Fox has renewed both KING OF THE HILL and FUTURMA for the 2001-2002 season. The network ordered a complete season of HILL and 18 episodes of FUTURAMA. In addition, Jonathan Aibel and Glenn Berger were upped to executive produce HILL. Former executive producer Richard Appel is leaving to focus on developing a new live-action comedy for ABC. The new orders put HILL, produced by Film Roman, into its sixth season and FUTURAMA, produced by Rough Draft, into its fourth. Currently, Fox is in discussions to renew THE SIMPSONS for next season also.
Warner Bros. Television has backed out of its partnership to produce THE PJS with Imagine Entertainment. The decision comes after the WB Network ordered 13 episodes for next season. Apparently, WBTV felt that the short order wouldn't cover costs, in addition to worries that the series wouldn't receive large amounts of money in off-net sales. However, Imagine has a potential partner in the wings Paramount. But there's a catch. Insiders say that Paramount wants syndication rights to all 56 episodes of the series.
This past week animated shows saw primetime animation in a New Year's mood. In a three way tie at #54, THE SIMPSONS New Year's special was the top toon, drawing a 5.5 rating/11 share. The KING OF THE HILL New Year's special came right behind at #57 with a 5.4 rating/10 share. A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS aired for the last time on CBS on Christmas Day December 25, 2000. The holiday special finished 64th with a 5.0 rating/11 share. The classic cartoon had scored an impressive 10.8 rating/16 share when it aired on Monday, December 11, 2000.
Collideascope Digital Productions has signed a deal with Teletoon to create the first television and online convergence program produced in Flash. OLLIE'S UNDER THE BED ADVENTURES will be a half-hour special consisting of ten 2-minute episodes targeted to children aged 5-10. The show will chronicle the imaginary tales of Ollie, a young hyperactive boy who invents a world of his own underneath his bed where he embarks on wild adventures. The show will also air at OllieLand.com, which will include an interactive environment where viewers can journey into Ollie's crazy world.
Fox TV Studios has tapped Los Angeles-based Gear-CGI to develop and produce a new action/adventure TV series entitled XERONINE. The series follows the mishaps and adventures of a simple-minded robot, a mad half-cockroach-half human scientist and the president of the United Earth. Providing voices for the series will be Gary Coleman (DIFF'RENT STROKES) as Xeronine, Clancy Brown (STARSHIP TROOPERS, SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION) as Dr. Canard and Pam Grier (JACKIE BROWN) as the president of the United Earth.
Solange, teamed with Destiny's Child and Baha Men, has agreed to record theme songs for Disney Channel's two upcoming animated series, THE PROUD FAMILY and STANLEY. Gary Marsh, executive vice president, original programming, Disney Channel, said, "Great music, performed by uniquely talented artists and integrally linked to our award-winning original programming, is a key component of our programming strategy.
Oxygen will give life to ABC's DOTCOMEDY. The series that highlighted the funniest content on the Internet was cancelled from ABC after only one airing. The show received one of the network's lowest ratings for a regularly scheduled program with a 2.8 rating. Oxygen will air the four episodes of the show, created by Oxygen Media and Carsey-Werner, but will not produce anymore. Originally, ABC called for 13 installments of the series.
In a pledge of support for its fledging network, Viacom has agreed to let UPN air episodes of MTV's clay-animated series CELEBRITY DEATHMATCH as a compliment to GARY & MIKE. So far UPN has the rights to 7 choose reruns of DEATHMATCH with an option for 13 more. As part of the arrangement, MTV and UPN will cross-promote each other's airings of DEATHMATCH and MTV is considering a broadcast of GARY & MIKE after it nods on UPN. "It's great to be a part of Viacom," UPN COO Adam Ware said.
In its last year on CBS, A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS is nothing but a holiday miracle. Airing at 8 pm on Monday, the 35-year old special scored an amazing 10.8 rating/16 share to finish in 17th place for the week. After its Christmas day airing on CBS, the classic holiday special will move to ABC. At #33, THE SIMPSONS took home a steady 8.7 rating/13 share for Fox. KING OF THE HILL placed #58 with a 6.4 rating/10 share. The Sunday 7:30 special broadcast of THE SIMPSONS finished in the 72nd slot with a 5.2 rating/9 share. CBS' Tuesday night Christmas block took the next two toon slots.
