Cool New Shows

Li'l Horrors
Producers/Distributors: Produced by December Films (in Australia) with co-pro partners Beyond and Germany's MBP
Broadcaster: Seven Network in Australia
Premise: A mix of fantasy and irreverent comedy, Li'l Horrors stars the offspring of the big screen's scariest monsters. The...
October 1, 2000

Li’l Horrors

Producers/Distributors: Produced by December Films (in Australia) with co-pro partners Beyond and Germany’s MBP

Broadcaster: Seven Network in Australia

Premise: A mix of fantasy and irreverent comedy, Li’l Horrors stars the offspring of the big screen’s scariest monsters. The setting is Maug Stone Hall, a kindergarten school run by a retired horror movie actress. A sampling of the students include: a Medusa-like little girl who dreads bad-hair days; Abercrombie the zombie, who zones out in front of the tube; and Duncan Stein, a big but simple kid who can’t always keep it together (body parts, specifically).

Status: The first block of five 12-minute episodes (designed to run as 12 minutes or 25 minutes) have been completed and are in post-production

Demo: The sitcom-esque series is designed for the four to seven set, but is engaging enough for a wider audience

Style: Features Henson-style, three-foot-tall, stick-your-arm-up-the-back puppets. Computer animation and some mechanics facilitate limb and facial movements.

Format: 52 x 12 minutes

Budget: While lower than most animation budgets, US$200,000 per half hour is substantial for a puppet series

Delivery: Complete delivery can be expected in November or December 2000, with an air date on Seven Network in early April 2001.

Fido Dido

Producers: London-based HRA, with executive producer HIT Entertainment and New York’s Fido Dido

Premise: Fido, JD, Doodles, Cosmo and Dog are suddenly unemployed when their show, The Fidos, is discontinued. The abnormal-looking quintet hits the streets of the Big City, but finds it difficult to fit into the urban scene. Prior to doing a stint as the popular 7-Up spokestoon in the late `80s, Fido Dido was born as a cocktail napkin doodle by New York creators Joanna Ferrone and Susan Rose in 1986.

Status: In preproduction at press time

Demo: Eight to 11

Format: 26 x 15 minutes

Budget: US$6 million

Delivery: The pilot premieres at MIPCOM

The Milagro Sisters

Producer: Sesame Workshop

Premise: Three Latino sisters living with their father and maternal grandmother in a Miami-esque Hispanic milieu try to hang onto their roots and culture despite the encroaching presence of Americanization. This dual-language drama series (primarily in Spanish, with some English) skews to what Julian Scott, group VP of creative development at Sesame Workshop, sees as an under-targeted demographic-young Hispanic girls.

Status: Currently in development

Demo: Girls eight to 13

Style: Live action

Format: 13 half hours

Budget: US$350,000 per ep

Delivery: Spring 2002

Brilliant Creatures

Producer: U.K.-based The Foundation

Distributor: Entertainment Rights

Premise: Brilliant Creatures is a factual show, shot partially in the studio and partially on location, that spotlights every type of animal under the sun. The show features several different mini

strands-such as ‘Poo Corner,’ which takes a look at the bodily functions of animals, and ‘The Beauty Parlor,’ which checks out animals’ grooming habits. (How do those long-haired monkeys stay so pretty?)

Status: The series currently airs on ITV, but there weren’t enough eps to shop it around until now. MIPCOM marks the first time Brilliant Creatures is being offered internationally.

Demo: Seven to 10

Style: Live action

Format: 21 x 15 minutes

Budget: Just over US$200,000 per ep

Delivery: September 2000

Gilleon the Chameleon

Producers: Sesame Workshop, with L.A.-based independent producer Nancy Kanter

Premise: Written by L.A.-based children’s writer and illustrator Sean Roache and designed by Chris Tougas (also out of L.A.), the toon tells the story of a five-year-old chameleon who goes to outrageous lengths to blend in. Confounded by a lack of confidence, Gilleon is balanced by his best friend Rupert the pig, a simple yet self-assured sort who helps to get the be-true-to-you message across.

Status: Being pitched at MIPCOM

Demo: Preschool

Style: 2-D cel animation

Format: 40 half hours

Budget: US$350,000 per ep

Delivery: Tentatively scheduled for 18 months after MIPCOM


Producer/Distributor: HIT Entertainment

Premise: Based on hit Brit comic strip The Beano, this animated series tells the story of 10-year-old schoolboy Ed and a team of characters called the Numskulls who live in Ed’s head. Often at odds, Ed tries to do one thing and the Numskulls another, rendering him quite. . . awkward.

