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what's developing in kids production...
August 1, 1998

what’s developing in kids production

This regular feature keeps tabs on what’s coming up in kids production. If your company has a new show in development which has just been greenlit, pass the news on to KidScreen West Coast editor Virginia Robertson. Coordinates: Tel (323) 966-4500/Fax (323) 852-0223 (

TVO/TFO and UNICEF join on series

Ontario educaster TVOntario/TFO and UNICEF have partnered on the 13-part To Tell A Story, a hard-hitting half-hour series tackling children’s issues, including homelessness, violence, sexual exploitation and health.

Specifics for the projects are still being hammered out, including the footage source. The budget will be about US$120,000 per ep if original footage is used, but will drop to around US$30,000 if stock is chosen. Canal Vie in Canada, Swedish Educational Television and Argentina’s Programas Santa Clara are co-pro partners. English- and French-track versions will be available mid-summer, with a Spanish version by fall.

Marina doubles the 6+ toon volume

Paris-based Marina Productions is working on The Fabulous Adventures of Jacques Cousteau bible with Toronto-HQed Nelvana. The 26 animated half-hours for 6- to 12-year-olds, which CBS is blocking into its deal, are for 2000 delivery to France 3. The budget is over US$8 million, and the show is currently in negotiation with Nelvana on a 50/50 basis.

Planning to deliver two animated series a year, Marina, via Dargaud Editeur, is one of several busy French producers in a well-positioned corporate structure which includes both a studio (Belvision Cartoons, one of the oldest animation studios in Europe), and a rights-rich publishing arm. Also in the works at Marina is The Last Reservation, deemed suitable for the 6 to 11 age group. The premise sees Indians-depicted as different animal characters-time-travel to Metropolis in this 26-ep, half-hour entry, which is a TF1 co-pro. The budget is US$6.7 million and delivery starts in April 1999.

Space tackled

by Brit/Oz mission

The U.K. arm of the Jim Henson Company has teamed with Hallmark Entertainment and 9 Network in Australia for the British-Australian co-pro, Farscape. Slated for delivery to The Sci Fi Channel this fall, the kids and family live-action series was created by Rockne S. O’Bannon, creator of Seaquest DSV, The Twilight Zone and Alien Nation. Farscape tracks astronaut John Crichton, who attempts to wrest control of a spaceship populated by alien political prisoners, while being pursued by mercenary beings called ‘Peacekeepers.’

Fix & Foxi gets animated

The German comic strip Fix & Foxi, created in the `60s by Rolf Kauka, is being produced as an animated TV series by Ravensburger Film + TV GmbH (Germany), and D’Ocon Films (Spain). For summer `99 delivery, it’s being produced in three languages (German, French and English), and the budget is 500,000 German marks per episode. The 26-episode series is sold to over 20 countries, including Canada, the U.S., Japan, Spain and various broadcasters in Eastern Europe and the Middle East.

Teletoon dishes Crumbs

Catalyst Entertainment of Toronto and Prince Edward Island-based Cellar Door Productions are co-producing the half-hour, animated Christmas special The True Meaning of Crumbfest. The US$500,000 project, about a mouse in search of the truth behind the annual appearance of crumbs at his farmhouse, will air in December on Canada’s Teletoon. Created by PEI author David Weale, the story first appeared as a radio play. Toronto’s Phoenix Animation Studio is working on the TV creative.

Drama at Alliance

Alliance Communications is adding two more series to its ’98 production slate. Silverstone is a youth/drama/adventure series for the Disney Channel;13 half-hours began production in Toronto on July 20. Alliance’s production partners on Silverstone are JPKids and Blujoy Productions. The period drama Little Men, based on the writings of Louisa May Alcott, will be syndicated by Pax Net in the U.S. Alliance begins production on 12 one-hour episodes in late August, also in Toronto.

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