Mike Young Productions has been chewing on some new ideas for the six to 11 set to help its distribution outfit Taffy Entertainment make a splash at MIPTV.
One series that the L.A.-based company’s president/producer Bill Schultz and co-founder/partner Mike Young hope to greenlight before they board the plane to Cannes is I Got A Rocket, created under the Taffy banner in partnership with Australia’s SLR Productions and Sunwoo in Korea.
Budgeted at roughly US$8.5 million for 52 x 11 minutes, the 2-D and Flash-animated series is based on a picture book of the same name and centers on Vinnie, a school kid who gets a rocket for his birthday. It seems like a cool gift until the rocket starts to show off its artificial intelligence and moody teenager-esque personality. In each episode, Vinnie and his friends butt heads with the Ducky Boys, a group of bullies who often blame their mischief on their rivals. The rocket tries to help, but its desire for instant gratification and revenge usually ends up getting in the way of simple, rational solutions.
Next up on MYP’s slate is Quantum Ray, a retro-cool CGI property that will be ready for delivery in fall 2006. Set in Nebraska, the show stars a tween boy named Robbie who discovers an intergalactic superhero living in the ninth dimension…which exists in a shoebox under his bed. Cosmonaut Ray recruits Robbie to help him fight the baddies that form the Timewarp Trio from breaking laws of science and nature. Interestingly, this concept came to MYP from the creator of LASIK eye surgery, who wanted to try his hand at creating a kids show that delivers lessons about science. Costing around US$350,000 per half hour to produce, the 52 x 11-minute series will be entertaining and scientifically accurate at the same time.
Schultz and Young are also working on the pilot script for a Q1 2007 project called El Corazon, a Latin-flavored superhero story designed to connect with fans of Totally Spies! and Teen Titans. Rendered in 2-D animation, the show centers around a young boy named Bobby who transforms himself into crime-fighting hero El Corazon. In one harrowing episode, he attempts to fight Killer Smog, an evil mastermind whose genetic makeup lets him change into a vapor at will. Smog gets into El Corazon’s lungs and chokes him until he blacks out. But while he’s unconscious, his ancestors come to him in a dream and give him the strength to wake up and fight back.
Young says there’s some interest from co-producers in France and Germany, and the per-episode budget for this 26 x half-hour show is US$300,000.
The newest concept to join the company’s development slate is Wild Life, about a collection of eccentric animals living in the petting zoo of a major urban tourist attraction. The oddball characters clash with each other over who controls the zoo space. From a fluff of a baby duck with a little/big man complex, to a white baboon who plans to take over the world, the cast of this 2-D animated series is reminiscent of Pinky and the Brain. Designed to play in a 26 x half-hour format, Wild Life’s budget should top out at roughly US$315,000 per episode.