Good morning. It's Thursday, June 21, 2012, and this your first early morning briefing.
LeVar Burton, longtime host and producer of the TV series Reading Rainbow, helps revive the brand with the launch of a Reading Rainbow adventure App for the iPad. Designed for K3-9, the new App features a library of hundreds of books and new videos. Users can travel to a range of themed islands, such as Animal Kingdom, My Friends, My Family and Genius Academy, where kids find various books and videos customized to their age and interests. Each book includes audio storytelling by celebrity actors, including Burton, as well as light animations and related activities to further the story. Like the original TV series, kids join Burton on real-life adventures. These in-app video field trips connect the stories kids read to the world their world - and use a combination of newly produced video as well as classic segments from the TV show. The App also features a reward system in which kids earn digital stickers to motivate them to read more. For parents, ReadingRainbow.com, a companion website and dashboard, offers updates about the time their kid spent reading, books read and suggestions for new stories based on the kid's interests, as well as Family Reading Time ideas. At launch, the App will include 150 books and 16 video field trips, with new content added regularly. For the new App, RRKidz, a digital media company co-founded by Burton and Mark Wolfe and creator of the App, has partnered with kid's publishers including Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, Holiday House, Charlesbridge Publishing, Kane Press, Sleeping Bear Press, Peachtree Publishers and Shenanigan Books.
A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE FROM LITTLE AIRPLANE
Little Airplane Productions is accepting applications for a unique workshop taught by accomplished preschool TV veterans on each step of creating a high-quality preschool series. Topics include Writing, Pitching, Legal, Design, Music, Directing, Producing, Distribution and more. A panel of noteworthy Children's TV broadcasters will be on hand to discuss pitching to a network.
NEW PRODUCTION & DEVELOPMENT
Jim Parsons (The Big Bang Theory) and singer/actress Rihanna (Battleship) will star in DreamWorks Animation SKG's new feature film Happy Smekday!, which is based on the humorous book The True Meaning of Smekday by author/illustrator Adam Rex. Directed by Tim Johnson (Over the Hedge, Antz), the studio plans to release Happy Smekday! during the fourth quarter of 2014. Chris Jenkins (Rio, Surf's Up) and Suzanne Buirgy (Kung Fu Panda 2) are producing and DreamWorks Animation's Head of Development Gregg Taylor is overseeing the project. Tom J. Astle and Matt Ember (Get Smart) are currently writing the screenplay. In Happy Smekday! an alien race invades Earth and uses it as a hideout from their mortal enemy. When one lowly alien accidentally notifies the enemies of his whereabouts, he is forced to go on the run with a teen girl. Together, the unlikely new pals embark on a comical globetrotting adventure to right his wrongs, in which the alien hero learns what it really means to be human.
Ampco Films is bringing The Alchemyst, the first title in the six-book The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel young adult fantasy series by author Michael Scott, is headed to the big screen, per Variety. Set to begin production in February 2013 in Australia and New Zealand, the movie will be penned by Scott, and produced by Ampco's Mario Andreacchio and Konstantin Thoeren. The Alchemyst revolves around Nicholas Flamel, a 14th century French alchemist who is just may have discovered the key to eternal life and thus may be still be alive. When the book holding the key to everlasting life falls into the wrong hands modern day 15-year-old twins, Sophie and Josh, who have their own powers, stop in to help. Random House, New York released the last title in The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel book series, The Enchantress, last month. Stefan Brunner, formerly COO of Imagenation Abu Dhabi, is packaging the project and will serve as an executive producer along with Scott and Barry Krost, as well as Laweless' CEO Cathy Malatesta. Lawless Entertainment put the movie deal together. Earlier this year Scott expanded his partnership Lawless Entertainment as co-production consultants for film and TV production on his fantasy book series.
Fox is working on a Sesame Street feature film, based of course on the iconic educational kid's TV series, per THR. The movie is being written by Sesame Street writer Joey Mazzarino, and produced by Shawn Levy's (Night at the Museum, Date Night, Real Steel) 21 Laps production company, Michael Aguilar, Mark Gordon and Film 360's Guymon Casady. Sesame Street is debuted 43 years ago. Previous Sesame Street related movies include Follow That Bird (1985) and The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland (1999).
Atlantyca Entertainment is appointed by producer/distributor Millimages as the exclusive licensing agent in Italy for the animated series and character Mouk (62x11 and 30x1), the series is based on the books by Mark Boutavant. Under the deal, Atlantyca will manage the licensing and merchandising programs throughout the region and explore opportunities in all key licensing categories including stationery, home wears, gift, novelties, games, and apparel. Mouk is commissioned by France Televisions and Disney Channel UK, and was recently acquired by ABC TV (Australia). Additionally, Mouk has already been picked up by KiKA (Germany) and by Disney for its networks in France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Benelux, Scandinavia, Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
All seven of J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter eBooks are now available to Amazon.com customers to borrow via the Kindle Owners' Lending Library (KOLL) to those that also have a Amazon Prime subscription ($79). The Potter eBooks are available there in English, French, Italian, German and Spanish. As with any other Kindle book, customer notes, highlights and bookmarks in borrowed books will be saved, so they'll have them later if customers purchase or re-borrow the book. Books are borrowed from a Kindle device, and customers can have one book out at a time. The eBooks are available via Amazon under its previously announced license deal with Pottermore, where the eBooks can be purchased.
Kidz Bop (www.kidzbop.com) prepares to send The Kidz Bop Kids, a group of kid performers, out on a 22-city US tour this summer. The Kidz Bop Kids will be the opening act for the It's All About Music Tour with 11 year-old singer Ethan Bortnick. The summer tour kicks off July 27 and runs through September 2, 2012. The tour coincides with the release of Kidz Bop 22 this July 17, the latest volume in the best-selling audio series.
