‘Well, we should try to get someone like Rick Mischel,’ said Larry Schwarz, CEO of New York-based Rumpus.com. It was said when the kids new media company decided it needed to take the next step towards TV, but Schwarz needed someone to help him do it. Someone like Rick Mischel? Why not get Mischel himself? And on January 8, Mischel, former president and CEO of L.A.-based Harvey Entertainment, officially signed on as Rumpus’s acting president, a non-exclusive role stipulating that he will maintain some of his responsibilities at Harvey.
Rumpus started as a toy company, introducing its characters to market through that channel. Then it moved to books, eventually settling into the Internet medium it is now well-known for. Now Mischel is going to help them ink TV deals. ‘All along we’ve wanted to make shows,’ says Schwarz. ‘This is just the next step.’
Admittedly, say both Schwarz and Mischel, the pending sale of Harvey did present an opportunity for Mischel to make a move, and for Schwarz to approach him. ‘I had been looking into doing some other things,’ Mischel explains, ‘and I had wanted to work with the Rumpus guys for a long time.’
Mischel was at NATPE repping both Harvey and Rumpus, and at press time he was willing to say that Rumpus’s Space Puppies and Eggels have the most international appeal. Space Puppies is about a team of dogs that is sent into space by NASA. The series has a retro take on space exploration and the Cold War, plus a more futuristic look at alien encounters. Eggels-not the most advanced life form-are blobs with jobs, and each ep explores new challenges in their small, blobbish and brightly-colored society.