Thursday, May 20th, 2010

Cynopsis: Kids!
05/20/10

Good morning. It’s Thursday, May 20, 2010, and this is your first early morning Kids briefing.

In the UK, 36 prominent producers /creatives/writers of kid-targeted programming are teaming with an organization called Save Kids’ TV to put pressure on the BBC to shift more funds towards UK produced kids’ content, per Broadcast Now.  In a letter to BBC Trust Chairman Sir Michael Lyons, the “coalition” suggests slashing funds used to bring big “Hollywood imports” to the UK, and instead divert that money to kids’ programming.  The group underlined that the BBC’s proposed annual budget increase of US$14.3 million for kids’ content is not enough, pointing out that this sum is just 2% of the US$865.8 million of BBC’s re-direction plans toward quality programming across all genres for all demos.  Formed by Anna Home, former Controller/BBC Children, other members of the “coalition” signing the letter urging the BBC to strengthen its commitment to kids’ TV include (these are just a few, there are 36), Russell T Davies, formerly the Doctor Who showrunner, Nigel Pickard RDF Media Group Director of Family and Entertainment (and formerly head of CBBC), and Stephen Garrett Executive Chairman/Kudos Films, Anne Brogan Director/Kindle Entertainment, Anne Wood MD/Ragdoll Productions, Billy Macqueen MD/Darrall Macqueen, all of whom produce kid-targeted programming for the BBC, and author Philip Pullman (His Dark Materials).

Rainmaker Entertainment, a Vancouver-based animation studio, unveils its first slate of proprietary projects.  The studio, which acquired Mainframe Entertainment and its groundbreaking TV property ReBoot, the first ever CG animated series, will develop, create and produce its own animated properties levering its expertise in CG animation and other new animation techniques.  Rainmaker is seeking distribution parters for its projects.  Rainmaker Entertainment’s development slate and updates include:

  • Ogo – set in modern times this animated comedy feature film is based on the legend of the Canadian water monster, which is believed to live in British Columbia’s Lake Okanagan.  The story revolves around a little girl who reveals the monster’s existence to the world and then does everything she can to protect the monster.  Ogo is written by Jacob Medjuck, formerly an animator at studios including DreamWorks Animation, Walt Disney Interactive, Sony, Warner Bros and Fox.
  • Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes – based on the 1939 kid’s book by DuBose Heyward, the property is being developed as a series of animated holiday specials for TV and home video/DVD release.  Bernice Vanderlaan (Life With Derek, Sprout’s Preschool Musical on a Stick, among others) has signed on to write for the project.  David Snowden and Alison Fine will serve as consulting directors.
  • Ting & Juma: The Movie – the story follows the exploits of Ting, a small energetic alien with an attitude, and Juma, an adventure seeking, creative forest dweller.  Rainmaker’s artists created the characters and have already produced several short films of their adventures.

NEW PRODUCTION & DEVELOPMENT

Walden Media inks a deal with Frank Cottrell Boyce to adapt his kid’s novel, Cosmic, as a feature film, per Variety.  Cosmic revolves around a boy that hits an early growth spurt and is consequently often mistaken as an adult.  The caper begins when the man boy poses as his friend’s dad to win a seat on a spaceship ride, which catapults him into a whole other set of grownup situations including having to save the crew on the spaceship.  Cosmic is published by Walden Pond Press, a joint venture between Walden Media and HarperCollins.

MORE KIDS STUFF

Patricia Riggen (La Misma Luna, aka Under the Same Moon) will direct Disney Channel‘s upcoming music-driven original TV movie, Lemonade Mouth.  Set to begin production this July in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Lemonade Mouth is based on the young adult novel of the same name by Mark Peter Hughes, and features a script penned by April Blair.  The story revolves around five teens from different backgrounds that meet in detention and from there form the best high school garage band.  Casting for the TV movie is currently underway.  A native of Guadalajara, Riggen presents her short film, Revolucion, this week at Critics’ Week in Cannes.

Preschoolers in the UK are going to get a look at how they are the same and different on Same Smile, a new CBeebies series launching this June.  The series features host Nissha Anil and her three panda character pals, Mish, Moosh and Mogo, as they cycle across the UK visiting groups of preschoolers.  Each episode features a theme of the day, and while Nisha and one of the pandas stays with the group, two of the pandas go home with two kids to see specifically what their lives are like.  A collaboration between BBC teams from Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, and England, Same Smile is a BBC Scotland production.

