NATPE – The Unexpected Ani-Deals

A much slower NATPE, down in attendance size from previous years by more than 50%, turned out to be a wheeling and dealing opportunity for stalwarts and a definite strong prequel for MIP-TV in March. Although few animation deals were officially announced last week, Animation Magazine was told about several upcoming contracts of significant interest. ShoPro Ent., the original producers of Pokemon and the new Cartoon Network hit Hamtaro, brought two new shows, Megaman and Mirmo Zibang! to the New Orleans-based market and received considerable buzz.

Mirmo Zibang! is a charmer about some really high-maintenance fairies, while Megaman involves the virtual world as young internet users send out avatars to do battle with evil. According to sources within ShoPro, a major deal will be announced for Megaman within the next two weeks.

In other showfloor news, Dave Warren, creator of adult-action series SoSophie and head of Channelzero, met with super-model Carmen Electra to discuss the possibility of Electra voicing the lead character of Sophie. Electra expressed extreme interest and, once again, a deal could be announced soon for both Electra’s involvement and the future home of the series itself.

Two of yesteryear’s popular stop motion characters, Davey and Goliath, were also roaming the NATPE Convention Hall. Originally created by the great Art Clokey for the Lutheran Church of America, the peppy duo was on hand to take pictures with fans and promote a new project. In addition to starring in those retro Mountain Dew TV ads, we were happy to find out that Davey and Goliath will be featured in a brand new Christmas special this year.

In the alternative showfloor – better known as hotel room suites – Animation Magazine met with TV-Loonland, among others. The German-based producer/distributor will be coming to us within the next ten days concerning a major new territory purchase of its wildly popular kids show, The Cramp Twins.

One last note: We really got a kick out of Studio B and Teletoon’s Simon Stimple, a spanking new 26 x 22 show created by David Fine and Alison Snowden, the Oscar-winning pair behind the Bob and Margaret series. Stimple is an offbeat comedy about a 22-year-old slacker who still lives with his parents. Simon would make a great addition to one of the new adult animated blocks that are popping up on cable these days.