What’s developing in kids production
Nelvana spawns a collectible co-pro
Nelvana is hoping that the trickle-down effect has readied the younger kid market for a new CGI series with Japanese influences and collectible potential. In co-production with Japan-based Milky Cartoons and Yomiko Advertising, Pecola features the adventures of a little cube-shaped origami penguin and all 28 of his origami friends. With an estimated budget of US$250,000 per episode, the 13 x half-hour show targets five- to seven-year-olds and is in production for a fall 2001 debut on Canada’s Teletoon.
Keying into kid interest in all things digital, Nelvana is in production with Thirteen/WNET New York and PBS on a 2-D animated TV and web learning series called Cyberchase. Designed for an eight to 11 audience, the 26 x half-hour series follows three kids who venture into cyberspace and use their math and logic skills to defeat the evil Hacker. After watching the show, kids will be able to log-on to www.pbs.org and continue the adventure with the Cyber Squad.
Additional funding on the US$6.5-million initiative comes from U.S.-based non-profits such as the National Science Foundation. The series is slated for completion by the end of this year, airing on PBS affiliate stations across the U.S. in winter 2000 as part of the PBS Kids block.
Optical Image’s CGI two-pack
U.K.-based CGI specialist Optical Image (Jellabies creator) is gearing up for a pair of new series for 2001. The Diddlys is a 26 x 11-minute original CGI series for the preschool set. Budgeted at US$2 million, this Thomas-esque show stars two steam engines-Diddly Dee and Diddly Dum-who live in Tootsville Railway Museum. U.K.-based Just Group-which acquired Optical Image in September-is distributing the series and handling licensing internationally. At press time, Optical and Just were in talks with a major U.K. caster. Production starts on February 5 for
delivery in January 2002.
For the tween side of the demo scale, Optical Image is working up an 11-minute MIP-TV trailer for Junk Planet based on the level of interest the original concept generated at its MIPCOM debut. Planned as a 26 x 11-minute CGI series, the show features Jarv15, an outdated domestic service robot who’s replaced and dumped on Junk Planet. The snobbish Jarv15 teams up with other robot rejects to try and escape. The family-oriented comedy series has a core target of kids ages eight and up and a US$2-million price tag.