Nelvana serves up new-age space-fighting in Shockrockets!
Tapping into a post-apocalyptic comic book saga about a young Chilean boy who joins an elite intergalactic fighting squadron, Nelvana is going for high boys adventure with Shockrockets! In the lead-off episode of the 26 x half-hour CGI series, Alejandro’s leisurely highcycle (a futuristic bike) ride is cut short when he gets tangled up in a clash between the Shockrockets and an army of gunbirds and gigantic mutant sea monsters serving villain Korda. When a pilot is critically injured in front of him, Alejandro impulsively commandeers his Shockrocket ship and shoots down the remaining gunbirds, earning a permanent spot on the squadron. Budgeted at between US$6.5 million and US$7.5 million, Shockrockets! is based on a same-name comic book series inked by Kurt Busiek and Stuart Immonen. Nelvana is angling to deliver the series for six- to 11-year-olds by spring 2006.
Granada barks up the right tree
Dating all the way back to the ’50s with Lassie and The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin, dog-starring TV vehicles certainly aren’t new. But whereas Lassie helps little Timmy when he falls down a well, the talking canine star of Barking probably pushed Timmy down there in the first place. From co-producers Granada Kids and Catherine Bailey, this live-actioner for tweens centers around the relationship between a cynical dog with a healthy disrespect for humans and his 12-year-old owner Jezza.
When Jezza’s friend asks her to look after her pet gerbil, she jumps at the chance. Finally she can see what it’s like to have a proper pet who won’t phone expensive chat lines and get her into trouble. Georgie, however, releases the rodent from its cage in a fit of jealousy. As pet and owner ransack the house looking for the AWOL gerbil, Jezza realizes that even though he’s annoying, Georgie is a lot more fun than a boring caged animal. Budgeted at roughly US$225,000 for each of 13 half-hour episodes, Granada will complete the first ep by December 2004 in order to facilitate negotiations with broadcasters.
Foothill brings a Special Delivery to the small screen
Through rain, sleet, snow and a particularly heavy spell of slapstick comedy, Santa Barbara, California’s Foothill Entertainment looks at the kooky subculture of couriers in Special Delivery. Developed by the creative team at phuuz entertainment, this 2-D/CGI toon stars six delivery ‘professionals’ who will do anything to get their packages in on time. Scripts were still being finalized at press time, but in one episode, Taneshwah finds out that Special Delivery’s biggest client, a reclusive multimillionaire, has been secretly sending and receiving the same package for years just to have an excuse to see her. Mortified by this secret crush, Taneshwah demands that dispatcher Joe reassign her to another account. But Joe only sees dollar signs; if he takes Taneshwah off the account, he may lose some serious revenue! While the couriers join forces to solve this dilemma, the audience is treated to a fantasy sequence in which each character imagines his or her life with a sugar daddy. Targeting boys 12 and up, Special Delivery (26 x half hours) will be ready for fall 2006. Foothill is courting co-pro partners in the U.S., Canada and Europe to contribute to the series’ US$6-million budget.
A new game show from Animus aims to make nutrition fun
With childhood obesity concerns reaching an all-time high, Miami, Florida’s Animus Entertainment Group’s first kids series aims to steer tweens and teens away from fast food by showing them fun ways to whip up nutritious meals in the kitchen. X-Out Junk Food is part game show, part cookery show, featuring two kid hosts who test two teams of contestants on their knowledge of healthy food and eating habits in front of a live studio audience. The first challenge is a Cooking Duel in which the team that creates the healthiest and tastiest snack wins. The second challenge is all about food trivia, and an incorrect answer sends one team member into the X-Out Pool of Slime. If the team loses this segment, they must each wear of jacket filled with 40 pounds of extra weight and trek up a greasy hill. The final segment focuses on exercise, with a raucous game of dodgeball. The team with the most points at the end of the show wins cash and prizes. X-Out Junk Food is fully funded by private equity financing, and Animus has started producing 13 episodes in both English and Spanish. Each half-hour show is budgeted at around US$50,000, and Animus plans to sell U.S. and European syndication rights.