Carlton brings back
marionettes in space
London-based Carlton International is introducing a technologically enhanced version of Gerry Anderson’s Thunderbirds at NATPE. The cult sci-fi series first aired in 1965, but will be digitally remastered for the new millennium. The price tag of the original was about US$35,400 per ep (that’s in 1965 dollars) and the digital rejigging puts Carlton back another US$5,000 per ep. The puppet/special effects hybrid follows the members of the Tracy family who, as a team, prevent impending global disasters with their secret fleet of futuristic aircraft: the Thunderbirds. The reversioned 32 x 50-minute series will be delivered in spring 2000 and goes on the air in fall 2000 on BBC 2. Other deals with broadcasters are currently under negotiation. Skewed to ages six and up, the series may also attract 30-somethings who eyeballed the original. Carlton handles worldwide distribution rights.
In conjunction with the September 2000 air date, a merchandising campaign will roll out in the U.K. with a bevy of licensees. These include: master toy licensee Surrey-based Vivid Imaginations; Derbyshire kids clothier Cherub TDP; Carlton Video; Carlton Books; London’s Sales Curve Interactive for CD-ROMs and console games; Dekker Toys for costumes; Euromark for bubble bath and shower radios; Martin Yaffee for lunch boxes and flasks; Really Useful for puzzles and board games; and Image Communication for cell phone packages, screen graphics and ring tones.
Sunbow has a show for every demo
Santa Monica-based Sony Wonder/Sunbow is looking for co-pro partners at NATPE for three 26 x half-hour traditional cel-animated series currently in development.
Skeleton Key follows the adventures of a 16-year-old girl who escapes from her small-town high school to a magical parallel universe. The anime-inspired show targets kids ages 10 to 14 and comes with a per-episode price tag of US$300,000.
Sci-fi show Stone focuses on the hero’s action-packed adventures protecting precious magical stones from the forces of evil. If the stones fall into the hands of the bad guys, global chaos ensues. The series targets eight- to 14-year-olds and has a budget of US$325,000 per ep.
Based on the book by Alyssa Satin Capucilli and illustrated by Pat Schories, Biscuit follows a yellow puppy through his day-to-day foibles. The 26 x half-hour series targets two- to five-year-olds and has a budget of US$300,000 per ep.
CTW offers some wonder-stuff
New from New York’s Children’s Television Workshop is the 40 x half-hour Fred the Wonder Dog. Featuring a canine scientist named Fred who investigates phenomena through experimentation, the multimedia show incorporates puppets, live action, music and animated adventures, with a target of children ages five to eight. The co-production with Illinois-based Rudling Productions is currently in development, and CTW is looking to add an international co-pro partner. Negotiations with broadcasters are also underway. CTW holds worldwide distribution rights for the US$300,000 per-ep series.
Ellipsanime bugs out
Paris-based prodco Ellipsanime is teaming up with co-pro partners France 3 in Paris and Toronto-based Nelvana for Funny Little Bugs, a preschool series about a bunch of garden-dwellers including Betty Bee, Larry Louse and Annabelle Ant. The 39 x seven-minute series is slated for a fall 2001 delivery. The 3-D animated show carries a budget of about US$3.8 million.
Ellipsanime is also courting tweens with Agrippine, a co-pro with Paris-based Canal +, La Sept Arte and Channel 5. The 26 x half-hour series is geared to ages 11 and up and follows the angst-ridden existence of 15-year-old Agrippina. The 2-D animated sitcom has a price tag of US$6 million and is slated for a Christmas 2000 delivery.
Both series are currently in production.
Varga shows a cow named Lilly
Hungary-based prodco Varga Holdings rolls out Living Large with Lilly, a US$3.6-million series about a cow with a dream. Lilly has a lot of soul for a cow, but she’s a little on the naive side for big-city life. Now in development, the 39 x seven-minute series is geared to preschoolers. Rendered in 2-D animation, Lilly is distributed by Varga worldwide. No broadcasters are signed on yet, but delivery is set for spring 2001.
Varga is also showcasing a 26 x 11-minute cel-animated series called Rambling Ted. Currently in development, this co-pro with London-based Michael Woodward Creations centers around a bear, Ted, who lives in Rambling Valley with his buddies Rambling Rose, Chomper the greedy raccoon, Forty Winks the hedgehog, Twitcher the paranoid squirrel and Sunny Bunny. Ted spends his time inventing wonderful gadgets-but then forgets why he invented them in the first place. The preschool series comes with a total price tag of US$4.2 million. Varga is on the lookout for broadcasters.
