon made a major announcement Tuesday, December 8 regarding their 1999 lineup. 259 original episodes of returning shows, both live-action and animated, are scheduled for the 1999 TV season. The animated shows that will have new episodes are Rugrats, featuring the addition of new family member Baby Dil Pickles, Hey Arnold!, The Wild Thornberrys, CatDog, Oh Yeah!
St. Louis, Missouri-based Unity Motion, the first company to offer 24-hour high-definition television (HDTV) programming via satellite, has acquired the rights to air six original animated films by independent animator Sally Cruikshank. The films in the package include Face Like a Frog and her cult hit, Quasi at the Quackadero. Through the year 2000, Unity Motion has made a commitment to spend more than $250 million on movie acquisitions. Cruikshanks work will air in regular rotation on the channel.
The WB networks prime-time animated sitcom, Baby Blues, will be produced at the Hungary-based Varga Studio. Varga has been contracted to animate the pilot episode (which they recently finished), as well as an additional seven episodes of the shows thirteen episode first season order. It should be noted that Warner Bros. is still handling the pre- and post-production on these first eight episodes while Rough Draft is picking up the remaining five episodes.
By special arrangement with Nielsen Media Research, AWN publishes the Nielsen ratings for animated programs on a monthly basis in the Animation Flash. The ratings included herein are only for U.S. national network television. The following list of animated national network programs is ranked by Household Ratings. A Rating is the percentage of households that tuned into the program. This percentage can provide us with the number of households that tuned into the program on average during the month. The universe estimate for the 1997-98 television season is 98 million TV homes.
Zoog Disney is a new two-hour block of programming on the Disney Channel that features a companion web site signaling the network's latest attempt at converging television and the Internet. The programming block which airs on Saturday and Sunday evenings from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. works in tandem with the web site by allowing children who watch the programs to submit suggestions, vote on outcomes, play games related to the programs, and give input to the shows.
Popular Plasticine cartoon characters Wallace and dog Gromit are returning to the screen for the first time since the Academy-Award winning 1995 short A Close Shave. The cheese-loving duo will make a cameo appearance in an episode of the new 13-part Aardman series Rex the Runt, a cartoon about the adventures of four dogs who share a suburban semi-detached home. Their brief appearance showcases them in their Close Shave role of window cleaners, except this time they face the dastardly Bad Bob.
Canadian-based CINAR Films has signed an agreement with Shanghai Animation Film Studio, a subsidiary of Shanghai TV, Chinas second largest broadcasting company, to co-produce a 52 ten-minute episode animated series called Rumble and Growl. The Chinese-developed educational series chronicles the adventures of two friends, Rumble and Growl, who are always hungry. In their quest to find food, the pair uncovers scientific wonders and never-before explained natural phenomena. This is the first-ever official Canada-China co-production for an animated series created in China.
A digitally remastered version of the animated holiday classic, RUDOLPH THERED-NOSED REINDEER will air on U.S. network CBS Monday, November 30 from8-9 p.m. (ET/PT). The Rankin-Bass film about an awkward shiny-nosedreindeer will include an additional two minutes and 50 seconds of footagenot seen since 1964. The extra footage comes from the reinsertion of twosongs, "We Are Santa's Elves" and "We're a Couple of Misfits."
On Sunday, December 6, Fox Family Channel premieres AN ALL DOGS CHRISTMASCAROL at 6 -7:30 p.m. (ET/PT). The canine retelling of Dickens' "AChristmas Carol" is based on the Don Bluth film, "All Dogs Go to Heaven.".
Not only are the RUGRATS burning up the big screen but they're also settingrecords on the small screen. A Thanksgiving-themed episode, "The Turkey WhoCame to Dinner," which aired on November 10 garnered Nickelodeon's biggestratings ever among the age 2-11 demographic. The special outperformed allcompetition, even broadcast networks, in its time period earning a 9.4/28national rating share (3.7 million viewers) among kids 2-11.
A half-hour special, THE MAKING OF THE RUGRATS MOVIE will air on November 26 at 6:00 p.m. (ET) on U.S. cable network TV Land with segments on the Rugrats voices, the unique animation style, and the star-studded soundtrack.
Canada's television and cinema production and distribution group, Coscient Group, announced that their subsidiary Cactus Animation has started production on two new animated series: "Pirate Family" and "Fantomette." The animated comedies are a co-production with French company Elma Animation and have a total budget of $22 million. The series, each composed of 26 half-hour episodes, have already been pre-sold by Motion International, Coscient Group's distribution subsidiary, to a number of markets.
