Good morning. It’s Friday, January 7, 2011, and this is your first early morning Kids briefing.
A Squared Entertainment (A2), a kid-centric US-based entertainment company, and Tata Elxsi, an animation, digital design and visual effects studio of India’s business conglomerate Tata Group, enter into a ‘memorandum of understanding’ for a joint venture to create, develop and distribute original brands, which will include animated content and digital games. With studios in LA and India, Tata Elxsi’s Visual Computing Lab (VCL) has produced animation and VFX projects for movies, including the 3D animated Roadside Romeo, as well as for TV shows and commercials. VCL also has multiplatform game development experience. Founded by Co-presidents Andy Heyward and Amy Moynihan Heyward in 2009, A2 has produced the Secret Millionaire’s Club with Warren Buffet and Gisele & the Green Team with Gisele Bundchen. Upcoming A2 projects include the new animated series Martha & Friends, featuring a 10-year-old Martha Stewart, and Stan Lee Comics, a new superhero label created with Stan Lee.
Scholastic and Harry Potter creator/author J.K. Rowling win in court late yesterday. Judge Scheindlin has dismissed the copyright infringement lawsuit filed by the estate of the late author Adrian Jacobs, which alleged that in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (known in the UK by the title Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone) Rowling “copied substantial parts” of Jacobs’ 1987 book The Adventures of Willy the Wizard: Livid Land. The Judge stated that “…the contrast between the total concept and feel of the works is so stark that any serious comparison of the two strains credulity.”
Ricky Gervais will lend his voice to Mole, the lead character in the new indie film adaptation of Kenneth Grahame’s classic book The Wind in the Willows, per Variety. Set to begin pre-production this year in New Zealand, the mixed live-action and animatronic movie is being directed by Ray Griggs (I Want Your Money) via his RG Entertainment, from a screenplay by Bill Marsilii (Deja Vu). The movie will be produced by Radar Pictures’ Ted Field. Griggs will work on the movie with Peter Jackson’s New Zealand-based special effects company Weta.
MORE KIDS STUFF
Portfolio International signs programming deals for the animated series The Cat In The Hat Knows A Lot About That! Picking up the preschool series around the world are Disney Channel Spain, NRK (Norway), MTV Oy (Finland), and Al Jazeera’s Arabic channel, and the kid-targeted channel Yoopa (French speaking Canada). Produced by Portfolio Entertainment and Collingwood O’Hare Productions, in association with Dr. Seuss Enterprises, Random House Children’s Entertainment, Treehouse and PBS Kids, The Cat In The Hat Knows A Lot About That! series is based on Random House’s Beginner Book collection, The Cat in the Hat’s Learning Library. The animated TV series launched this summer on Treehouse (Canada) and PBS Kids (US), and will be seen soon on CITV (UK), HOP! (Israel), and Disney Channels in 40+ territories.
Universal Studios Home Entertainment will release a new movie version of The Little Engine That Could on DVD and for digital download on March 22, 2011. Directed by Elliot M. Bour, The Little Engine That Could features a noted voice cast including Whoopi Goldberg, Jamie Lee Curtis, Patrick Warburton, Brenda Song, Corbin Bleu, and Alyson Stoner. USHE will donate $.50 from each The Little Engine That Could DVD sold to the Starlight Children’s Foundation.
Program Call: Cynopsis Media will be producing our annual NATPE Shopping Guide sent to all Cynopsis and Cynopsis Kids subscribers on Thursday, January 20, the week before NATPE 2011 in Miami. If you’re exhibiting at NATPE this year and would like to have your programming included, please send us only the following info for your top 5 shows: title, availability date, number of episodes, length, type (i.e., movie, series, special, etc.), genre and your terms (barter, cash, etc.) as well as your company’s stand/booth location. To be included in this free and highly-viewed special edition, please send your submission to email@example.com no later than Friday, January 14, 2011. A confirmation email will be sent following each submission from Lisa (if you don’t receive a confirmation email, please resubmit).
