As the NFL season officially gets under way tonight, the league and Viacom’s Nicktoons are teaming up to produce Rush Zone: Season Of The Guardians, an animated series geared toward getting kids hooked on football, the Los Angeles Times reports. The series is comprised of two dozen 30-minute episodes and is set to debut on Nicktoons on November 30. “We’ve been laser-focused for the last five years trying to connect kids to the NFL,” says Peter O’Reilly, vice president of fan strategy and marketing for the NFL. The series stems from a successful series of animated shorts that the NFL and Nicktoons produced and aired during the 2010-11 football season. Rush Zone tells the story of a boy named Ish and his friends who live in Canton, Ohio, home of the NFL’s Hall of Fame. O’Reilly says Ish and his pals have been “tapped as guardians to protect the sport from an evil force trying to capture the essence of the NFL.” The boys take on various villains who are out to destroy the game. NFL players who’ll be portraying themselves in the series include New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees, Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson and now-retired NFL quarterback Jim Kelly.
Haim Saban Buys Back ‘Mighty Morphin Power Rangers’ Franchise & Brings It To Nickelodeon And Nicktoons
Saban Capital Group announced today it has purchased the Power Rangers property from the Walt Disney Company. Immediately, another news release announced that Nickelodeon and Saban Brands have partnered to put the Power Rangers on the air for an 18th TV season.
Saban introduced the first Mighty Morphin Power Rangers series in 1993 and made a mint off it. His acquisition from Disney includes worldwide rights to the brand as well as over 700 episodes produced over 17 years. The TV deal consists of 20 new episodes on Nickelodeon and Nicktoons in 2011, with the catalog of 700 episodes launching on Nicktoons later this year.
Produced by SCG Power Rangers LLC, will commence production in summer 2010 with original Executive Producer Jonathan Tzachor back at the helm and a new cast, look and theme for the show.
“Power Rangers is one of the world’s leading children’s entertainment properties and we are delighted to see its return,” said Haim Saban, chairman and chief executive officer, Saban Capital Group, Inc.
Following its introduction in 1993 on the Fox Kids Network, Power Rangers quickly became the most watched children’s television program in the United States. The series has been translated into numerous languages and rose to become the #1 boys brand in the world from 1993-97, based on toy sales and television ratings. The Walt Disney Company acquired the franchise in 2001 as part of its purchase of …
Rocker Gene Simmons will be in Cannes on Monday to interview Entertainment One president and CEO Darren Throop onstage for a Mip TV keynote session. The KISS co-founder will also be there to pitch his new hidden-camera reality show, Busted. Simmons and eOne are teaming on the show, which eOne is selling internationally (although Simmons has retained dibs on merchandise). The bassist created the behind-the-scenes series in which he goes on tour with some of the biggest bands in the world and gives audiences an all-access pass to backstage practical jokes. Executive producers include John Morayniss, Tara Long and Jeff Hevert on behalf of eOne and Simmons. No stranger to reality TV, Simmons previously starred in the long-running A&E show Gene Simmons Family Jewels along with two seasons of Gene Simmons’ Rock School for VH1. He also created the shows Mr. Romance for Oxygen and My Dad The Rock Star for NickToons. KISS released its 20th studio album in October last year.
As part of Russell Hicks’ promotion, Nickelodeon also expanded the responsibilities of top live-action executive Marjorie Cohn, who has been upped to President, Content Development, Nickelodeon, adding animation and digital to her existing portfolio of live-action programming. Brown Johnson, who has served as the President of Animation since 2008, is leaving. Here is the release:
LOS ANGELES, Aug. 29, 2012 Russell Hicks, a 14-year Nickelodeon veteran and its Chief Creative Officer since 2008, has been named to the new position of President, Content Development and Production for the Nickelodeon Group. The announcement was made today by Cyma Zarghami, President, Nickelodeon Group, to whom Hicks will continue to report.
The newly created position establishes centralized, West Coast leadership of all Nickelodeon’s content teams, and provides direct, on the ground oversight of the network’s development slate. Hicks will be based at Nickelodeon’s Burbank and Santa Monica, California, offices, where he will lead the company’s live-action, animation development and production teams for all of Nickelodeon’s content platforms.
Reporting to Hicks will be: Margie Cohn, who will serve in the new role of President, Content Development, Nickelodeon, working across live-action, animation and digital; Paula Kaplan, who will now serve as EVP of Current Series; Teri Weiss, EVP of Nickelodeon Preschool Development and Production; Alison Dexter, EVP, Nickelodeon Productions; Rich Magallanes, SVP, Animation, Current Series; and Keith Dawkins, SVP and General Manager for Nickelodeon’s Nick Jr., Nicktoons and TeenNick channels.
DirecTV’s 20M customers have their MTV – and 16 other Viacom channels – again. The companies said this morning that they’ve resolved their 10-day contract dispute, which took more channels from more consumers than any other fight so far between a pay TV distributor and programmer. That will come as a relief to DirecTV customers who are fans of channels including Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, BET and Spike. Investors also will be glad to see an end to what many feared could have become an extended black out that might trash both companies’ earnings. In addition, Hollywood moguls will be pleased: Several have told our Nikki Finke that they’ve found it hard to promote movies while Viacom’s youth-oriented channels have been dark in so many homes.