Status: Currently in development

Demo: Six to 12

Style: 2-D animated

Format: 26 x 15 minutes

Budget: US$4 million to US$4.5 million

Delivery: September 2002

Poor Richard’s Almanac

Producer/Distributor: DIC Entertainment

Premise: Poor Richard waxes historic, detailing the adventures of two fictional kids apprenticed to Ben Franklin in his print shop during the American Revolution. The time frame provides ample opportunity for adventure and conflict for the characters, and rather than glorify the period, the series makes painstaking attempts to be as historically accurate as possible. Pulitzer Prize-winning Stanford historian Jack Rakove will consult.

Status: Licensed to PBS in the U.S.

Demo: Six to 11

Style: 2-D animated

Format: 40 half hours

Budget: US$250,000 to US$300,000 per ep

Super Rupert

Producer/Distributor: Toronto-based Sullivan Entertainment

Premise: Live-action comedy Super Rupert is a show for kids who have always dreamed of being a superhero. Wildly imaginative Rupert is constantly on a mission to protect the world from dangers of his own invention. He morphs in and out of his made-up world, suiting up (and switching to 2-D cel animation) to battle evil. The series is based on the original movie Rupert Paterson: Superhero (1997, from Valencia, California-based Brooks Campbell Films).

Status: Presold to the BBC for a debut next spring

Demo: Eight to 12

Style: Live action with some 2-D animation

Format: 13 half hours

Budget: US$235,000 per episode

Delivery: Spring 2001

Pure Imagination

Producers: L.A.-based Evolution Film and Tape (producer of Big Brother), with Sesame Workshop

Premise: Fronted by the Fonz-turned-director Henry Winkler, the project takes stories penned by a team of young writers ages 10 to 15 and turns them into short movies. The tales can cover any genre-from sci-fi to fantasy to action to real life. As an attempt to tap into the popularity of reality-based programming, the series plans to include some ‘making of’ episodes.

Status: Development finished at the end of August, with pitches made in the U.S. in mid to late September

Demo: 10 to 15

Style: Live action

Format: 13 half hours

Budget: US$350,000 per ep

Three Frogs

Producer: Kate Kennedy-White out of Australia (formerly executive producer at Nine Network)

Premise: Three animatronic tree frogs-two brothers and a sister (each representing an actual native Aussie species)-engage in sibling drama each ep, mirroring preschool life. The show is set in a backyard, with the frogs spending most of their time on a log. Three Frogs originally aired in Australia as part of the Channel Ten show Where to Find the Ladybird.

Status: Finished production

Demo: Preschool

Style: Animatronic

Format: 20 x five minutes

Budget: US$75,000 per ep

Delivery: Fall 2000


Producer/Distributor: Saban acquired and reproduced the series for a Western audience, originally created by Japan-based Toei Animation.

Premise: This action-adventure anime series, set 300 years in the future, stars a young girl who comes out of a three-century slumber to find that Earth has been taken over by aliens. Alone and scared, Yokuma wanders until she meets Mushro, a synthetic being with the ability to morph into a superhero, who becomes her traveling companion and protector.

Status: The series is in production and will air on Fox Kids sometime in 2001

Demo: Six to 11

Style: 2-D anime

Format: 31 half hours

Budget: US$250,000 to US$300,000 per ep

Power Stone

Producers: Lacey Entertainment secured the worldwide programming rights from California-based Entertainment Licensing Associates (which also carries the worldwide rights for licensing and merchandising) and now co-produces the program with Tokyo Broadcast Systems, Japan’s Studio Pierrot and Kaleidoscope Entertainment of Canada

Premise: In this Dragon Ball Z-ish series, Edward Falcon has been given an artifact by his father: A magical power stone-one of many lost across the globe. Strong in the tradition of the martial arts, Falcon has to find the rest of the stones and keep them from those who would ill-use their power.

Status: All 26 eps will be finished and ready for international distribution by November. A deal has been wrapped with ADV Film for English-language videos in Canada and the U.S. Imavision, out of Montreal, will handle the French-language video for Canadian distribution. TV deals have been secured with Mexico’s Televisa and SIC TV in Portugal, and there are two offers pending from Brazil, says Brian Lacey, president of Lacey Entertainment. Presentations for broadcasters in North America started in late August.

Demo: 10 to 15

Style: 2-D anime

Format: 26 half hours

Budget: US$300,000 per episode

Kanipan: Boy of Invention

Producers/Distributors: Saban (which acquired the series from its original producer, Asatsu-DK, and has reproduced it for North American delivery)

Premise: The series finds Kanipan embarking on a danger-ridden adventure in an attempt to help Angelica, a beautiful amnesiac alien. Locked in the black hole of her memory is her planet’s plan to destroy Earth. Together, they try to unearth the deadly secret while evading Angelica’s malicious brother Hirsh and the wicked Quanto. Kanipan invents himself in and out of trouble with the help of Angelica’s psychic powers. Romance and danger abound in this action-adventure series.