Oscar-winning director/actor Billy Bob Thornton is teaming with Acme Productions on a new TV animated series. The currently untitled series is based on an idea by Thornton about a father who has been in a garage band for the past twenty years. The SLINGBLADE director will team with Emmy-winning SIMPSONS writer, Ron Hauge, on developing the project. Thornton will also voice the main character. Acme Production is the six-month-old production company formed by former 20th Century Fox executives Mindy Schultheis and Michael Hanel.
DIC Entertainment is teaming with Tomopoulos Prods. and Jake Steinfeld's Body by Jake Enterprises to create a new animated TV series entitled CAMP JAKE. The show will follow the exploits of the rebellious kids who go to summer camp to get in shape. The companies have agreed to produce 26 initial episodes of the cartoon.
One more avenue for Web content to make the jump to TV is dead. ABC has pulled the plug after only one airing of the series DOT COMEDY, which aired comedic shorts from the Internet. The Friday, December 8 broadcast scored a 2.8 rating/5 share -- one of the worst ratings for a regularly scheduled program in ABC history. The show's immediate replacement until January will be repeats of the live-action comedy TWO GUYS AND A GIRL, then the fourth installment of WHO WANTS TO BE A MILLIONAIRE will take the slot.
UPN will finally premiere the long-in-the-works GARY & MIKE stop-motion animated series. The series will begin airing Friday, January 12, 2001 at 8 pm. In a major show of support for the toon, a special preview episode will air on Thursday, January 11, 2001 at 9:30 pm following UPN's top rated show WWF SMACKDOWN!
Mainframe Entertainment, Inc. and Studio B Productions have announced their first co-development project for television entitled SURF N TURF. The traditional cel and CGI animated series is a multiple segment comedy property created by Amanda Connor and Jim Palmiotti. In 1991, Palmiotti began his career with Marvel Comics and has since worked for DC Comics and Fleer on such titles as SUPERMAN, BATMAN THE MOVIE and KID DEATH AND ASH, which has been optioned for a feature film by DreamWorks SKG. Connor's work can be seen in MAD MAGAZINE, THE NEW YORK TIMES and BARBIE FASHION.
The primetime animation champion once again was THE SIMPSONS at #25 with a 9.7 rating/15 share. CBS' Tuesday 8 pm broadcast of RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER placed #38 with an 8.3 rating/13 share. In a two-way tie for 46th place, KING OF THE HILL garnered a 7.5 rating/12 share. The Wednesday 8 pm SIMPSONS special tied three ways for #64 with a 5.6 rating/9 share. ABC's Saturday 8 pm airing of MICKEY'S CHRISTMAS CAROL sung home a 4.3 rating/8 share. On Friday at 8:30 pm on ABC, DOT COMEDY, featuring Webtoons from BunnyGrenade.com and Oxygen.com, netted a 2.8 rating/5 share.
On Wednesday, December 6,
2000, Comedy Central will start an eight-week run of comedian Robert
Smigel's TV FUNHOUSE, a live-action satire of 1950s children's shows
including twisted cartoons. Animated shorts include "Wonderman," a
superhero who uses his super powers to line-up dates for his alter
ego and "The Baby, The Immigrant and the Guy on Mushrooms," each of
whom always says, "Ahhhhhh." "I get a lot of pleasure out of writing
things that maybe I couldn't have WRITTEN when I was 10 years old,
The first two-hour installment of the Sci-Fi Channel's mini-series FRANK HERBERT'S DUNE broke the network's ratings records. The Sunday, December 3 9 pm broadcast scored a 4.6 rating and reached 3.06 million households. The final two installments aired on Monday and Tuesday at 9 pm. The previous record was set in June with the premiere of Sci-Fi's THE INVISIBLE MAN, which garnered a 2.4 rating in cable homes, reaching 1.534 million households. Sci-Fi has signed John Harrison, the writer-director of the first six-hour mini-series, to write and direct a sequel.
