Award-winning global independent animation studio ZAG (www.zag.com) is sending its action-comedy series Ghostforce (52 x 11′) to Disney Channels U.S.; the broadcaster has licensed rights to the show in North America, Japan and India, building on existing deals for EMEA, Russia and the Middle East. Ghostforce premiered October 4 on Disney XD, with new episodes debuting weekdays at 7:30 p.m. EDT through October 15. The show has already bowed in France (TF1) and on Disney Channels in Germany and Israel. Ghostforce is co-produced with De Agostini Editores.
Created and produced by studio Founder & CEO Jeremy Zag, the supernatural series for kids 6-10 follows three junior high school students who secretly form a team of superheroes to fight the ghosts of New York. Ms. Jones, a brilliant scientist, is the founder and commander of the Ghostforce and does everything she can to better identify the ghosts and has even created a fourth member, Glowboo, an Artificial Intelligence running on phantom energy. With each mission, Liv, Andy and Mike transform into Myst, Fury and Krush, superheroes armed with the powers of the ghosts they capture and high-tech gadgets invented by Ms. Jones. They are the only ones who have the ability to hunt down the ghosts and fight them … before they hurry back to school so they don’t miss the next science class!
Toronto-based kids and family content producer Guru Studio (www.gurustudio.com) announced a new broadcast deal with Nickelodeon U.K. for its newest series, Big Blue. The 52 x 11′ underwater adventure comedy was commissioned by CBC Kids and Radio-Canada and is set to premiere in Canada later this year, and on Nicktoons in the U.K. in January 2022. Previously announced broadcasters already on board include ABC Me in Australia, CTC Kids in Russia, and NRK in Norway.
Created by Ghanaian-Canadian artist Gyimah Gariba, one of Animation Magazine‘s Rising Stars of 2020, Big Blue follows sibling underwater adventurers Lettie and Lemo who lead a quirky submarine crew with a magical ocean fairy stowaway named Bacon Berry. Together, they just might unravel the mysterious secrets of their underwater universe! Guru Studio is the animation studio behind global hits PAW Patrol, True and the Rainbow Kingdom and Emmy-nominated series Justin Time.
Leading kids’ and family entertainment specialist CAKE announced a deal with WarnerMedia Kids & Family for Wildseed Studios‘ animated kids’ comedy series Dodo. Based on the multi-award-winning short film and YouTube hit Not the End of the World by British creator and series director Jack Bennett, Dodo (20 x 11′) perfectly depicts the drama and unwieldy memories every child experiences during middle school. The series will air on HBO Max and Cartoon Network in 2022.
Dodo is a funny, heartwarming portrayal of everyday school life through the eyes of 11-year-old Joe Connolly as he navigates the pitfalls of his first year at high school. The smallest events mean big drama for Joe who is just trying to fit in. He may have lost his school trousers or sent a text message to the wrong girl, but with his friends Frisbo, Pete and Lily at his side he somehow triumphs over adversity and lives to see another school day.
Emmy Award-winning French animation production and distribution company Dandelooo announced it will be showcasing three of its half-hour, 2D-animated TV specials featuring strong female leads as the “Resilience Collection.” Co-founder Emmanuèle Pétry Sirvin said, “We are so proud to bring creator driven films with strong meaningful stories which give children emotional tools to face the possible challenges of life. Each story from the resilience collection is beautifully written and aims to empower and help overcome life’s little obstacles.”
- Dounia (Kids 6-9), produced by Tobo Media (Canada) and directed by Marya Zarif and Andre Kadi. Forced to leave Syria, Dounia and her grandparents set off in search of a new home. As she travels around the world in search of asylum, Dounia encounters many people and lives many great adventures. And, when she encounters an obstacle that seems insurmountable, the wisdom of the ancient world comes to her rescue in the form of the nigella seeds of her grandmother.
- Shooom’s Odyssey (Preschool), produced by Picolo Pictures (France) and winner of 33 awards to-date — including the Annecy Cristal for TV, Best Short Film (Up to Six) at Prix Jeunesse and Best Animated Short Film for Children at Anima — and over 70 festival selections. Born in the bayou in the midst of a storm, baby owl Shooom must fend for herself and her unhatched sibling before she even leaves her nest. Against all odds, she is determined to find her mother, be it an alligator or a squirrel. As she embarks on this dangerous journey through the mangroves, she encounters a series of wild animals before falling in with Walter and Rosie, two children determined to save her.
- Mum Is Pouring Rain, co-produced by Laïdak Films and Dandelooo, winner of the Annecy Jury Award for TV Special. Eight-year-old Jane must spend Christmas on her own with her grandma. Jane doesn’t understand why her mother is not joining them for the Christmas festivities, but the holidays turn out to be quite an adventure as Jane meets new friends. As she learns to open up to others, Jane will inspire her mother with the strength to get back on her feet.
Global kids’ content distributor Jetpack Distribution has acquired the worldwide rights for three brand-new preschool animated shows from the award-winning Northern Ireland-based animation outfit, Paper Owl Films: Ladybird & Bee, which launched in Ireland earlier this year, and two in-development shows, Mr. Dog and Florida.
- Ladybird & Bee (26 x 2′; S2 in development) is commissioned by Irish pubcaster RTÉjr and funded by Northern Ireland’s Irish Language Broadcast and Screen Fund. It launched on RTÉjr in Irish in March 2021, in English on October 4. The show tells charming stories of the natural world, as seen from the perspective of two tiny best friends: Ladybird and Bee. Viewers get a magnified view of fascinating creatures in their home, Wild Meadow, learning things about them and their habitats along the way. The series allows young audiences to discover the wonder of nature, and, as a celebration of biodiversity, conveys the message that everyone has their own important part to play in life, no matter how small they are!
