With Kidscreen Summit kicking the spring market season into serious gear next week and first quarter check-ins from major networks, there’s an avalanche of global streaming and television content news! Let’s try to dig our way through it together:
APC Kids’ newly launched studio Zephyr Animation has boarded brand-new comedy-adventure series Gone Gills, from Ferly — the entertainment company founded by former Rovio execs and Angry Birds co-creators. The 3D CGI show will be co-produced by Canadian Yellow Animation Ltd., and follows three prehistoric creatures as they find themselves stranded in the strangest place in the history of the world: the present! Ferly’s VP Creative Joonas Rissanen and CEO Laura Nevanlinna, Yellow Animation’s President Ulla Junell and Zephyr Animation’s Chief Creative Officer David Sauerwein and Lionel Marty, Managing Director of APC Kids, will head up development. APC Kids holds global audio-visual distribution rights to the new series, while Ferly manages global CP & gaming rights.
Sauerwein: "Gone Gills is a great new addition to our growing slate at Zephyr. It’s an exciting and hilarious series, and we are proud and happy to be working with Ferly to bring this world and the unique loveable characters to life for children and families globally."
Rissanen says: "Creating the world of Gone Gills has already been an unforgettable experience for us. We cannot wait to collaborate with David, Lionel and their teams and help our prehistoric creatures get used to the present day!"
Atomic Cartoons and Cyber Group Studios have inked a deal for second window TV distribution of The Last Kids on Earth, currently in development for Netflix. The agreement also includes worldwide merchandising and ancillary rights for the series, which is based on the bestselling book series by Max Brallier and follows 13-year-old Jack Sullivan and his suburban middle school cohort who live in a decked-out tree house, play games, gorge on candy… and battle zombies in the aftermath of a monster apocalypse.
"We are thrilled to have the opportunity to work with Atomic on the media distribution and licensing and merchandising of their upcoming Netflix series," says Pierre Sissmann, Chairman and CEO of Cyber Group Studios. Richard Goldsmith, President and CEO of Cyber Group Studios USA, adds, "The Last Kids on Earth has all the ingredients to be a global sensation with kids based on the popularity of the books and the superb animated series in production."
Big Bad Boo Studios is launching season 2 of its original preschool miniseries Lili & Lola exclusively on its Oznoz platform. The 7-minute episodes about two sisters living in the big city with their Mama, Papa and cat Kensington premiere this week in English and Persian. Additional games and educational materials themed on the show will join Big Bad Boo’s slate of pre-k apps on the Apple Store.
"It’s a holistic approach for us to release original content on Oznoz so we can attract new subscribers in a safe, ad-free environment that is all about entertainment and education for families," said Shabnam Rezaei, creator of Lili & Lola and Co-Founder of Big Bad Boo Studios and Oznoz.
CAKE has teamed up with Atomic Toybox Entertainment, headed by four-time Emmy nominee Michael Polis, on the first animated TV series for 1960s action figure brand Captain Action. Aimed at kids 6-11, the 11-minute format will bring the hero and his nemesis Dr. Evil to life. In the new series, Captain Action is reactivated after almost 50 years when a young boy discovers him packed away in his attic. At only 12-inches tall and still stuck in the analogue world of the 1960s, our impassioned duty-bound operative is intent on training a reluctant Kyle to become the next generation of action hero in this coming-of-age tale of small heroes and big adventures.
Michael Polis, Atomic Toybox Entertainment CEO said: "CAKE is the ideal partner for the Captain Action TV series which will benefit from the company’s deep understanding of the international market and genuine appreciation of the potential as well as the legacy of the brand."
Tom van Waveren, CEO & Creative Director at CAKE said, "Working with Mike to help bring his vision for Captain Action to the screen is a journey we are greatly enjoying. A lovely mix of retro charm and character appeal, wrapped in a unique visual approach, will make this show distinctive and fun. We look forward to taking it into the world together."
Disney Channel Russia has snapped up Arthur and the Minimoys (26 x 24’) from Studio 100 Media | m4e, and will launch the CG-animated boys’ action series in April. Based on the fantasy novels and movie trilogy by Luc Besson, the show is co-produced by Storia TV with Studio 100 Animation, Lagardere Group and Disney Channel Germany. The story of a young dreamer who thanks to his boundless imagination learns to become the biggest of the minuscule humanoids known as the Minimoys premiered on Tiji (France) at Christmas 2017 and has sold to 80 territories since.
FOX has renewed Matt Groening’s The Simpsons for an unprecedented 31st and 32nd seasons, which will bring the total episode count to 713. Currently airing its historic 30th season, The Simpsons has won 33 Emmy Awards, 34 Annie Awards, a 2016 People’s Choice Award and a 2016 Environmental Media Award. It was the first animated series to win a Peabody Award and was nominated for an Academy Award in 2012 for the theatrical short The Longest Daycare. The show has also spun off The Simpsons Movie, "The Simpsons Ride" at Universal Studios and was honored with a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2000. It has been named the "Best Show of the 20th Century" by Time magazine and called the "Best TV Show Ever" by Vulture in 2016.