Fox's THE SIMPSONS scored increased numbers this past week with a 9 rating/13 share in a five way tie for 28th place. Specials ruled the animated field with CBS' broadcast of the Rankin/Bass classics FROSTY THE SNOWMAN and FROSTY RETURNS. The December 3 8 pm airing of FROSTY THE SNOWMAN garnered a 5.9 rating/11 share with the 8:30 follow-up broadcast of FROSTY RETURNS also pulling a 5.9 rating but with a 10 share. ABC's Sunday night animated specials were close behind with the 7:30 broadcast of TANGERINE BEAR: HOME IN TIME FOR CHRISTMAS receiving a 5.8 rating/9 share.
ABC is bringing Betty and Mickey Paraskevas' TANGERINE BEAR to primetime with a special animated holiday half-hour. HOME IN TIME FOR CHRISTMAS tells the tale of our teddy bear pal who goes unpurchased for Christmas and makes friends in a second-hand store. The special will air at 7:30 pm on Sunday, December 3, 2000 directly following the WINNIE THE POOH AND CHRISTMAS TOO! special. TANGERINE BEAR is based off the popular children's book by the mother and son duo and will feature the singing talents to Trisha Yearwood.
Toonz Animation India has announced that they have signed a production deal with Rainbow Animation Italy on a new animated TV series. The untitled toon tells the story of an 8-year-old boy named Tommy whom, along with his friend Yukari and a nervous alien, uses his uncles strange inventions to defeat the evil Caesar. Toonz Animation India CEO Bill Dennis said, "Toonz Animation is very eager to start the new project with Rainbow. The story is very fun and entertaining, but also has many important themes and lessons that are important for younger audiences.
Once again Fox's Sunday night back-to-back-to-back toon line-up ruled the primetime animation field. THE SIMPSONS claimed the highest finish at #36 with an 8.4 rating and a 12 share. KING OF THE HILL came in at #75 with a 4.7 rating/7 share, down 1.5 rating points from the previous week. FUTURAMA returned to its Sunday night 7 pm slot in 83rd place, with a 3.7 rating/6 share. THE PJS continues to struggle on the WB gaining a 1.7 rating/3 share. These ratings and shares represent primetime TV in the U.S.
Nickelodeon has ordered 26 additional episodes of their popular new preschool show DORA THE EXPLORER. The English/Spanish toon broke Nick Jr. debut records in August and has averaged 1.1 million viewers daily. "DORA THE EXPLORER was an instant success for both Nick Jr. and CBS," said Nick executive vice president and general manager Cyma Zarghami. "We are very proud to have created a strong Latina preschool role model that has been overwhelmingly embraced by our audiences."
Cartoon Network and Oscar winning TOM & JERRY creator Joe Barbera are finishing up the production of a new episode of the classic cartoon series. Barbera worked with SYLVESTER AND TWEETY veteran Karl Toerge to create the new adventure "Mansion Cat," which has the dueling duo wrecking havoc in an old mansion. Barbera even provided the voice of the mansion owner. The short will air as part of Cartoon Network U.K.'s New Year's Day 2001 24-hour TOM & JERRY marathon, which includes 161 MGM TOM & JERRY shorts. Fans of the series outside the U.K.
ABC has decided to redesign its Disney's One Saturday Morning line-up starting December 9, 2000. Instead of airing three half-hour series and interstitials during a two-hour programming block, they will air four half-hour episodes. This move will secure start times for all four series, which up until now floated around the two-hour window depending on the length of the various animated and live-action interstitials. Until their new series LLYOD IN SPACE joins the block in 2001, ABC will air TEACHER'S PET, WEEKENDERS and two episodes of RECESS.
On September 4, the new afternoon Monday-Thursday line-up will be unveiled with a "POKEMON Top 15 Countdown," highlighting the most popular characters selected by viewers. The three series set for the Monday-Thursday schedule are POKEMON, HISTERIA! and THE SYLVESTER & TWEETY MYSTERIES. The fourth spot will rotate throughout the fall, with series such as THE ZETA PROJECT and X-MEN: EVOLUTION.