Red Fox gets musical with Wolfgang
Generating some interest at this past MIPTV was the new, painterly series Wolfgang from London, England’s Red Fox Productions. Seven-year-old Wolfgang is a cub who lives with his grandparents in an idyllic lakeside village. Wolfgang discovers a magical flute and each 13-minute episode revolves around his resulting adventures. For example, in one episode called The Growing Competition, the wee wolf cub uses the power of his flute to help his friend create some prize-winning produce. But our hero hasn’t yet figured out the instrument’s kinks, and the magical spell works all too well. Giant tomato trees soon sprout and overtake the event. Although his friend gets disqualified for crushing the competitors’ tent with her giant tomatoes, Wolfgang ultimately doesn’t let his pal down. With the aid of his flute, Wolfgang concocts a wonderful dish using her veggies, winning her the tastiest tomatoes prize.
Geared for four-to-seven-year-olds, the 26 episodes are budgeted at approximately US$4.6 million. The CGI toon, based on the artwork of Hannah Giffard, is currently in development with London, England’s Absolute Digital and Paris-based TeamTo, which developed Rollie Polie Olie. Canada’s TVOntario and Radio-Canada have picked up the presale rights for a potential Q3 2008 debut, and ABC Australia has shown a keen interest.
Environmental issues get animated
With microphones and notepads in hand, Billy and Kayla are two young reporters on the brink of uncovering environmental villains across the globe. In Earth Commando, from Paris, France’s Cyber-Groupe Animation, the duo work for TV station World Nature Network and trek through deserts, jungles, ocean and cities to unearth enviro crimes and protect the planet. Scripts are still being hammered out, but some planned storylines include the duo exposing a major international corporation’s scheme to cut down the rainforest, pinpointing the cause of an oil spill while assisting in the cleanup efforts, and tracking down unscrupulous crooks who attempt to take advantage of relief funds.
Budgeted at about US$7.5 million and targeting the core kid demo of eight-to-12 years old, the producers have a pitch-ready bible and are aiming for a potential Q2 2008 delivery date. Cyber-Groupe, the production company behind Ozie-Boo! is courting French co-production partners for the 2-D/CGI series, and anticipates the team will be pitching European and American presales before the end of the year. Merchandising has been thought out for the series, and part of the profits will be turned over to environmental groups.
Tons of laughs happen on Total Drama Island
London, England’s Cake Entertainment and Toronto, Canada’s Fresh Animation have teamed up to tap into the success of reality series Survivor and The Amazing Race. Total Drama Island focuses on a group of 22 city-based teenagers who rough it out on a remote island. The episodes are filled with hilarious hijinks to get the tween set laughing. In one ep a character named Izzy jokingly dresses up as a bear and inadvertently attracts the attention of a very-real grizzly to the campsite, leaving the group to work together and find ways to distract the love-struck bear from their goofy pal.
The US$6.5-million series is already in production for presale partner, Canada’s Teletoon. Cake Entertainment will be fishing for further presales in the U.K., France, the States and in Germany. 26 episodes of the Flash-animated series are planned for an early 2007 delivery date.
Chugging into early childhood programming
With the advent of baby-targeted satellite TV nets popping up across the globe, New York’s Honest Entertainment is looking to fill these schedules with World of Oo. Targeted to children as young as six months, the curious characters in each episode use music and socialization to learn about everyday things around them. In one gently-paced episode, four adventurous spiders are drawn to the unusual sights and sounds of a circus. Using tactics such as repetition and visual cues to engage the young viewers, the arachnids ride with a clown on a tightrope, soar on a trapeze, and hilariously dance on drums to create their own music.
Honest anticipates a spring 2007 delivery date for this series, budgeted at approximately US$250,000 per half hour episode. The team has signed up New York’s Xoop to animate its 2-D and CGI mixed 26 half hours, and Honest is trolling to the usual markets for presale partners from North America and Europe.