India-based computer graphics and animation house Pentamedia Graphics is looking to grow a global kids entertainment brand by developing eight new film, TV and web projects a year and capitalizing on every potential merchandising and publishing extension offered by these properties. Strangely enough, the three concepts currently on the drawing board share a similar creative element-they all center on monkey heroes.
Heading up development is 2-D series You Cheeky Monkey, a 13 x half-hour offering budgeted at over US$2 million. The series features Cheeky, a primate (in case you hadn’t already guessed) who lives up to his name. Set in a jungle environment, each of the show’s supporting animal characters has his or her own quirky quality, designed to make them fun and relevant to the four to 10 target demo.
Next in the pipeline is Dr. Bango, another 2-D simian-centric series for the eight to 12 set. Primate protagonist Dr. Bango and five cohorts go on a quest for the Key of Chiron, which promises to unlock the secrets of the universe. Professor Search (a human paleontologist) and his pet crow stumble across the search party after being marooned on the shore of a forgotten island of dinosaurs and dancing cacti. Four of eight half-hour eps are completed, and the entire US$1.4-million series is set for a fall delivery.
Mr. Doonz rounds out the slate, a 2-D preschool offering that features music, dance and lots of misadventure. Preproduction on the 13 x four-minute series (budgeted at US$400,000) is well underway, with five episodes already completed. Mr. Doonz is an ape (sense a pattern?) who takes an instant dislike to his latest acquaintance, a chipmunk-cum-squirrel named Squeaky. Tom-and-Jerry-like antics ensue (or Wile E. Coyote and Road Runner, whichever you prefer).
Each Pentamedia project was conceptualized in-house, with some outside writing. Both You Cheeky Monkey and Dr. Bango have employed U.K. scribes.
All three properties debuted at MIP-TV, and although the company reports that it is currently negotiating with North American, Euro and South East Asian broadcasters and distributors, no deals had been signed at press time.