- Dog (52 x 11′, production starts late 2023) centers on the wonder-dog, under-dog Mr. Dog, based on the best-selling books by Ben Fogle. Mr. Dog travels the world, meeting animals in need. He has a nose for sniffing out trouble and can’t resist the call of a good adventure. The world from Mr. Dog’s knee-high perspective is full of canine danger and drama, as he solves other animals’ problems in his own lovable, mischievous and funny way. Mr. Dog is determined to make the world a better place for humans and the animal kingdom. Facing every challenge with humour and confidence, Mr. Dog empowers the audience to do the same in their own real-life adventures.
- Florida (52 x 11′, production starts late 2023) follows a girl called Florida who has come to live with Aunt G in her GEM (Gadgets of Everyday Marvel) shop. Florida embraces creativity and change for the next generation of young engineers. The shop is a universe of possibility and the GEMs are wonders of human invention and creativity. With imagination, a bit of mischief and plenty of optimism, Florida and her friends help these unwanted objects find a new purpose in the world.
Leading Latin American animation studio Ánima, in association with Mexico City-based distributor Videocine, has reached an agreement with The Walt Disney Company Latin America for distribution rights through Disney+ in Latin America to the studio’s “La Leyenda” (a.k.a. “Legend Quest”) horror-comedy movies: The Legend of Llorona (75′), The Legend of the Mummies (84′), The Legend of Chupacabras (82′) and The Legend of Charro Negro (85′). The deal was announced by Ánima founding partners Fernando De Fuentes Sainz, CEO, and José C. García de Letona, COO.
Las Leyendas titles follow the adventures of Leo San Juan, a heroic preteen boy who can communicate with legendary creatures and ghosts, along with his team of monster-battling friends who aid him in uncovering the mysteries behind these unruly beings. While confronting their supernatural forces of evil, Leo is often compassionate, sometimes taking pity on the creatures he must stop. Yet, in spite of his caring nature, he and his friends embark on mysterious adventures as they try to save the world from evil.
Disney+ has greenlit American Born Chinese, a genre-hopping, live-action, action-comedy series, based on the graphic novel of the same name by Gene Luen Yang. The story centers on Jin Wang, an average teenager juggling his high school social life with his immigrant home life. When he meets a new foreign student on the first day of the school year, even more worlds collide as Jin is unwittingly entangled in a battle of Chinese mythological gods. The show is a genre-hopping action-comedy that explores issues of identity, culture, and family. The Disney Branded Television series is produced by 20th Television.
American Born Chinese will be directed and exec produced by Destin Daniel Cretton (Marvel’s Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, Short Term 12); written and exec produced by Emmy Award winner Kelvin Yu (Bob’s Burgers) and Charles Yu (Legion, Westworld); and exec produced by Melvin Mar and Jake Kasdan (Doogie Kamealoha, M.D., Fresh Off the Boat, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle & The Next Level), Asher Goldstein (Short Term 12, Just Mercy) and Gene Luen Yang. Kelvin Yu serves as showrunner.
Studio 100 has dropped a new trailer for FriendZSpace, a 52 x 11′ CGI comedy-adventure for kids 5-9 preparing to blast off in 2022. The series is produced by Shellhut Entertainment (Thailand), T&B Media (Thailand), Studio 100 Media (Germany), Dan Clark Company (U.S.) and Flying Bark Productions (Australia), with the assistance of the New South Wales Government / Screen NSW. Created by industry vet Dan Clark (Alien Xmas, Team Smithereen) and Oscar Covar (Tasty Tales of the Food Truckers), the series’ creative team also boasts project director Karl Essex and producer Lex Gates-Foale.
FriendZSpace is about three best friends, Alice, Leo and Kim who may seem like regular human kids, but behind their normal facade they are risk-taking deep space friend makers! Each episode follows the three kids as they jet into space in their unpredictable star cruiser, “The Dart”. Accompanied by BotDog (half puppy and half high-tech Swiss army knife) their mission is simple and wonderfully weird: locate planets, find alien kids, introduce themselves, and make friends. But making friends with alien kids is tricky!
- Winsing Animation is attending MIPCOM virtually this year, highlighting its established programs GOGOBUS and Team S.T.E.A.M.! as well as new series GG Bond: Kung Fu Pork Choppers for kids 6-9.
- FuturumKids and distribution partner Monster Entertainment will also have a strong team at MIPCOM, making new friends for Paddles (52 x 11′, Kids 4-7) and new project Ling Ling, about a wide-eyed panda who moves from Shanghai to London and attends the city’s premiere preschool for animals (in production).
- Animaccord (Masha and the Bear) will be shopping the rapidly growing 3D CGI fantasy-adventure series Fairyteens (two seasons of 26 x 11′; Kids 6-8) at MIPCOM. The property includes a digital ecosystem (Fay.net) and 3D Fairy Coloring app.
- ZAG is launching its kids’ hybrid action-comedy Power Players (78 x 11′), co-produced with Mediawan’s ON kids & family and Planeta Junior, to China this month, The show will premiere simultaneously on digital platforms Tencent and Mango TV in a deal brokered by local agent REESEE Ent.
- Moonbug Entertainment Ltd. continues the global expansion of CoComelon with a new partnership inked with France’s biggest broadcaster, TF1 Group. The series will be available on demand in French on TFOU MAX later this month.
- Genius Brands International struck a deal with Pluto TV (a ViacomCBS company) to host is branded Kartoon Channel! starting Oct. 5. The leading free streaming television service can now access original series such as Stan Lee’s Superhero Kindergarten, trivia show KC! Pop Quiz and upcoming Shaq’s Garage, as well as Baby Genius, Pac-Man and more.