Show of hands: Who thinks it’s a coincidence that DirecTV made this addition to its children’s offerings the same week that its 20M customers lost Viacom’s 17 channels including Nickelodeon, Nick Jr, and Nicktoons? Of course the satellite company doesn’t actually make that connection in today’s announcement: That would have been insulting to Disney. And who knows? Maybe DirecTV would have made the addition anyway. Still, its hard to avoid seeing this in the context of the spat with Viacom. The release notes that Disney Junior, which targets kids age 2-7, is “one of the most sought after channels by DirecTV customers and will be permanently added to their programming options as a basic channel.” This is the first year that Disney Junior is operating as a 24/7 channel; it launched last year as Disney Channel’s daytime programming block. “When it comes to children and families, nobody has the tremendous programming to compare with Disney,” DirecTV EVP Derek Chang says. “DirecTV is happy to place our trust in Disney as a partner in building this exciting new family service.” Beginning tomorrow, Disney Junior will appear on channel 289, right next to Disney Channel.
Another Toldja! moment for Nikki – BBC Worldwide just announced officially Herb Scannell’s appointment as president of BBC Worldwide America.
PREVIOUS: Scannell To Top BBC Worldwide America?
Wednesday, June 2 2010, New York – BBC Worldwide today appointed Herb Scannell as President, BBC Worldwide America, responsible for the company’s U.S. operations. His appointment is effective immediately. Formerly President of Nickelodeon Networks and Vice Chairman of MTV Networks, Scannell was most recently CEO of Next New Networks, a digital media company he co-founded in 2006.
In his new role Scannell is responsible for growing the BBC brand and the business across all divisions in the U.S., the BBC’s largest market outside the UK. He will sit on BBC Worldwide’s Executive Board. His responsibilities in the U.S. include flagship cable channel BBC AMERICA and BBC AMERICA HD, BBC Worldwide Productions, BBC.com, Sales and Distribution including Digital Syndication and Motion Gallery, Home Entertainment including Audiobooks, and Licensed Consumer Products. He will also oversee the exploitation of BBC Worldwide’s Global Brands in America.
BBC AMERICA, now in 67 million homes, recently recorded its highest ever ratings for the sci-fi series Doctor Who, and its highest ever profit for the financial year 2009/10. BBC Worldwide Productions produces ratings juggernaut Dancing With The Stars which just concluded its tenth season on ABC. The Home Entertainment division yesterday released Life – the follow-up to Planet Earth.
Marvel Studios Updates Its Pipeline: ‘Iron Man 2′ Starts Shooting in April; Kenneth Branagh To Direct ‘Thor’
Below is an updated look at the Marvel Studios’ product pipeline. The company also announced today that Kenneth Branagh is set to direct Thor which Paramount Pictures will distribute worldwide. It will be released domestically on July 16, 2010. And Iron Man 2 begins principal photography in early April.
Marvel Studios Entertainment Pipeline
(According to its 4th quarter earnings report. Scheduled release dates are subject to change)
Self-Produced Feature Film Line-Up
Iron Man 2 (Marvel), scheduled for May 7, 2010 release, starts principal photography in April
directed by Jon Favreau, stars Robert Downey Jr, Gwyneth Paltrow and Don Cheadle
Thor (Marvel), scheduled for July 16, 2010 release, directed by Kenneth Branagh
The First Avenger: Captain America (Marvel), sScheduled for May 6, 2011 release
The Avengers (Marvel), scheduled for July 15, 2011 release
Licensed Feature Film Line-Up
X-Men Origins: Wolverine (Fox), scheduled for May 1, 2009 release
Self-Produced Animated TV Series Line-Up
Super Hero Squad (Marvel Animation) 26 thirty-minute episodes in production with Film Roman, scheduled for Q3 2009 release on Cartoon Network
The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes (Marvel Animation) 26 thirty-minute episodes in production with Film Roman; scheduled for Q3 2011 release
Licensed Animated TV Series Line-Up
Fantastic Four: World’s Greatest Heroes (Moonscoop SAS – France), 26 thirty-minute episodes airing internationally and on Marvel.com and Marvelkids.com
Spectacular Spider-Man (Culver Studios – U.S.) Will air on Disney XD in the U.S. beginning in March and currently airing on various networks internationally
Wolverine and the X-Men (Marvel Animation / First Serve Toonz – India), 52 thirty-minute episodes. Episodes 1-26 are …
HAPPY NEW YEAR! Viacom And Time Warner Cable Reach “Agreement In Principle”; TWC Subscribers Don’t Lose Viacom’s MTV, VH1, Nickelodeon & Comedy Central In NY, LA, Everywhere
ThURSDAY AM UPDATE: Both Viacom and Time Warner Cable took their revenue battle to the brink. Less than an hour before TWC’s 13.3 million subscribers were going to lose 19 Viacom channels at 12:01 AM today, the two Big Media companies came to an agreement. Here was their joint statement:
TIME WARNER CABLE, VIACOM REACH AGREEMENT IN PRINCIPLE
Networks Will Continue to Be Available On All Time Warner Cable Systems
New York, NY – Jan. 1, 2009 — Time Warner Cable (NYSE:TWC) and Viacom (NYSE: VIA and VIA.B) jointly announced this morning that they have reached an agreement in principle to renew carriage for Viacom’s MTV Networks. The companies expect to finalize the details of the agreement over the next several days.
Glenn Britt, President and CEO of Time Warner Cable said, “We are pleased that our customers will continue to be able to watch the programming they enjoy on MTV Networks. We are sorry they had to endure a day of public disagreement as we worked through this negotiation.”
Philippe Dauman, President and CEO of Viacom said, “We’ve been partners with Time Warner Cable for a long time, and we’re happy to be renewing that partnership for the benefit of their customers and our loyal viewers. It’s gratifying that we could reach an agreement that benefits not only our audiences but that is also in the best interest of both of our companies.”
WEDNESDAY NOON: Viacom has rejected Time Warner Cable’s request for a 15- to 30-day extension on the 12:01 AM January 1st deadline when the …