Mainframe and Tony Hawk grind out toon series deal
Tony Hawk, who has traditionally shied away from TV development, has signed on with Vancouver-based Mainframe Entertainment to produce a skate-culture CGI series for boys eight to 14. In mid-October, Mainframe and Hawk were still fleshing out the creative concept, but the team is working on pitches in order to bring international and domestic partners on immediately and kickstart the production cycle with a September 2002 air date in mind.
Dan Didio, Mainframe’s senior VP of creative affairs, says that the company is working on live-action wrap-around concepts and motion-capture for Hawk’s moves, as well as bringing in other extreme sports celebs. The show will feature teen skaters (one an alter ego of Hawk himself) who kick ass in their chosen sport while trying to figure out what’s going on with their lives. Twenty-six half hours are planned, budgeted roughly between US$425,000 and US$450,000 each.
Under the full partnership, Mainframe and Tony Hawk will be sharing the licensing and merchandising responsibilities. ‘Naturally,’ says Didio, ‘he has pre-existing relationships, so we’ll follow his lead.’ Hawk’s personal fame on the skate circuit has grown worldwide–along with the continued success of his Pro-Skater vid game franchise–stretching his popularity beyond North America into Europe, the U.K. and Australia.
Adventures in winning millions
L.A.-based DIC Entertainment has partnered with the U.K. creators of Who Wants to be a Millionaire, Celador International, to produce, distribute and merchandise an animated adaptation of the hit game show. In The Adventures of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?: The Animated Series, the final question has been answered, and millions have been won. The victors take off on exotic journeys, giving viewers a chance to get a look at what happens when the winners walk out of the studio with money enough to realize their greatest dreams. The host keeps in touch with the characters via the Millionaire Studio Command Center.
Production is slated to start in January, with 26 half hours targeting families in the pipeline. Licensed or optioned in more than 100 countries to date, the toon series is budgeted at roughly US$300,000 to US$350,000 per episode.
The Googles go tube
A gaggle of characters with a whole whack of grassroots exposure is gearing up for small-screen treatment as 13 half hours of The Googles top the development slate at Florida-based Aurora Collection. What are Googles, you might ask? They’re a trio of three young aliens who travel to Earth to teach kids how to love, laugh, learn and care for the environment. Targeted at two- to 10-year-olds, The Googles will be rendered in 2-D Flash for a per-episode price tag of around US$250,000. Over US$500,000 has been spent on the project so far.
Since Aurora’s director of creative development Steven Silvers came up with the concept in the late ’80s to entertain his kids, The Googles have generated a fair bit of exposure in other media. They have attracted two million visitors since launching in July on Googles.com, which also features a product range of music CDs, trading cards, T-shirts, caps, stickers and plush toys. A live show tour, coined A GooSical Musical Revue, is tentatively pegged to roll out in the U.S. in six months, and a video project is also being explored. The characters were also recently featured on the Jerry Lewis Labor Day Telethon, and negotiations are underway to put the Googles to work on other fundraising events nationwide at the Muscular Dystrophy Association’s 200-plus district offices.