what’s developing in kids production

Old MacDonald still has a farm...
May 1, 2000

Old MacDonald still has a farm

U.K.-based Abbey Home Entertainment, a subsidiary of Just Group, began production on MacDonald’s Farm, a co-production with England’s GMTV. The caster is scheduled to air the 26 x half-hour preschool toon in December. Abbey Home is shopping for additional casters for the US$2.4 million series.

Anne Miles, CEO of Abbey Home, explains that the animals are named for the sounds they make, to appeal to the newly verbal set, so there’s Moo Moo the cow and Neigh Neigh the horse, naturally. Based on the children’s song Old MacDonald, the tale has been modified for the millennium. The animals, for example, work on an organic farm. The animal characters never see Mr. or Mrs. MacDonald-the series is entirely from the barnyard beasts’ POV. The show also expands on its musical roots, as there are 52 songs featured in the series. Abbey Home handles worldwide distribution rights.

PMMP gets inventive

The Paris-based production and distribution company teamed up with co-pros/casters France 3 and La Cinquième in France on Doc Eureka, a 39 x seven-minute series also slated to air on DIC in Portugal. Air dates have not yet been confirmed, but the 2-D animated series geared to the six to 10 set will be ready for delivery this month.

Doc Eureka answers questions like who invented the frisbee. Each episode charts the story of an invention, from first quirky idea to the fruition of genius. PMMP handles worldwide distribution and is seeking other casters.


ITEL secures rights for the first of a slate of holiday specials

The London-based distributor is shoppingfor casters for Happy Easter April, a 30-minute, family-targeted holiday special produced by Paris-based Praxinos. Budgeted at US$230,000, the special is ready for delivery now. Happy Easter April is the first of a series of holiday specials that are currently in development.

The 2-D animated show revolves around April, a doll brought to life by the Sand Man’s magic dust, which is kidnapped and sold to a wealthy doll collector. April and an entourage of doll friends, including the Easter Bunny, plot to return April to her home in time to dole out Easter eggs. ITEL handles worldwide distribution rights, excepting French-speaking North and South Korea.

In development…

Sound bytes

Flux and his Soundbox is a co-production of the U.K.’s 2Match, new media company Cyware Neue Medien of Germany and Heidelberg prodco MagicWorx. Budgeted at roughly US$2 million, the preschool series debuted at MIP-TV and 2Match is shopping for casters.

The digitally animated series centers around Flux, an alien who checks out his environment with his sound box. When Flux meets a dog, he records the bark, then later on, when he encounters another, potentially vicious canine, the sound recorder starts to bark.

2Match plans to develop Flux across many platforms, with his own Web site (, as audio books, and as a CD-ROM game. 2Match handles worldwide distribution rights for the series.

Waiting for the bus

U.K.-based Pepper’s Ghost Productions, the prodco behind Tiny Planets, is on the lookout for casters for its latest tween offering, Bus Stop. The 52 x one-minute, 3-D series ‘offers bite sized chunks of teen life at a bus stop, where they share quirky thoughts,’ explains Richard Morss, creative director at Pepper’s Ghost. ‘The first time you see it, you’ll think `what’s that?’ but by the second time, people will catch on,’ he says. The series is budgeted at roughly US$800,000.


Every dog has his day. . . in court

L.A.-based PorchLight Entertainment’s The Trial of Old Drum is slated to air on Animal Planet in June. Budgeted at close to US$3 million, the family-targeted feature centers around the true story of a boy and his dog-with an unusual twist.

Old Drum, an orphaned golden retriever, is adopted by 11-year-old Charlie in rural Missouri. Drum proves his mettle by rescuing Charlie from near drowning, but the heroic dog is soon accused of killing sheep. The farmer, also the boy’s uncle, files a suit to have the dog terminated and Charlie has to fight for his dog’s life in court. The pic stars Scott Bakula, Ron Perlman and Randy Travis. Porchlight handles worldwide distribution.

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