Local content from a new wave of animation creators—including the winner and runners-up of Cartoon Network’s Creative Lab initiative—will be well-represented on Turner’s kidsnets in Africa next year.
Cartoon Network Africa has greenlit Mike and Rob, a new short-form comedy series starring a pair of witty microbes voiced by South African comedian Trevor Gumbi. And a second season of CN Africa’s first original production Pop Up Party has also been ordered. The dance-challenge series will join previously announced originals Apple and Onion, Craig of the Creek, Summer Camp Island, Oswaldo and Victor and Valentino for African debuts in 2019. In total, 1,325 new episodes are scheduled to air next year, representing 325 hours of programming.
For Turner’s linear kidsnet Boomerang, an untitled domestic production showcasing African magic has been greenlit for 2019, and it will join returning hits The Tom and Jerry Show, Grizzy and the Lemmings, The Happos Family and Taffy in the lineup.
Boing Africa will broadcast new seasons of The Jungle Bunch, Total Drama Action, My Knight and Me and DC Super Hero Girls in 21 countries, while superhero destination Toonami launches anime soccer series Inazuma Eleven and new episodes of Dragon Ball Super exclusively in Africa for the first time.
The winner of CN Africa’s new Creative Lab competition are Nigeria’s Ridwan Moshood for Garbage Boy and Trash Can (pictured), a series about a couple of self-proclaimed superheroes. The project has also been selected for The Annecy International Animation Film Festival’s Animation du Monde showcase. Andrew John Phillips from South Africa is a Creative Lab runner-up for Intergalactic Ice Cream, which tells the story of a 13-year-old who journeys to space after taking an after-school job at a mysterious ice cream parlor. And so is Kenya’s Mark Kinuthia for Majitu, about a duo on a quest to stop an evil witch from opening a gate between Earth and a phantom’s universe. All three comedy shorts will be developed and produced as pilots to premiere on CN Africa and its digital platforms next year.
There were a few fan-based experiential initiatives announced during the upfronts—CN will take over the Johannesburg Zoo on December 8 and 9, and the Boomerang Beach Tour will travel the Kwazulu-Natal coast for 10 days.
In related news, African SVOD service Showmax plans to launch a dedicated kids corner featuring Cartoon Network and Boomerang content, and Turner has struck a deal with South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) for Ben 10. Season one of the action-adventure toon will air on SABC2 in Afrikaans and on SABC 1 in SiSwati later this year.
CN capped off this upfront presentation by announcing the winners of The Powerpuff Girls Awards. Designed to encourage and empower young African girls ages nine to 14 to make a difference in their communities, the inaugural awards program received more than 3,000 entries. Uviwe Bubu (South Africa), Mwangala Maunga (Zambia) and Daniella Soje (Nigeria) were selected as overall winners in the Social Helper, Science and Tech Inventor, and Artistic Creator categories, respectively. Bubu is working on a sanitary care project in collaboration with her mother and aunt, Maunga is developing a solar water purifier to provide clean water to both rural and urban areas, and Soje is creating environmental awareness by turning trash into art. Each winner will receive a cash prize to help bring their project to life and get support from a dedicated mentor.