A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE FROM CABLEFAX
MORE KIDS STUFF
Nickelodeon Latin America is set to begin production on the third season of its original fantasy series Grachi this August 2012. The new season of the live-action series will be taped in HD in Miami. Grachi is distributed internationally by Comarex and has been sold in 52+ countries including key markets such as Italy, Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Costa Rica, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru and Venezuela, as well as in 36 French-speaking territories including France, Belgium and Switzerland. The story follows Grachi, a teen girl who perfects her magical powers while dealing with school, boys and trying to be an average teen.
Gabriel Mann (Revenge) will guest star as the voice of Bruce Banner in a new episode of The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes that will air Sunday, June 24 on Marvel Universe on Disney XD. The series is produced by Marvel Animation.
DHX Media signs a number of sales and distribution deals across Europe, including Central and Eastern European territories, in advance of NATPE Budapest later this month. Canal+ Cyfrowy (Poland) acquires further episodes of Martha Speaks and renews the first season for its MiniMini+ HD channel. In Spain, Ypsilon Films (Spain) has also taken Martha Speaks for Pay TV and VOD, and in further VOD deals MTV3 Finland picks up Grandpa in My Pocket. DHX has appointed distribution agents Individ to represent all 3 seasons of Grandpa In My Pocket for Russia, Kazakhstan, and the Baltics, and White Fox for The Latest Buzz and Martha Speaks for Free TV in Greece and Cyprus. DHX Media will showcase a slated of programming at NATPE Budapest including Rastamouse and its self-produced series Monster Math Squad.
Archers approach the line... Disney Publishing Worldwide debuts two new apps based on Disney-Pixar's new animated feature film Brave, which opens nationwide this Friday, June 22, 2012. The apps, Brave: Storybook Deluxe and Brave Interactive Comic, are both available for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch and feature animation and interactive content for readers as they follow the story of Princess Merida. Brave: Storybook Deluxe ($6.99) offers a full retelling of the movie for kids 5+. Readers can also play an archery game where Merida and Angus discover the meaning of bravery as they gallop through the woods shooting makeshift targets with a bow and arrows. Brave Interactive Comic ($1.99) is an interactive graphic novel for K7-12 that features a retelling of the movie in a comic with special effects, music and sounds, as well as content that can be discovered with a single tap, as well as clips, sketches, and participate in step-by-step drawing lessons.
LeapFrog Enterprises releases LeapPad2, the next generation of it's educational LeapPad tablet, and LeapsterGS, a learning video game system. The new LeapPad2 features higher resolution front-and-back cameras and video recorders, the new faster LF 2000 processor and double the memory (4 GB). LeapPad2 also has improved battery life and is compatible with a new internal battery system and recharger pack available separately. By the end of 2012, the LeapPad content library will include 325+ game cartridges, apps, music, videos and eBooks. LeapsterGS, a follow-up to the Leapster Explorer, features a thinner sleek design, larger screen, built-in motion sensor plus camera and video recorder, the new faster LF 2000 processor and 4x the internal memory (2 GB). It is compatible with a new internal battery system and recharger pack available separately. LeapsterGS comes with free content including the new Escape of the Sillies game math app, the popular Pet Pad writing app and choice of an additional app. By year's end, the LeapsterGS content library will offer 300+ game cartridges, apps, music, videos, eBooks and more. LeapPad 2 and LeapsterGS are both compatible with LeapFrog Explorer cartridges and LeapFrog App Center digital content.
Nelvana, part of Corus Entertainment, appoints Irene Weibel as VP/Head of Nelvana Studio. Weibel is responsible for the development and production for all original productions from Nelvana. Based in LA and Toronto, she will oversee the Studio's creative direction, and will lead coordination of the development, series production, distribution and consumer products groups to launch new brands in the marketplace. Weibel previously served as VP/International Production and Development for Nelvana.
Live + Same Day Ratings Kids Cable Network Averages (000) for Tuesday, June 19, 2012, 6am-11pm, ranked by K2-11:
DISNEY CHANNEL: K2-11 1298; K6-11 934; TWEENS 9-14 770
NICKELODEON: K2-11 959; K6-11 562; TWEENS 9-14 493
CARTOON NETWORK: K2-11 707; K6-11 464; TWEENS 9-14 427
DISNEY XD: K2-11 287; K6-11 224; TWEENS 9-14 199
NICKTOONS: K2-11 99; K6-11 72; TWEENS 9-14 58
Source: MTVN Research from Nielsen Media Research Data
Answer to Our Last Trivia Question: Minus the lisp, which of Mel Blanc's characters voice was closest to his own? Sylvester. Kudos to: Julie Stowell-Tribune Media Services/Queensbury, NY; Ellen Donahue-Fisher-Price/East Aurora, NY; Dennis Nance-Turner Broadcasting, Inc./Atlanta; Mike Doyle-Spot On Media Consultants, LLC;Madison, CT; Squirrel Rippley-Dark Horse Media/Tucson; Sabrina Sparlin-cesd/LA.
Today's Trivia Question: What famous cartoon character was based on Red Skelton's "Mean Widdle Kid"? (Email John@cynopsis.com with your answer and be sure to include your name, company, city and time zone. Unofficial rules: Only the second four correct answers from each time zone will be mentioned; and once you've been mentioned in any of the Cynopsis editions, you can't be mentioned again that calendar week.)
Later -- Gwen
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