Thursday, September 18, 2008

Nick's Newer 'Toons

The Chumster by Eric Robles ... courtesy of Frederator Cartoons

In a world where television cartoons die like mosquitoes during a cold snap, it's good to see Nickelodeon ginning up two new specimens:

Nickelodeon has picked up two animated series: a spinoff of Nicktoons Network's "Random! Cartoons" that features a high-profile voice cast and an interactive series created by the team behind Nick's "Blue's Clues."

The network has ordered 26 episodes of the CG-animated series "Fanboy and Chum Chum," a spinoff of the "Random!" collection of anthology shorts, and has greenlighted 20 episodes of the math-themed "Team Umizoomi," which combines 2-D and 3-D animation with live action ...

This is new management's first foray into fresh series, and the folks seem to be going in three directions: cgi animation, traditional animation and live action. "Covering all the bases" would be an apt description.

What is most interesting to me is that Fanboy and Chum Chum comes out of the "Random Cartoon" program of Fred seibert's troops. If you're not familiar with "RC", it's sort of an open casting-call for new projects, where artists come in and pitch storyboards of their eight-minute stories.

Nick accepts pitches for new cartoon shorts from all points on the compass. The pitches the company likes, it develops into full-blown animated shorts. And out of the most successful shorts, it greenlights multi-episode series.

This kind of "open source" development (wikitoons?) was developed by Fred S. when he was Prez of Hanna-Barbera. From that first batch of shorts came series like Dexter's Lab, Power-Puff Girls and Johnny Bravo, the nuclei of shows for what ultimately became Ted Turner's Cartoon Network.

A number of animation companies have used the wikipedia model since, but I'm always amazed it's not used more extensively than it is.


Anonymous said...

This isn't one of the 2 "new" shows happening at Nick you mentioned in your Sept. 8 post, is it? 'Cause Fanboy's been in production since early spring... Hardly new, especially considering the regular posts from the crew on the Channel Frederator Blog.

I hope not; Us jobless folk out here don't need to get our hopes up for "new" jobs that aren't there...

Steve Hulett said...


Actually, the main point of the linked post was to point out the open source development some cartoon studios have adopted.

Example: It's how Seth McFarlane got started, and the McFarlane mini-empire now encompasses a whole lot of employment and shows.

Anonymous said...

Open source is also a way to keep it cheap. It's up to you whether that's good or bad, but it suppresses wages and creative control. Unfortunately, the Seth example is the exception. Having an ad after the Super Bowl helps a bit, too.

There is a graveyard of bodies that have signed with these 'packaged series' that more than make up for whatever billions one lucky sole has made. Sign with the middle-man at your own risk.

Anonymous said...

I thought Cartoon Network started with the Hanna-Barbera archives. The original content didn't come until some years after the channel launched.

Racattack Force said...

I thought Cartoon Network started with the Hanna-Barbera archives. The original content didn't come until some years after the channel launched.

Correct. It started as a classic animation channel (a title that now belongs to Boomerang). After taking a beating from Nickelodeon one Thanksgiving well over a decade ago, they then decided to get some of their own originals.

Site Meter