News Briefs

- Fantôme g'es into orbit...
January 1, 1997

- Fantôme g’es into orbit

PARIS: The latest series produced by 3-D animation specialist Fantôme, creator of Insektors, is Tous sur orbite, a FF22 million (US$4.2 million) 260 x two-minute animated trip through the solar system. The series, which studies the solar system as it appears on that particular day, will air on France 3 weekdays throughout the year, with a weekly 10-minute compilation on La Cinquième every Sunday throughout the year. Tous sur orbite is co-produced by France 3, TéléImages (which is handling international distribution), Images Television International and La Cinquième.

-Sweet Valley High g’es to UPN

UPN has acquired the rights to Francine Pascal’s Sweet Valley High from Saban Entertainment and plans to use the popular teen girls program to launch its new hour-long teen strip this fall.

Sweet Valley High is a proven winner, says Michael Sullivan, UPN president of entertainment. ‘That track record, combined with new and inventive story lines, makes it the perfect vehicle for UPN to enter this new day part.’

The half-hour program, about twin sisters who are identical in looks but opposite in character, is based on the best-selling novels by Francine Pascal, which have sold more than 120 million copies worldwide.

UPN is purchasing 22 original episodes and 66 that are already in syndication, with an option to order up to 44 additional episodes for future seasons. Under the deal, the network will also develop Saban’s Breaker High, a half-hour, live-action series about a group of teens attending a school on a luxury ocean liner.

-Hall Pass welcomes teen hosts

Information Television Network (ITV) is bringing on board two new teen hosts for its upcoming teen-targeted, magazine-style television series Hall Pass after conducting a publicized search. To enter, males and females age 16 to 19 submitted a 50-word essay explaining why they would like to host the show and a photo of themselves to ITV by December 11. About 60 candidates visited ITV’s Boca Raton, Florida-based studio on December 17 for a screen test, and the new hosts were named on December 24 (their names were not available at press time). The hosts are scheduled to begin shooting early this year.

To date, one episode of Hall Pass has aired in syndication, with a 35-percent clearance throughout the U.S., which is a ‘solid foundation’ to develop a series, says Debra Hall, the show’s creator and producer. ITV, which handles the production and syndication of the program, is planning to introduce Hall Pass as a half-hour, weekly series in the fall.

-The Babaloos win on France 3

PARIS: As part of its overall plan to revamp its schedule, France 3 has chosen to replace Bonjour Babar, a series of short sequences produced by Nelvana and Ellipse that air between preschool children’s programs, with The Babaloos. The new shorts are adapted from a series produced by France Animation that has been airing on France 3 since last September.

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