Cartoon Network made its presentation to the Television Critic Association’s (TCA) annual meeting last Friday. Like other network’s TCA presentations, CN attempted to convince these opinion leaders that their programming is the one to watch. This time they just might have a sound argument for it, too.
From the sounds of things, they are dropping the constantly misfiring Fried Dynamite Fridays block for as yet unnamed new action-adventure orientation. Spearheading this block will be new episodes of Ben 10: Alien Force along with the new shows Batman: The Brave & The Bold, Star Wars: Clone Wars and Secret Saturdays. Yep, Secret Saturdays will be on Fridays. (Sorry, couldn’t resist).
As one can imagine, CN execs are particularly jazzed about the Star Wars series, which actually makes its debut as a theatrical motion picture this August.
“The epic scale of Star Wars: The Clone Wars makes it the perfect series to help us launch a new night of action and fantasy programming,” said chief CN content officer Rob Sorcher at the meeting. “This fall, Friday nights on Cartoon Network are going to give kids of all ages the adventure of a lifetime.”
As previously reported, Batman: The Brave & the Bold will be spearheaded by WB Animation vet James Tucker (Justice League, Legion of Superheroes. It features the character designs of WB up-and-comer Ben Jones. It will team up the Caped Crusader with a different DC superhero each week. Promo art already has shown Green Arrow, Blue Beetle and Aquaman. Would we be surprised if a certain guy from Metropolis shows up? Hardly. Rumors abound about Red Tornado and a few others. More important, apparently the show will find Batman moving more and more away from his Gotham City home to take on more out-of-town cases.
The other new series is the aforementioned Secret Saturdays. Created by Jay Stephens (the truly underappreciated Jetcat), this comedy-action series features a family of world-saving adventure scientists. Doc, Drew and Zak Saturday live in a hidden base and are part of a network of scientists who protect against all the underlying evil in the world. Traveling from the Gobi Desert to the Marianas Trench, they explore ancient temples and bottomless caves and tangle with twisted villains, including the masked madman V.V. Argost and his half-human/half-giant spider.
Finally, the block will include new episodes of the super-hot Ben 10: Alien Force. Under the supervision of producer Glen Murakami (Teen Titans, Batman Beyond and story editor Dwayne McDuffie (JLU, Static Shock), the series will continue to see Ben, cousin Gwen and new ally Kevin Levin continue recruiting the children of the Plumbers in their battle with the DNAliens. They will also continue to search for Ben and Gwen’s missing grandfather, Max.
A final schedule and formal launch date has not been released. We expect that information over the next few weeks.
FUNIMATION STARTING DIAL-IN CHANNEL
Red Planet Media, Inc. announced the launch of the FUNimation Channel on JumpInMobile.TV. The FUNimation Channel contains full seasons of MoonPhase, Gunslinger Girl and Galaxy Railways, with each title consisting of up to 26 half hour episodes.
The FUNimation Channel on JumpInMobile.TV represents the largest selection of on-demand anime ever offered on mobile phones and is compatible with an estimated 30 million AT&T and Sprint phones including models from Motorola, Nokia, Samsung and the Apple iPhone. AT&T or Sprint customers can point their cell phone browsers to http://jumpinmobile.tv/funimation or can send a “go funimation” text message to 22646 to receive a link to FUNimation Channel’s JumpInMobile.TV home page. There, fans can learn more about the service, view free trailers and sign up for the channel.
"This new partnership shows our commitment in providing innovative multi-platform content that is also a rich interactive experience for our fans," said Gen Fukunaga, president and CEO at FUNimation Entertainment. "We also expect that the promotional value of this mobile content will increase awareness about our series and ratings for our linear TV channel."
OlympuSAT, a leading distributor of independent television channels throughout the U.S., manages the distribution and marketing of both the linear TV and the JumpInMobile.TV FUNimation Channels. In support of the launch of the new mobile channel, OlympuSAT is developing an advertising campaign consisting of television, print and web.
JumpInMobile.TV is an on-demand service for owners of Sprint and AT&T video-capable phones. Consisting of a growing number of channels including FUNimation, Cine Mexicano and Noti Mobile, JumpInMobile.TV turns long form content such as full seasons of FUNimation and full-length movies from Cine Mexicano into easy-to-manage on-demand chapters navigated with the phone’s Internet browser. Subscribers to the channel have unlimited access to all the chapters in the channel each month and the cost of a monthly subscription is conveniently added to the consumer’s monthly bill.
JumpInMobile.TV uses the mobile phone’s native video player and does not require the download of a separate application, making it compatible with an estimated 30 million mobile phones in the U.S. The content adaptation and playback capabilities are powered by QuickPlay Media, the leader in mobile TV and video solutions.
“Premiering JumpInMobile.TV with the FUNimation Channel is an exciting showcase for all the partners involved in this project,” said Dean Fresonke, President of Red Planet Media. “Rather than the minutes a week of fresh mobile video on a handful of phones available from virtually every other provider, the FUNimation Channel and JumpInMobile.TV are bringing hours and hours of the top anime titles to millions of mobile phone owners. This is just the beginning of an entire family of JumpInMobile.TV channels that are simple to access and compelling to watch.”
Last week, FUNimation announced it acquired well over 50 new series from the former anime distributor Geneon as well as ADV. Don’t be surprised if there are a lot more announcements from the distributor in the near future.
BANG ZOOM OPENING UP VOICE WORKSHOPS
Based on its recent success at this year’s Anime Expo, Bang Zoom! Entertainment announced it will do another series of special workshops for aspiring voice actors. The first workshop will be taught by Tony Oliver on July, 19th 2008 at the company’s studios in Burbank, CA. Only a limited number of open slots remain and details are available at: http://www.adventuresinvoiceacting.com. Future Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced level workshops for the remainder of 2008 are being coordinated presently and more details will be announced shortly
During Anime Expo, fans were treated to insightful personal stories and helpful guidelines from voice actors such as and Philece Sampler (Eureka 7, Last Exile, Bleach) and Tony Oliver (Rick Hunter of Robotech). The pair gave an informative overview of the dubbing process and the technology used in recording as well as an insider’s view of the voice acting business. Future classes will offer a comprehensive curriculum, examining every aspect of voice acting and providing plenty of time for students behind the mike. These classes will also provide attendees with focused one-on-one time with actors like Oliver to discuss and work on techniques and methods.
“We were ecstatic about the enthusiasm showed of the legions of fans that attended our voice acting workshops during Anime Expo,” says Eric P. Sherman, President of Bang! Zoom Entertainment. “The ADR and dubbing process is sometimes overlooked but it’s really the key component to the success of an anime series on network broadcast. Because of our expertise in this arena we’re hoping to give something back in terms of educating those who are serious about a voice acting career. I invite them to check out our upcoming session on July 19th that will give plenty of inside information on the recording process from some of the most talented names in the business as well as insights on how the industry works and how to get and prepare for auditions.”
For more information on the workshops, email email@example.com