MARKETING/LICENSING

Copyright Promotions Licensing Group (CPLG) will showcase a range of properties next month at Licensing Show where it will feature properties for various age groups such as, Cookie Jar Entertainment’s preschool series, Richard Scarry’s Busytown and Caillou, and Strawberry Shortcake, as well as the Harlem Globetrotters, cheerleader-inspired tween/teen-targeted Varsity, and wrestling property Lucha Libre USA.  Newly signed deals for two of the kid-centric properties include:

  • Richard Scarry’s Busytown: In North America, The Bridge is developing a new toy line based on the characters, vehicles, tracks and buildings from the series; I Can Do That ! Games will release new puzzles and games; additionally a stage show based on the property is headed out on a North American tour in 2011
  • Caillou: Imports Dragon signs on as the master toy licensee for Canada and the US, and will introduce plush, figures, playsets, arts & crafts, puzzles and party supplies, among other products; Trevco is creating a line of t-shirts for release in the US later this year; Caillou’s Greatest Skate of All, a new live show produced by Koba Entertainment, kicks off in Canada this holiday season.

KidzBop.com and Chronicle Books partner for a contest to support the release of Chronicle’s new book title The Worst-Case Scenario Handbooks: Weird Junior Edition.  Hosted at Kidzbop.com, the interactive The Totally Weird Super Contest ( www.kidzbop.com/totallyweird) invites kids to upload videos explaining the weirdest, strangest stories thing they can think of (real or made up), think local haunted houses, vampire neighbors or that time you saw a UFO.  To help kids get a sense of they are looking for the site will feature a video created specifically for this contest.  Launching today, kids can enter the contest through June 10.  Online voting for the best stories begins June 12.  This is KidzBop.com’s first sponsored online contest, and it was facilitated by Gorilla Nation.

DJ Lance Rock and the rest of the cast of Yo Gabba Gabba! head back out on the road with Yo Gabba Gabba! Live! There’s A Party In My City! ( www.yogabbagabbalive.com) on a 60-city North American Tour.  The concert tour is produced by S2BN Entertainment in association with Wildbrain Entertainment and The Magic Store.  $1 from every ticket sold during the 2010 North American tour will be donated to the Habitat for Humanity local affiliate in each tour city to support their homebuilding efforts.

A range of iCarly apparel (e.g. t-shirts, dresses, tops), home decorations (bed linen, curtains) and health and beauty products (e.g. shampoo, bubble bath) targeted to K6-12 will debut at retail in South Africa for fall/winter 2010.  Retailers in South Africa offering the new products based on Nickelodeon’s iCarly series, include Edgar’s, Mr Price, Pick n Pay and Jet.  The series airs in South African on Nickelodeon (DStv Channel 305).

STONE SOUP

Bestseller Children’s Picture Books (top 10), Week of May 17, 2010: Title; Author (Publisher)
The Sandwich Swap; Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah, with Kelly DiPucchio, illus. by Tricia Tusa (Disney-Hyperion)
The Lion and the Mouse; Jerry Pinkney (Little, Brown)
LEGO Star Wars: The Visual Dictionary; Simon Beecroft (DK)
Waddle!; Rufus Butler Seder (Workman)
My Garden; Kevin Henkes (Greenwillow)
Instructions; Neil Gaiman, illus. by Charles Vess (HarperCollins)
Gallop! A Scanimation Picture Book; Rufus Butler Seder (Workman)
Skippyjon Jones, Lost in Spice; Judy Schachner (Dutton)
The Earth Book; Todd Parr (Little, Brown)
Compiled from data received from independent and chain bookstores.
Source: Publishers Weekly

EXECUTIVE MOVES

50-year industry veteran Walter Liss, President/ABC O&O Television Stations Group, announces his retirement after 30+ years with The Walt Disney Company.  Effective immediately Liss moves into a consultancy role to help create a smooth transition.  Succeeding Liss as President/ABC O&O Television Stations Group is Rebecca Campbell.  She will report directly to Anne Sweeney, Co-Chairman/Disney Media Networks and President/Disney-ABC Television Group.  Campbell will be responsible for 10 ABC O&O stations and for the Group’s ABC National Television Sales rep firm.  A 25-year veteran, most recently Campbell served for the last three years as the President and GM/WABC-TV in New York, and before that as President and GM/WPVI-TV, the ABC owned television station in Philadelphia, PA.



Answer to Yesterday’s Trivia:
   If you buy and wear these, you will “Run faster, jump higher!”  Cool!  What are they (specifically)?  KEDS SNEAKERS – PF FLYERS  Kudos to: Brad Stern/Floral Park; Fred Petrosino-JBG/NY; Ed Casey-InGroup Licensing/NY; Rosemary Cunningham-Cox Reps/Chicago; Hank Bordowitz-The Bordowitz Media Werx/Macomb; Michael Patterson-CNN Int’l/Chicago; Richard Quan-Butler Shine Stern Partners/San Francisco; Pat Brady-CESD/LA;

Today’s Trivia Question:   Fill in the blank – quoting Homer Simpson:  “If the Flintstones have taught us anything, it’s that ___________ can be used to mix cement.”  (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.)

Later —
Gwen Billings for Cynopsis Kids!
gwen @cynopsis.com
05.20.10

Cynopsis Ad Sales:
Mike Farina – Sr. Dir/Business Development & Sales – 203-218-6480 / mike@cynopsis.com
Classifieds – Trish Pihonak- 203-926-9878 / trish@cynopsis.com

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