Cool new shows!

Pénélope Tête En L’Air Style: CGI with 2-D backgrounds Format: 26 x five minutes Demo: Preschool Budget: US$1.82 million Status: Original and book-based scripts are being hammered out, and toon work is underway at co-production partner’s ...
April 1, 2006

Pénélope Tête En L’Air
Style: CGI with 2-D backgrounds
Format: 26 x five minutes
Demo: Preschool
Budget: US$1.82 million
Status: Original and book-based scripts are
being hammered out, and toon work is underway at co-production partner’s Shirogumi animation studio. Meanwhile, Nippon is actively pursuing presale partners in North America and Europe to top up the budget
Delivery:Q4 2006/Q1 2007
Producer: Tokyo, Japan’s Nippon Animation
Premise: Based on a series of picture books by author Anne Gutman and illustrator Georg Hallensleben from Paris, France-based publisher Gallimard Jeunesse, Pénélope is a three-year-old blue koala who’s sweet, charming, and delightfully absentminded. An example of her flighty behavior is explored in one ep when she’s picking flowers at the local farm and decides to become a florist on the spot. But when her friend then trades some apples for the freshly picked flowers, Pénélope decides she’ll pursue a life of selling apples. Well, that’s until another pal exchanges the apples for a jewel-like stone. Pénélope’s inevitable desire to become a jeweler is short-lived when she then trades the would-be gem in for some crepes made by other friends. When the little koala is done eating, she revels in her success at having three different careers in one day.

Ricky Sprocket – Showbiz Boy
Style: Flash/2-D
Format: 52 x 11 minutes
Demo: Eight to 12
Budget: US$300,000 per half hour
Status: In development and just starting the scripting phase. Teletoon has picked up the Canadian cable broadcast rights and, at press time, Bejuba! was very close to signing a major U.S. cable broadcast deal
Delivery: Q3 2007
Producer: Vancouver, Canada’s Studio B and Snowden Fine
Premise: Being a celebrity isn’t all it’s cracked up to be for the world’s biggest superstar Ricky Sprocket. Sure, he’s got a gaggle of adoring fans, but he still has to do his homework, deal with an annoying younger sis, and juggle a regular life with one that’s constantly in the spotlight. Potential storylines for this giggle-inducing series include a camping trip with his family to get away from the glaring gaze of the press. Unfortunately, paparazzi get tipped off and soon enough, a picture of Ricky’s posterior is all over a trashy magazine! He’s pretty sure it isn’t a snapshot of him, so he does the celebrity thing and sues the tabloid. But in order to prove the photogs got the wrong guy, Ricky has to moon the court – giving his behind a lot more exposure than he ever imagined.

Five Minutes More
Style: Live-action puppets
Format: 65 x five minutes
Demo: Preschool
Budget: Approximately US$1.8 million
Status: Stories, character designs and puppet builds are being finalized. Disney has picked up U.K., Europe and Middle East pay-TV rights, and ABC Australia will debut the series on Aussie terrestrial airwaves. The team is targeting further presales in North and South America, Asia, South Africa and New Zealand
Delivery: Q1 2007
Producer: Somerset, England’s Snow River and Sydney, Australia’s Buster Dandy for ABC Australia
Premise: Any parent who’s about to finish reading a bedtime story to a child will invariably hear the youngster plead ‘just five minutes more,’ and this much-used phrase sparked the creative mind of Snow River’s Angus Fletcher, former prez of Jim Henson UK. Storybook-inspired Five Minutes More wants its preschool viewers to see there’s a world of enjoyment beyond the television screen. The entertainment-focused series stars five soft and cuddly-looking puppets (think Beanie Babies), who live on the comforter of a child’s bed. Each five-minute episode begins with them coming to life and cracking open a picture book. While one reads a tale, three others enact the story on the screen. But the laughs come courtesy of the interupter – a character who constantly disrupts the story with questions such as ‘what happened next?’ and requests for the reader to turn the page. Fletcher stresses the series is not about educating kids; it’s intended to help revive the lost art of storytelling through entertainment.

