Special Report: MIP-TV – MIP-TV Roundup

A compendium of some of the kids programs at this year's MIP-TV...
April 1, 1998

A compendium of some of the kids programs at this year’s MIP-TV

The Producers Entertainment Group (TPEG) and MediaWorks will exhibit together for the first time at MIP. TPEG recently acquired 100 percent of MediaWorks, an international television and video distribution company that specialized in children’s programming. Beginning this year, MediaWorks will distribute live-action children’s series.

Another first: Discovery Kids will be bringing its own programming to sell at this year’s market. The shows on offer include Discovery’s Baby Animal Tales with Jake (three x 40 minutes), which shows how animals around the world grow up; Extreme Machine for Kids (one x 50 minutes), which gives kids an insider’s view of how everything from roller coasters to race cars work; and Jaws & Claws, (10 x 25 minutes), an info-packed program about the most intimidating predators on the planet.

Neptuno Films from Spain returns with its fairy tale-based The Ugly Duckling, with 104 episodes now available, as well as The Three Bears, a 26-episode series based on the classic tale about the golden-haired intruder and the bear family she torments. Co-producer RRS Entertainment of Germany will distribute.

Nickelodeon is offering two new Nicktoons and a live-action drama. The live-action offering, titled Renford Rejects, is a sports drama centering on a group of mediocre students who bond over their love of soccer. The animated CatDog follows the antics of the two-in-one brothers who are half-cat, half-dog. The Wild Thornberrys depicts a family that travels the world making documentaries.

France Animation presents Quantum 4, a science-fiction cartoon about a young scientist striving to protect humankind from mutant evil forces. Mars Brothers is also offered, featuring a group of wacky Martians sent to Earth unprepared. Both series are offered in 26 episodes.

Gaumont’s Oggy and the Cockroaches, already picked up by Fox Kids Network in the U.S., is a product of the same co-production partners that created Space Goofs: Gaumont, ProSieben and France 3. In the tradition of classic confrontation toons, it features the misadventures of a cat and three cockroaches.

BBC Worldwide brings Noddy in Toyland, a co-production between BBC Worldwide, Catalyst Entertainment and the Enid Blyton Company. Set in a small town, the series details activities at an old-fashioned curiosity shop through an inventive mix of animation, live-action puppetry and original songs.

A second 13 x 25 minutes of Noah’s Island, a co-production between the 17 public-service broadcasters that form the European Broadcast Union, is available. The show, which is produced by Telemagination in the U.K. and distributed by ITEL, follows life on a floating island and the animals living there, many of whom are endangered species. The series will also be represented at MIP-TV by Link Licensing, which is handling the worldwide licensing of the property.

VARGA tvc’s Oi! Get Off Our Train, the first film from the British animation house, is based on the children’s book of the same name. The story centers on Ben and his dog, Jim-Jam, on a journey aboard a dream train. Co-production partners on the work include BBC Bristol, Miramax Films and ZDF.

SPI International kicks off with The Goal Show, an interactive soccer game show. The show is available in 30-minute formats or as shorter formats segmented into a longer existing program. Additional sports programs offered include Slapshots, a similar format centering around hockey. The Buggies, 60 x one-minute fillers, and Yokies, 52 x 30-minute episodes about a family of eggs, round out SPI’s animated slate.

National Geographic offers wildlife specials for kids including 26 episodes of Really Wild Animals. The series originally aired on CBC and the Disney Channel. Other programs include Animal Holiday, Creepy Creatures and Natures Babies, among others.

Southern Star comes to MIP-TV with Ginger Meggs, a cartoon based on an Australian comic strip character. The story follows the 10-year-old freckled red-headed Ginger on his adventures. The show is aimed at an eight- to 12-year-old audience.

Saban International premieres the latest incarnations of its well-known live-action series Power Rangers in Space and Eerie Indiana: The Other Dimension. The former takes the rangers into space, while the latter concerns two preteen friends who discover weird things happening in their home town.

Children’s Television Workshop (CTW) launches Elmopalooza internationally at MIP-TV. The one-hour musical retrospective of 30 years of Sesame Street songs debuted in the U.S. last February on ABC. MATHmatazz, an 11 x 15-minute series featuring four math problem-solving puppets, is also being introduced for the first time at MIP. Other CTW offerings include Dragon Tales, a 40 x 30-minute multimedia series that aims to help children pursue new challenges, is offered in conjunction with Columbia TriStar Television.

The Genie from Down Under 2, Li’l Elvis Jones and the Truckstoppers and Round the Twist 3 are being offered by the Australian Children’s Television Foundation. The live-action Genie from Down Under 2 (12 x 24 minutes) is the second installment in the series about the genie that longs for freedom. Li’l Elvis Jones and the Truckstoppers is a 26 x 24-minute co-production between France Animation, Ravensburger Film + TV, France 2, Canal J and ABC of Australia. The third series of the live-action program Round the Twist, about a single father and his three children who give up city life and set up home in a lighthouse off the Australian coast, is set to go into production late this year. Pre-sale commitments for the show have been made by the ABC in Australia, the BBC, Nickelodeon UK and Walt Disney Television International.

Distributor Promark Entertainment follows up its recent foray into family programming with several films including Waking Up Horton, about a girl who accidentally wakes up a 19th century Indian, and The Legend of Pirates Point, about a group of boys who befriend a tramp claiming to be a pirate.

Italy’s Mondo TV brings The Black Corsair, a 26 x 30-minute adventure series about the famous pirate, Simba Goes to the Soccer World Cup, a 26 x 30 minutes about a group of animals that make it to the World Cup, and a new series, Super Heroes, about seven famous heroes from myth and legend who meet in the Himalayas and work to save the world.

Tristan and Isolde is a 26 x 26-minute series, produced by Ares Films and Cartoon Express, being launched by Canal+. The animated series incorporates multiplane camera, 3-D models and special graphic effects.

Under its newly formed film division PorchLight Pictures, PorchLight Entertainment will introduce its first film, Treehouse Hostage, about a group of 10-year-olds who hold an escaped convict captive in their treehouse. Three other films are currently in development.

Marina Productions and France 3 are actively looking for co-production partners for a 26 x 26-minute animated series based on the life of oceanographer Jacques Cousteau.

In this report:
- Kids reality shows sell ‘edutainment’
- They’ve got the whole world in their plans
- Local programmers emphasize local character
- Sonic Underground
- Bob Morane
- The Myth Men: Guardians of the Legend
- Mumble Bumble
- Fix & Foxi
- Princess of the Nile
- MIP-TV Roundup

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