On the next all-new episode, "I’m Dancing as Fat as I Can" airing this Sunday, Feb. 10 (8 PM ET/PT), Homer (Dan Castellaneta) angers Marge (Julie Kavner) by binging their favorite show without her, and has to pick up a new skill in order to make amends. Meanwhile, Bart (Nancy Cartwright) prepares to compete in "Krusty’s Holiday Trample," and Netflix’s Ted Sarandos makes a guest-voice appearance as himself. Other guest voices to come in S30 include Awkwafina, Judy Blume, Ken Burns, Nicole Byer, Guillermo del Toro, Will Forte, Ken Jeong, John Lithgow, Dave Matthews and J.K. Simmons.
Netflix announced five new Spanish-language originals, including an anime adaptation of bestselling novel Memorias De Idhún by Laura Gallego, produced by Endemol Shine’s Zeppelin. Synopsis: On the day of the astral conjunction of three suns and moons in Idhún, Ashran the Necromancer gathered all the power and began the kingdom of terror of the winged snakes. On Earth, Jack and Victoria fight a battle for Idhun’s freedom. But the heroes still don’t know the design of a prophecy that will intertwine their fates. Director: Maite Ruiz de Austri; Executive producers: Pilar Blasco, Alexis Barroso; Writers: Laura Gallego, Andrés Carrión.
Planeta Junior has been tasked with representing The Treflik Family in Central and Eastern Europe, Russia and Ukraine. The kids & family entertainment company will be licensing agent and distributor for the stop-motion series created by Marek Skrobecki and produced by Studio Trefl. Aimed at children 3-6, the 52 x 8’ series centers on an extraordinary family leading an apparently normal life, until a strange character invisible to all but the youngest family members turns up. This new friend uses magical power to take the kids on incredible adventures while teaching lessons in friendship, respect, honesty and tolerance. The Treflik Family is broadcast on Pland’s TVP ABC since 2016 and has also aired on Nick Jr. in Poland, Czech Republic and Romania.
Pukeko Pictures has secured a 52-episode Season 2 greenlight for its preschool series Kiddets, following its recent launch in China on CCTV and VOD platform iQIYI. Co-producer Hengxin Shambala Kids has been confirmed as the master toy partner for the Chinese market where the licensing program is starting to roll out. Current L&M activity in China includes Kiddetsland theme parks with two locations at Guangzhou and Wuhan opening at the end of 2018 with more planned for 2019, and a Kiddets stage show premiered in December last year with plans for over 100 theatre shows nationwide this year. International distributor CAKE has recently signed new international deals including Discovery for Middle East and Africa, Showmax for Africa and E-Vision for the United Arab Emirates. The series expands on The WotWots franchise with five new characters who are young space cadets in training under the watchful eye of SpottyWot and DottyWot from Earth.
"Kiddets is building considerable momentum across China," said Richard Taylor, Co-Owner of Pukeko Pictures. "The licensing and merchandising plan is in full swing through our Chinese partners and we expect to announce a number of major deals soon. We are also looking forward to doubling the number of available episodes and rolling out the show to new territories with our sales agent, CAKE".
Skybound North/Wind Sun Sky and Com2uS have tapped Kevin Burke and Chris “Doc” Wyatt to expand the billion-dollar game IP Summoners War as writers and producers for the animated television adaptation. The series will be based on the Summoners War “Friends & Rivals” short, debuting on YouTube (@summonerswarapp) on February 11. Skybound North and Wind Sun Sky Entertainment CEO Catherine Winder (The Angry Birds Movie, Star Wars: The Clone Wars) serves as Executive Producer. The trio previously partnered on the animated adaptation of Robert Kirkman’s kids comic Super Dinosaur in partnership with Spin Master.
"Having worked closely with Burke and Wyatt, I’ve witnessed their magic firsthand and could not think of a better team to give life to this series,” said Winder. “We’re pleased to get started on yet another exciting Summoners War extension sure to entertain the brand’s legion of fans and expand to new fans around the world."
Superights has inked a deal with digital platform Mango TV in Hunan, China for two seasons of its hit toon Pat the Dog; the first 78 x 7’ season will launch this spring, with S2 (63 x 7’ + 10 x 1’3’ + 4 x half-hour specials) delivery beginning this fall. Produced by Superprod (France) and Animoka (Italy), the show is adapted from the hit mobile game and has sold to top broadcasters in over 180 territories.
"We are very proud to take Pat to the giant Chinese Market! We are very thankful to all the Mango team for their trust and passion in our little Pat." says Safaa Benazzouz, Sales Manager of Superights.
"Mango TV is very happy to bring Pat to China, we believe our cooperation with Superights would make Pat popular around China." says Jennifer Qiao, Manager of International Business at Mango TV.