Status: The series is in production and will air on Fox Kids sometime in 2001

Demo: Six to 11

Style: 2-D anime

Format: 21 half hours

Budget: US$250,000 to US$300,000 per ep

Delivery: 2001

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Lost World

Producers: Co-produced by France’s Neuroplanet and Canadian Vivatoon

Distributors: Neuroplanet (international except for Canada) and Vivatoon (in Canada)

Premise: Based on the original concept by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, The Lost World is set in 1912 and centers around Lord John Roxton, who’s itching to find a lost world thought to exist somewhere in South America. He sets off on the expedition accompanied by a motley crew of scientists, anthropologists and their families.

Status: Debuting at MIPCOM

Demo: Six to 10

Style: 2-D cel animation

Format: 26 x 26 minutes

Budget: US$7.2 million for the series

Delivery: March 2001

Spill Your Guts

Producers: Toronto-based Pyman Video Productions, in association with Yacka Productions, also based in Toronto

Distributors: Global CanWest and U.S. premium channel WAM!

Premise: Karyn Gordon is a 26-year-old motivational speaker and psychotherapist by profession, but she’s also the host of this new music-variety show. In 1996, Gordon toured Canadian high schools, performing workshops using music and a variety show format to address teen issues. For the TV series, she chose a creative team of teens and young adults to develop the show as a cross between Much Music (Canada’s MTV) and a variety show. SYG invites top bands onto the show to share their experiences, in turn providing a means to reach the kids themselves. Racism, self-esteem and peer pressure are some of the issues that find their way into the lineup, discussed with bands like the Tea Party, Our Lady Peace and Live.

Status: Thirteen eps have already aired in Canada, but the show is hoping to gain international exposure with another 13 starting production this month, for a 2001 debut

Demo: Thirteen to 19

Style: Live action

Format: 13 half hours

Budget: US$20,000 to US$25,000 per ep

Mon-Colle Knights

Producers: Saban (acquired from the original producers, Medianet and TV Tokyo, and reproduced for a Western audience)

Premise: This fantasy adventure series details the exploits of professor Ichiroubei, who has discovered a secret portal to the legendary world of Six Gates. He takes his daughter and her best friend with him to explore this strange world inhabited by exotic beasts. While the professor’s motives are altruistic, he does have a rival whose ambitions are much more self-serving. Inhabiting the forests of Germany, Count Correction seeks the six elements of Gates, which will allow him to rule the Earth. With an incantation, the kids transform into the Mon-Colle Knights and protect the world of Six Gates from the evil Count.

Status: The series is in production and will air on Fox Kids sometime in 2001

Demo: Six to 11

Style: 2-D anime

Format: 52 half hours

Budget: US$250,000 to US$300,000 per ep

Delivery: 2001

Fridge Magnets

Producer: Montreal-based Tube Studios

Premise: Tube Studios’ Danny Bergeron was sitting in his kitchen with his kids milling around, when he realized that his entire life (more or less) was stuck on the door of his fridge. Bills, timetables, phone numbers. . . all important and all relying on various fridge magnets for survival. This revelation led to the creation of Fridge Magnets.

Max is the leader of a posse of magnets who live on a fridge in a typical suburban household. Each ep finds the magnets leaving the fridge to recover lost lottery tickets or prevent the house from being burgled-all the while ‘sticking together’ in order to accomplish the adventure at hand.

Status: In production for debut at MIPCOM. At press time, no broadcasters had committed to the series.

Demo: Nine to 12

Style: 3-D animation

Format: 26 x 11 minutes

Budget: US$2.4 million

Wild Kat

Producer: Sue Taylor (Australia’s RT Films) for Barron Entertainment and Ten Network

Distributor: Carlton International

Premise: Fifteen-year-old Katarina (Kat) and her little brother Jamie have their rural world turned upside down when their father is forced overseas and they have to go live with their mother, a veterinary scientist for a zoo in the big city. Kat develops a strange rapport with the resident Siberian tiger, Garang-actually more than a rapport. It turns out Kat can mind meld with Garang, eventually taking on some tiger-like attributes (night vision, acute sense of smell and hearing). Dr. Lydia Raushark, a renowned geneticist, develops an interest in Garang and Kat’s relationship, but we’re not sure how honorable her scientific intentions are.

Kat is a reluctant hero, even more so when she becomes overpowered by her. . . tiger sensibilities. She blacks out during these experiences, leaving her disoriented and increasingly unable to control her behavior. Another interesting point? Kat’s a vegetarian, but as the series progresses she starts to eat meat.

Status: In production for a MIPCOM debut. No international broadcasters had been signed at press time.

Demo: Seven to 14

Style: Live action

Format: 13 half hours (planned 26, but only 13 for MIPCOM)

Budget: US$275,000 to US$325,000 per ep.

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