Bunnies rule at Greenlight/Magus
Netherlands-based prodco Greenlight International/Magus Entertain-ment has teamed up with Calgary, Canada’s Classic Entertainment for Stitches in Time, a six x 24-minute series that follows a rambunctious bunny through six different holidays. Stitches experiences Valentine’s Day, Easter, Mother’s Day, Thanksgiving, Halloween and, of course, Christmas. The 2-D animated preschool series is currently in production and carries a price tag of about US$240,000 per episode. Stitches is slated to air in February on MTV in Finland. Other broadcasters include Denmark’s TV2 and Telepool in Germany.
Greenlight/Magus is also bringing classic kid tearjerker The Velveteen Rabbit to the small screen as an 85-minute feature. The 2-D animated preschool tale of a little boy and his favorite stuffed animal is in production and slated for delivery in July 2000. The co-pro with Classic Entertainment is budgeted at US$1.6 million and will air on TV2 in Denmark.
Greenlight/Magus retains worldwide distribution rights for both productions, with the exception of some African territories being handled by South Africa-based Vision Africa.
BKN assembles high-tech Kong
New York-based BKN’s 40 x 22-minute Kong, the Animated Series reinvents the legend with a genetically altered hi-tech ape born through DNA research and the Internet. The result is a cyber-enhanced monkey that teams up with teens and macro-monsters Sabertooth and Sunbear in this 2-D animated series. The creatures set about preventing the evil Ramon de la Porta from uncovering the secret of KKong.com. The co-pro with Paris-based Ellipse targets the six to 12 set and is distributed by BKN International worldwide (excluding the U.S., which is handled by BKN’s New York office). Currently in preproduction with a budget of US$300,000 per episode, Kong is slated to debut September 2000 across the U.S. on BKN.
CDC United introduces
a different kind of
Miniman stars what may be the world’s only superhero who refuses to fight his enemies. Instead, Miniman tackles the daily trials and tribulations that plague children. The 26 x 10-minute co-pro with Barcelona-based Cromosoma is geared to ages three to six and carries a price tag of US$2.1 million. The 2-D animated series is in development with delivery set for January 2001. Belgium-based CDC is negotiating other co-pro deals and talking to potential broadcasters.
Juanito Jones is also in development at CDC with co-pro partner Cromosoma. The US$5.4-million series combines 2-D and 3-D animation for the four to nine set. The 52 x 13-minute or 26 x half-hour series centers around a seven-year-old boy who fancies himself to be like Indiana Jones-hence the name. Through his wild imagination, Juanito is transported into strange, adventure-packed lands. CDC is shopping for broadcasters and additional co-producers for the series. Delivery is scheduled for September 2001.
Sea-faring dinos from John Adams
London-based prodco John Adams Television has dug up Dinosaurs of the Deep, a live action/CGI hybrid examining the great ocean-dwelling creatures of the Mesozoic period. Sixty-foot beasts come to life in this family-targeted two x 50-minute co-pro with U.K.-based Stroud and Partridge Films of Bristol. The two-part special is budgeted at about US$2 million and slated for a 2001 delivery. The series is currently in preproduction with no broadcasters signed on yet. John Adams Television handles worldwide distribution.
Based on original characters from Oxford University Press educational series The Oxford Reading Tree, The Magic Key Adventures centers around a group of friends who travel the space/time continuum thanks to a mysterious key. The 26 x seven-minute, 2-D animated series is currently in production with a price tag of about US$2 million. Aiming for kids ages four to seven, The Magic Key Adventures is slated for delivery in September 2000. Based in London, HIT holds rights for non-educational CD-ROMs, merchandise, TV and video and music. No broadcasters are lined up yet.
HIT has also announced a US$6.4-million budget for developing series Angelina Ballerina. The 26 x 15-minute series is geared to girls ages three to seven and concerns a mouse who is determined to become the best ballerina in mousedom. Based on the book series by Katharine Holabird (illustrated by Helen Craig), Angelina is slated for delivery in fall 2001. HIT retains publishing, merchandise, video and TV and spin-off book rights. No broadcasters have been lined up yet.
Einstein spawns toon
Montreal-based Tube Images and Punch! International of Outremont, Canada have teamed up to co-produce Albert and Atom, a 39 x seven-minute series featuring Einstein and his dog Atom as they fly through the universe on a red rocket named E=mc2. Created by Gerry Potterton, the series will combine stop-motion and 2-D backgrounds through computer animation. Albert is currently in development for the six to nine set with a budget of about US$2 million. Tube Images is currently shopping for broadcasters.
Same girl, different ocean
Monaco-based Daro Film Distribution is bringing animated series The New Adventures of Ocean Girl, a sequel to the live-action original. The 2-D series on a 3-D background was first previewed at MIPCOM and is geared to kids ages six to 10. The series features Princess Neri, a.k.a. Ocean Girl, who is on a quest for a set of stolen crystals that will restore the balance of nature to a turbulent world.
The 26 x half-hour series, currently in production, is budgeted at about US$200,000 per ep, with delivery set for June 2000. International distribution is split between Daro, Beyond International of Sydney and Paris-based Tele Images.