Sony Brings Astro Boy, Cyborg009 to MIPCOM

Sony Pictures Television Int’l (SPTI) unveiled its line-up of new programming available to international buyers at MIPCOM 2003, which will be held October 10 through 14 in Cannes. The diverse roster of new series includes the animated series Astro Boy and Cyborg 009.

Astro Boy was created 50 years ago by the legendary Tezuka Osamu, a pioneer of Japanese animation often referred to as the father of manga. In 1963, Astro Boy became the first Japanese show imported to the U.S. and one of the country’s top-rated syndicated series.

The show tells the futuristic story of an atomic-powered robot who must fight for justice and peace in a society that scorns his kind. While he possesses superb strength and jet rocket appendages that allow him to fly at extreme speeds, he is also the first robot with advanced intelligence and human-like emotions.

Astro Boy is produced by Sony Pictures Ent. Japan and Tezuka Prods., and distributed in the U.S. by Sony Pictures Television. Kids’ WB! will premiere the series during the 2003-2004 television season. There are 50 half-hour episodes available.

Based on the comic book by Shotaro Ishinomori, Cyborg 009 follows the adventures of nine humans who have been remodeled into super-powered Cyborgs against their will by the nefarious Black Ghost Organization. The title character, 009 is half Japanese, half American and equipped with superpowers like Mach-speed acceleration. He and the other eight Cyborgs band together to fight against Black Ghost and its evil vision of world chaos. The series currently airs on Cartoon Network in the U.S., where it earns top ratings in its time period for cable programming among boys 6-11, male tweens 9-14 and male teens 12-17. There are 51 half-hour episodes available.

Among Sony’s live-action offerings is the supernatural thriller Stephen King’s Kingdom Hospital, inspired by Lars Von Trier’s hit 1994 Danish program, Riget (a.k.a. The Kingdom). King is writing or co-writing each episode and is personally involved in the production. The series takes place in a hospital built on the site of two horrific historical events. Patients and staff become caught between battling forces of good and evil as paranormal phenomena begin to bleed through into present day situations.

Stephen King’s Kingdom Hospital is executive-produced by Stephen King and Mark Carliner (Stalin, George Wallace) and produced by Tom Brodek (Stephen King’s Rose Red). The series stars Andrew McCarthy, Diane Ladd, Bruce Davison and Ed Begley Jr. Bob Phillips is producer. The series will be

produced by Touchstone Television in association with Sony Pictures Television, and will premiere in the U.S. on ABC later this season.