The newest incarnation of the successful animated Batman franchise, "Batman Beyond," is set for a U.S. premiere of Saturday, January 16, 1999 at 9:30 AM on Kids WB! The show takes place in the 21st century when a mature Bruce Wayne decides it's time to train a younger Caped Crusader to keep Gotham safe. Another highly anticipated comic-turned-cartoon series, "Dilbert," is set for a U.S. premiere on UPN's prime time lineup Monday, January 25, 1999 at 8:00 PM (PT/ET).
This Saturday, November 21, at 8:00 PM (ET), THE CARTOON NETWORK will air the animated direct-to-video Batman feature released earlier this year, "Batman and Mr. Freeze: SubZero." The film, which was directed by Boyd Kirkland and written and produced by Kirkland and Randy Rogel, won an Annie Award this past Friday for Outstanding Animated Home Video Production.
Los Angeles-based Rough Draft Studios has been awarded five episodes of the animated "Baby Blues" series. Thirteen episodes of "Baby Blues" have been ordered and will air in fall '99 on the WB prime time schedule. The first eight episodes are being completed by Warner Bros. Television Animation. This recent development fuels rumors that Warner Bros. Television Animation is in the midst of cutbacks. Inside sources have said that Warners will cease production on "Histeria!" after only 52 episodes, cutting 13 previously announced half hours.
The highly anticipated animated primetime series "Dilbert" is set topremiere on UPN Monday January 25, 1999 at 8:00 PM PT/ET. "Dilbert" isbased off the popular syndicated comic strip created by Scott Adams whichdeals with the absurdities of the '90s workplace in the cubicle-confinedoffice environment that rules corporate America.
Toronto-based Nelvana has acquired the worldwide development, production,distribution and merchandise licensing rights to "Puff the Magic Dragon."Based on a classic folk song written by Peter Yarrow of the legendary folkgroup Peter, Paul & Mary and Lenny Lipton, Nelvana will produce an animated"Puff the Magic Dragon" feature length film, television series andtelevision special, as well as license all Puff merchandise. Productionwill begin on this property in late 1999 or 2000. The lyrical children's
The longest-running prime-time animated family in television history, The Simpsons, will be getting their own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in September 1999. Among the celebrities that will be inducted next year include Alex Trebek, Freddy Fender, Wesley Snipes, Jamie Lee Curtis, Dennis Franz, Samuel Jackson, James Woods, Bob Newhart, Jane Seymour and Reba McEntire. Animation World Magazine will be there to cover the ceremony.
Red Giant Television has reached a deal with Discovery International and Teletoon to produce a third season of "Splat!", the weekly half-hour TV series devoted to animation. This will bring the total number of episodes to 39 half hours. Red Giant is also in the process of creating a two hour, prime-time TV special celebrating animation. Splat! currently airs in 120 countries around the globe.
Fox Family Channels is creating two new digital cable/satellite networks, The Boyz Channel and The Girlz Channel, offering gender-specific entertainment and educational programming for 2-14 year-old boys and girls. The full-time, ad-supported services scheduled to launch sometime in 1999 will also be available as basic analog channels. Much of the programming will come from the library that Fox Kids already owns mixed in with some original productions. In the evenings, the channels' focus will target parents with programs dealing with raising and parenting children of that specific gender.
Gribouille, a CGI production company based in Europe and North America, has begun production on two new computer-animated television series. Xcalibur, designed by French artist Philippe Druillet and directed by Didier Pourcel, is being produced in association with Canal +, Ellipsanime, France 2 and Cactus Animation for a targeted late 1999 delivery. Micronauts, based on an existing line of action-figures and Marvel comics, is being produced with Abrams/Gentile Entertainment, Kaleidoscope Media Group and Annex Entertainment, and may be ready as early as fall 1999.
Paris, France-based Gaumont Multimedia and Hamburg, Germany-based IGEL Media have reached a multi-year, multi-million dollar first-look distribution agreement giving IGEL all television and home video rights on future Gaumont Multimedia animated series for Germany, Scandinavia, Japan and Korea. The deal, sealed at MIPCOM, reflects both companies' need to address the increased competition and decreased number of broadcast slots available in Germany and Asia.
Nickelodeon has signed a deal with Italian broadcaster Radio Televisione Italiana (RAI) to produce the first localized foreign-language version of Blues Clues. The show will premiere on the RAI UNO network in the second quarter of 1999. In Italy, RAI will localize the series by using the same blue-screen technology used on the original production to insert an Italian, live-action host into the existing computer animation. Nickelodeon plans to make similar sales to other countries, as this production concept was designed into the show from its inception.
CARTOON NETWORK will debut two new "World Premiere Toons" shorts on November 6 at 8:00 p.m. "Mike, Lu & Og" by Chuck Swenson is about a girl named Mike who leaves her home in New York City and ends up on a remote island where the natives are friendly. "Kenny and the Chimp" by Tim Warburton is about an awkward 11-year-old and his best friend, a primate named Chimpy.