Style: 2-D Flash
Format: 52 x 11 minutes
Demo: Girls ages six-to-eight
Budget: US$4.5 million
Status: TV Pinguim is in the early development stage and is looking to hook up with co-production and presale partners
Delivery: Q1 2008
Producer: Sao Paulo, Brazil’s TV Pinguim
Premise: Having just received the honorable mention nod at our last KidScreen Summit live Pitch It! session, Magnitika is about a girl who is just like every other tween. Meg’s a girly-girl who loves school and high-tech chats with her best friend. But there is just one catch. Meg lives on Magnitika – a distant world where electromagnetic force powers the planet instead of gravity. Her earthbound pal, Alice, gives her magazine-inspired relationship advice and horoscope updates through a specially designed transmitter. Meg asks for Alice’s help in one episode when she realizes her fave dress doesn’t fit her. Alice refers to her celeb mags and tells Meg to diet by eating only green foods. Funnily enough, Magnitika’s sweets are typically green in colour. Meg happily eats her candy but becomes even more freaked when she gains, not loses, weight. Her mom finally explains she definitely doesn’t need a diet – she’s just growing up and out of her clothes. Alice sees her mistake and tries to make up for it by offering some fashionista advice on Meg’s new wardrobe.

Style: CGI characters with live-action
Format: 52 x seven minutes
Demo: Preschool
Budget: US$250,000 per half hour
Status: Neptuno is negotiating with
broadcasters in the U.K., Canada, the U.S., France and Germany
Delivery: Q2 2007
Producers: Barcelona, Spain’s Neptuno with TV3 Cataluna
Premise: Created by the same folks who developed Connie the Cow and Dougie in Disguise, Tork started his existence as a give-away premium sold in a package of snacks. But instead of ending up on a kid’s toy shelf, this little elf landed in a small garden. Fortunately for him, Iris, a fairy in charge of this backyard, cast a spell to bring him to life. This series for preschoolers shows Tork’s new life as he makes pals with insects and hangs out with his best friend, a toy alien named Battery. Iris assigns him jobs in the garden, such as checking all of the nests to make sure they don’t fall down when the wind blows. She even helps him get to the top of the trees by giving him the power of flight, but as a first time flyer, Tork keeps falling down or flying into things. Fortunately, the birds offer to give him some tips and he ends up having a blast playing games and securing nests with his new winged friends.

Teem Awethom
Style: 2-D
Format: 52 x 11 minutes
Demo: Eight to 12
Budget: US$300,000 per half hour
Status: Nerd Corps is chatting with broadcasters in the States now that Canada’s YTV has come onboard as a development partner
Delivery: Q1 2008
Producer: Vancouver, Canada’s Nerd Corps
Premise: Get a group of enthusiastic social misfits, add a lisp, and you’ve got Teem Awethom, a high school jock’s worst nightmare. The superheroes, who make it their mission to fight everything that’s cool, include Colin Clump as Special-ops-Quadruple-Extra Black-Belt-Ninjitsu-Stunt-Commando and Lars Arst, Lead Master of Illusion who can make a whole class disappear by closing his eyes. One adventure sees cool kid Chet get accidentally injected with Teem’s anti-cool serum. Suddenly, the hippest guy in school wants to be a member of Teem Awethom, but the forces of cool won’t have any of that and are just about to give him the most atomic of wedgies when the serum starts to wear off.

Little Princess
Style: 2-D
Format: 30 x 11 minutes
Demo: Preschool
Budget: US$4.75 million
Status: ZDF, Five’s Milkshake block in the U.K. and ABC Australia have signed up
Delivery: Q3 2006
Producer: London, England’s TV-Loonland and The Illuminated Company for Germany’s ZDF
Premise: Once upon a time there was a little princess who lived in a castle with her parents, the King and Queen. Like most four-year-olds (and some adults), she’s not happy when she doesn’t get her way, but eventually learns to make the most of any situation. For example, one episode shows her bringing home a tadpole. She explores the castle to find lovely things to help him feel comfortable in his new habitat, but before she’s finished, Taddy has transformed into a frog. Unfortunately, he’s also keeping the residents of the castle up all night with his lonely croaking. Although she doesn’t initially want to let him go, she realizes Taddy has to return to his own habitat. Little Princess is based on a series of 17 picture books authored by Tony Ross that have sold more than three million copies worldwide.

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