Knowledge Adventure kicks off its 20th anniversary year by attending CES/Kids@Play, where it is showing off its new MathBlaster.com ( www.mathblaster.com ), a reinvention of its educational Blaster brand that initially debuted in 1987. The new site will launch this year (it’s currently in beta) and will feature upgraded visual effects, interactivity, game play and accessibility. Delivered in 3D through the web browser, MathBlaster.com will be a kid-targeted Massively Multiplayer Online (MMO). In addition, the website will feature activities, worksheets and tips designed to support the lessons taught in the online world. Also debuting is Math Blaster: HyperBlast ($1.99), a math challenge app for the iPad. Additionally, Knowledge Adventure will package the subscriptions to MathBlaster.com, JumpStart.com (which launched in 2009) and future online games as a learning pack, offering access to the complete line of sites ($7.99/monthly, $74.99/annually, $149.99/lifetime). Also launching this year are three JumpStart games for Nintendo DS.
MTV Networks and MusicSkins, a provider of ‘skins’ for 250+ electronic devices, unveiled their new partnership for Nickelodeon, MTV, and Comedy Central properties at the 2011 Consumer Electronics Show (CES). In the kid arena, under the deal MusicSkins will develop vinyl removable skins based on Nickelodeon properties including SpongeBob SquarePants, Ni Hao Kai-lan, and Dora the Explorer, iCarly and The Last Airbender.
Alligator Books renews its licensing deal in the UK with Turner CN Enterprises Ben 10 for an additional three years. The newly renewed deal extends Alligator’s Ben 10 license into 2013, with artwork will be refreshed by the new Ultimate Alien Style Guide. Additionally, Alligator will also continue to produce its Ben 10 Classic and Ben 10 Alien Force product range which includes interactive formats such as colouring sets, poster art sets, stickers, magnets, colouring books and activity books.
Beetle Bailey, of comic strip fame, gets his own fashion line. King Features Syndicate is teaming with fashion designers Darren Romanelli, founder of the Dr. Romanelli (DRx) streetwear brand, and Hitoshi Tsujimoto, head of the Japanese apparel company The Real McCoys, to develop a military-themed Beetle Bailey apparel and accessories collection for men. The limited- edition line, which will include jackets, sweaters, pants, t-shirts, bags, hats and shoes, will be unveiled at Project New York, a contemporary fashion event that will take place at 82 Mercer Street, in NYC, January 16-18. Created by cartoonist Mort Walker in 1950, Beetle Bailey went on to become an icon of American comics.
Aniboom Virtual Studio names Leeor Goldberg as its VP/Production. In his new role, Goldberg will head all productions at the studio, supervise production managers, and manage the creative team. Goldberg joins the virtual animation studio from Israel’s Partner Communications where he was Project Group Manager. He previously was co-founder and CEO of the animation studios Crew 972, and prior to that was VP/DPSI.
Animation industry veteran Bill Damaschke is promoted to COO of DreamWorks Animation, per Variety. Damaschke, who had been Co-President/Production for feature animation with John Batter, will help focus the creative direction of company that is now on track to produce five movies every two years. Damaschke joined DreamWorks Animation in 1995 to work on the movie Prince of Egypt. DreamWorks Animation will not replace Damaschke position of Co-President.
Live + Same Day Ratings Kids Cable Network Averages (000) for Wednesday, January 5, 2011, 6am-11pm, ranked by K2-11:
Friday Fun Fact: Every plant in Tomorrowland at Disneyland in Anaheim, California, is edible and guest are welcome to pick their fill.
Answer to Yesterday’s Trivia: What was the effect of the Hybernia Tree Drug? On Wonder Woman, the Hybernia Tree grew on Paradise Island, and the drug from that tree induced FORGETFULNESS Kudos to just one — Pam Lehn-Corus Entertainment–Nelvana Studio/Toronto
Today’s Trivia Question: Who is the high flying Jeff Tracy? (Email Cynthia@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.)
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