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Hot mix from Madrid...
November 1, 1998

Hot mix from Madrid

Producer/distributor PPM MultiMedia brightens up the winter with a two-show slate that features athletic snails and a comeback for Pumby.

The heroes of Snailympics are fragile, tender and slow, but the plasticine gastropods always rise to an Olympic sporting challenge. Budgeted at US$650,000, the 13 x five-minute series for preschoolers was produced by the newly formed Truca Films with co-producers PPM MultiMedia, Canal 9 (Spain), Megafun (Canada) and La Cinquième (France). Snailympics is already set to air on VPRO (Holland), Disney Channel (Italy), Canal 9 (Spain), LA 5 (France), and is distributed by PPM.

José Sanchis’ popular Spanish comic book hero of the `60s returns in Pumby, a 75-minute TV special budgeted at US$845,000, and a 26 x 26-minute series budgeted at US$4.7 million. The irrepressible Pumby, along with girlfriend Blanquita and the inventive Professor Chivete, get into lots of trouble in a stimulating fantasy world full of surprises. Aimed at children ages six to 11, the series and TV special are distributed by PPM and produced by Cartoon P (Spain) along with Spanish co-producers Tabalet Estudios, Canal 9, and TVE (in negotiation).

Channel 5

takes a chance on Risk

London-based Focus Television International is in production on a 52 x 30-minute teen drama series called Risk that will air on Channel 5 in April 1999. Budgeted at US$5 million, the show tracks the lives of six teenagers coming of age in central London in 1999. Tackling real issues like love, sex, friendship, drugs and alcohol, Risk subtly examines the connection between choice and consequence in a non-judgmental way.

A ZOOMerang back from the `70s

PBS has dug up live-action `70s kids show ZOOM, dusted it off, and made a season of new programs for 1999. The 40 x 30-minute production has a budget of US$6 million, plus a US$2 million budget for the show’s interactive component, which includes a Web site and on-line promotions.

The show relies on feedback from a live audience and viewers to fill segments such as the CaféZOOM cooking lesson, the ZOOMsci math and science experiment, the ZOOMa cum laude kid awards, and ZOOMzinger challenges. Aimed at kids six to 12 and hosted by kids ages eight to 13, the show will launch on PBS January 4, 1999.

Sunbow pet project gets green light

In its first deal since being acquired by Sony, Sunbow Entertainment announced that it will move into production on 24 half-hour episodes of Fat Dog Mendoza, a longtime development project that had been on hold at the New York-based kids animation company. The co-production with TMO-Loonland, based in Germany, is budgeted at US$375,000 per episode and already has a broadcast commitment from Cartoon Network UK. The series is targeted to kids ages four to 15, and is slated for a fall 1999 or spring 2000 delivery.

Fat Dog Mendoza is based on a Dark Horse comic of the same name by artist Scott Musgrove. Harkening back to classic properties such as The Little Rascals, the comedy centers around the adventures of an ordinary group of kids living in a quirky neighborhood.

Watership Down: the series

Twenty years after the movie, Richard Adam’s classic tale of rabbits in peril, Watership Down, is to be recreated as a 26 x 30-minute animation series for kids ages five to 11.

The US$9.8 million project by U.K.-based Alltime Entertainment and Canada’s Decode was commissioned last month by U.K. broadcaster ITV. Production will start in early 1999 with delivery of 13 episodes scheduled for the fall of the same year. The property’s rights holder, Martin Rosen, who also wrote, produced and directed the feature, will executive produce the current project.

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