Viewers just can't get enough of the Brazilian lion, the polar bear twins and the other zoo inhabitants that were the subject of Nick Park's Oscar-winning short CREATURE COMFORTS. Park and Aardman Animation are in production on a new series featuring the animated animals that is scheduled to air on U.K. channel ITV1 in 2003. Old favorites from the original short, as well as nearly 100 new characters, will appear in the new CREATURE COMFORTS series. Creator Nick Park said, "I have had this project in mind for a few years now.
Digital animation studio 3dBob Productions helped send off the eponymous heroine of the series ALLY MCBEAL by creating three miniature computer-generated celebrities. In the series finale, the digital trio invaded Allys imagination, joining the hallucination of a dancing baby, a long-running series joke. The scene featured former New York mayor Rudolph Giuliani, Senator Hillary Clinton and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, dancing with the CG baby in Allys house before she banished them her life as she prepared to move to New York.
Disney Channel will premiere the original animated comedy/action series KIM POSSIBLE on Friday, June 7, 2002, with three back-to-back half-hour episodes airing from 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm. Following its debut, a new episode will air each Friday night at 6:30 pm. In the series, high school student Kim Possible becomes an unwitting superhero when she creates a Website proclaiming, "I can do anything." She was actually hoping for babysitting and lawn mowing gigs, instead, e-mails pleading for help arrive from across the globe.
Buena Vista International Television (BVI-TV) has licensed the Classic Treasures package to Telewizja Polska S.A (TVP). The collection of Disney and Disney/Pixar animated features includes A BUG'S LIFE, POCAHONTAS, HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME, TOY STORY and TOY STORY 2. This is the first time these titles have been available on Polish television.
As reported in VARIETY, DIC Entertainment is to provide the Fox network with 2 1/2 hours of animated programming every week. The FCC requires local stations broadcast three hours of educational/informational programming per week. To fulfill the requirement, Fox will now provide its affiliates episodes of DIC produced shows SHERLOCK HOLMES IN THE 22ND CENTURY, ARCHIE'S WEIRD MYSTERIES and STARGATE INFINITY. Margaret Loesch and Stanford University's Donald Roberts will serve as consultants to DIC in this endeavor.
"June Bugs," Cartoon Network's annual tribute to Bugs Bunny, begins June 1, 2002 at 8:00 am and continues until 10:00 pm on Sunday, June 2. For this 10th edition of the marathon, CN is airing more than 160 Bugs Bunny cartoons in alphabetical order beginning with "The Abominable Snow Rabbit" and ending with "Yankee Doodle Bugs." Over on Boomerang, CN's cab-sat network devoted to classic cartoons, Daffy Duck will be quacking up viewers during his own counter-programming stunt.
Check your local listings for the one-hour documentary INDEPENDENT SPIRITS: THE FAITH & JOHN HUBLEY STORY produced by the Independent Television Service (ITVS) and scheduled to air on PBS in June 2002. Directed by Sybil DelGaudio, INDEPENDENT SPIRITS looks at the careers of Academy Award-winning animators John and Faith Hubley, at their contributions to the development of animation as an art form and at their effort to remain independent in a field that is largely commercial.
TV-Loonland has recently completed the sale of several animation titles in Central and Eastern Europe on the eve of DISCOP, the television market held annually each June in Budapest, Hungary. One of TV-Loonlands most popular childrens series PETTSON AND FINDUS (13 x 13 minutes or 2 x 75 minutes) has been sold to Duna TV (Hungary), Czech TV (Czech Republic) and RTV Slo (Slovenia). The series is a co-production between TV-Loonland, Happy Life Animation and Svensk Filmindustri with the participation of ZDF. RTV Slo also picked up the pre-school series CONNIE THE COW (52 x 7 minutes).
Pay TV channel BLACK STARZ will premiere Urban Entertainment's animated comedy series UNDERCOVER BROTHER. All 12 episodes will be presented consecutively beginning at 8 pm (ET/PT), Thursday, May 30, 2002 with additional air times throughout the month. The series will debut on the eve of Universal Pictures release of the feature film UNDERCOVER BROTHER, starring Eddie Griffin. The original online series provided the basis for the live-action feature film directed by Malcolm Lee.
Can't wait for the new Spider-Man television series? Well, revisit some classic episodes from past series during ABC Family's "Spider-Man Through the Years" block marathon. Airing Memorial Day weekend in the U.S. (May 25-27, 2002), each block will showcase Spider-Man, his evil nemeses the Green Goblin, Doctor Octopus and Mysterio and superhero friends like the X-Men and the Incredible Hulk, while the marathon's interstitial moments will feature trivia about the Spider-Man character.
This Memorial Day weekend, Cartoon Network's series TOONHEADS offers a look at what happened when animated characters like Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck and Popeye were enlisted by the war effort in TOONHEADS: THE WARTIME CARTOONS. While soldiers were fighting overseas, cartoon characters kept Americans laughing on the home front, finding humor in such wartime realities as energy conservation, rationing, recycling scrap iron for munitions and the widespread fear of enemy bombing raids on American cities. They also served in an official capacity when Warner Bros.
Film Roman, Inc. has acquired the television rights to the comic book series, DEITY, by creators Karl Altstaetter and Robert Napton, from LA-based media company Hyperwerks Entertainment. Film Roman plans to develop DIETY into an animated primetime television series. Set in the Los Angeles of the future, a seemingly normal teenage girl named Jamie discovers she is to become a "Deity," or ruler of the universe. Jamie joins with three adventurers to fight her nemesis, Ma'Shiva. The comic book debuted in 1998 and is currently distributed by Image Comics.
'60s cult series THUNDERBIRDS has found a new home. Cable network TechTV has acquired the rights to all 32 THUNDERBIRDS episodes, which have been digitally re-mastered with Dolby Surround Sound. The network will air the series beginning in summer 2002. The classic puppet-animated series created by Gerry Anderson debuted in the U.K. in 1965 and has consistently aired around the globe since its debut. Set in the year 2065, THUNDERBIRDS recounts the adventures of the Tracy Brothers, members of the top secret International Rescue organization, on their quest to save Earth.
4Kids Entertainment has announced the fall line-up for its recently acquired block of kids' programming on the Fox network. The new Saturday morning kids block, dubbed FOX BOX, will air between 8:00 am and 12 noon beginning September 14, 2002. The line-up is geared towards the key young boys demo, and includes the debut of a new series based on Nintendo's video game star KIRBY and a 21st century update to the '80s classic TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES.
4Kids Entertainment, Inc. will produce 26 episodes of a new animated TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES television series. The new NINJA TURTLES series is scheduled to premiere in the first quarter of 2003 on the Fox Saturday Morning Block programmed by 4Kids. In addition to producing the television series, 4Kids will also serve as the exclusive merchandise licensing agent for the TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES property worldwide. The TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES were created in May 1984 when Peter Laird and Kevin Eastman published a forty-page black and white comic book.
DIC Entertainment has licensed its package of original feature length animated movies, 39 films in all, to Nickelodeon for broadcast on Sunday afternoons beginning in October 2002. The deal represents the biggest production order DIC has had in its twenty year history and calls for DIC to deliver the 39 movies over three years. "We have put together a team of incredibly talented award winning writers, producers and directors," said DIC CEO Andy Heyward.
Production is underway at Sony's Culver City studios on MTV's animated series SPIDER-MAN. Now in college, Peter Parker must juggle academics, work as a Web designer for the Daily Bugle, his relationship with Mary Jane Watson, fighting super-villains and criminals and maintain his secret identity as Spider-Man. The series is being created in CG but will have a classic animation look, and feature a seemingly realistic neon lit city.
Distribution outfit peppermint has struck a first-time deal with Columbia Tri-Star International Television (CTIT) and BBC Choice for the new adult animation series PETEY & JAYDEE GO EXPLORING. The series of 52 x 45-second vignettes follow the adventures of two quirky aliens as they take viewers on an irreverent joyride. CTIT plans to air the series on Japan's all-anime cable-satellite channel Animax. They also acquired all television, merchandising and broadband distribution rights for Sony Entertainment Television (SET) in Latin America.
The Apocalypse is coming in 30 minutes, but ever-resourceful hero Sam has built an atomic resistant Ark in his backyard. While he and his family watch from the safety of the Ark, war, pestilence and disease rain down without so much as denting the body of the great boat. So goes the plot of THE ARK, a creation of Richard Condie (THE BIG SNIT) in association with Nelvana. This half-hour animated pilot is scheduled to air on Canada's CBC in fall 2002. No word yet on whether or not this Ark will continue to have further adventures as a series.
Last October, MIPCOM 2001 Personality of the Year, MTV's Tom Freston, stated in response to the events of September 11th and the diminished attendance of the market, "TV will bounce back." This year's MIPTV, which took place in Cannes from April 15 to 19, 2002, showed strong evidence that the television community is on the way to recovery. Organizer Reed Midem reported over 2,600 buyers from 1,052 companies attended the market and representing an increased number of buyer companies, up 20% from last year.
Canadian CGI animation house Mainframe Entertainment and ANGELA ANACONDA creator Honest Entertainment, announced at MIP-TV that they have joined forces to create the new collage animation series FAMILY VALUES. Created and written by Tom Brady (THE SIMPSONS, THE CRITIC) and Joanna Ferrone (co-creator of FIDO DIDO and ANGELA ANACONDA) the series will be produced using collage illustration made from cut paper with photographs used to portray each character's face.
German distributor EM.TV has sold Jim Henson's live-action puppet series, THE HOOBS (250 x 24-minutes), to the German public broadcaster ZDF and the children's channel KI.KA. The show is scheduled to air on ARD/ZDF-owned KI.KA in October 2002, with broadcast on ZDF in Spring 2003. THE HOOBS currently airs on Channel 4 and Nick Jr. in the UK, and the franchise reaches over 40 territories worldwide with a combination of broadcast license and consumer product deals. EM.TV holds comprehensive European rights to the series.
Once again, a cast-off from The WB has found a home on Cartoon Network. First CN picked up BABY BLUES and now they've nabbed MISSION HILL, a series about the quirky inhabitants of the titular fictional neighborhood. The show will debut on Sunday, May 5, 2002 at 11:00 p.m. (ET/PT) during Adult Swim, Cartoon Network's block of animation aimed at adults 18-34. MISSION HILL originally aired on The WB in the U.S. during the 1999-2000 TV season. Cartoon Network has acquired all 13 episodes, seven of which have never been aired in the United States.
New York-based DMA Animation has again teamed with producers WGBH-TV (Boston, MA) and Sirius Thinking, Ltd. (New York, NY), to create ten new animated shorts for the PBS series BETWEEN THE LIONS. Eight of the two- to three-minute animations will be featured in the third season of half-hour episodes, scheduled to roll out nationally in September 2002, while the remaining two are planned for the 2003 season. BETWEEN THE LIONS is geared toward children four to seven years old and blends animation with puppets and live-action.
Canadian-based entertainment company Cinar Corporation has reached an agreement with the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) to produce 16 new episodes of the preschool series, CAILLOU. The new episodes, to air on PBS beginning January 2003, join the existing 40 episodes currently airing Monday through Friday on PBS KIDS. Based on the series of best-selling children's books, CAILLOU is created using a combination of animation, puppets and live-action, and chronicles the adventures of a little boy as he encounters the ups and downs of four-year-old life.