Canada’s Youth Media Alliance Brings In Vince Commisso & Josée Legault To Its Board Of Directors

Montreal, March 7, 2012 — The Youth Media Alliance is pleased to announce the appointment of two new members to its board of directors: Vince Commisso, co‐founder and President & CEO, 9 Story Entertainment, will act as Treasurer, and Josée Legault, Brand Manager, YOOPA, will sit as a member. The pair replace, respectively, Claude Joli‐Coeur, Assistant Commissioner and Director, Business Affairs and Legal Services, NFB, and Clive Vanderburgh, Professor Emeritus, Ryerson University, whom the YMA warmly thanks for their involvement in the organization’s activities.

Vince Commisso
Vince Commisso is a co‐founding partner and President & CEO of 9 Story Entertainment. Vince has contributed to the production of 400‐plus animated episodes for audiences of all ages. He began his career at Nelvana Limited, where he worked with the major networks, studios, producers and distributors, both domestically and internationally, garnering one Emmy® and two Gemini® nominations. Vince rose through the ranks at Nelvana, leaving in 1999 after seven years as a  supervising producer. He then assumed the role of President & CEO of Blab Media Inc., a Flash‐based new media company, where he gained valuable experience in management of start‐ups and insight into the various factors that impact a company’s position in a market. He left Blab to create 9 Story Entertainment with a vision to launch a new‐era animation producer that would utilize leading‐edge technologies to develop, produce and deliver compelling animated content for young audiences worldwide. In 2005, Vince earned an Emmy® Award for Best Animated Television Program, as well as a Gemini® Award and a YMA Award as Senior Producer on Peep and the Big Wide World Season I. Vince holds an MBA from the Schulich School of Business (1992) and is a Certified General Accountant. He also holds a Bachelor of Administrative Arts from Atkinson College at York University and a BA in Mathematics and Political Science.

Josée Legault
Josée Legault has wide‐ranging experience in brand management and strategic planning. In September 2010, she joined TVA Group as Brand Manager for YOOPA, a multiplatform brand comprising, among other units, a digital TV channel for preschoolers as well as magazine and Web portal for parents. In that capacity, she is responsible for developing the brand’s strategic direction while ensuring editorial integration and consistency for all of its platforms, with an eye to ensuring YOOPA’s long‐term growth. Her previous career experience in brand management includes more than five years spent with Cirque du Soleil, where she oversaw strategic directions, positioning and communications tools for multiple shows (Zumanity, KÀ, Corteo, Delirium, The Beatles LOVE, Kooza and Wintuk). Josée  earned her Bachelor of Business Administration (Marketing) in 1996 from Montreal’s École des Hautes Études Commerciales, where she was also an Ad Hoc Recherche scholarship recipient.

Quantic Dream’s “Kara” by David Cage

Motion capture can aid good storytelling and good filmmaking. This film is a demo of a new performance-capture technique from David Cage’s Paris-based game studio Quantic Dream. It’s very gripping and gets right to the heart – and doesn’t venture into uncanny valley. Definitely worth a look. Eurogamer has posted an interview with Cage about this test.

(Thanks, Meagan)

EXCLUSIVE: Nickelodeon’s New Shorts Program

Nickelodeon announced today a new animated shorts program designed to develop comedy-driven content. According to the press release, available in its entirety on CB Biz:

As part of the program, ten, 60 second shorts will be made with the potential of becoming long-form animated comedy series which will air on the network or Nick.com.

Created to expand on Nickelodeon’s animation comedy development slate, the shorts program is designed to attract new talent to develop both artist and comedian-driven shorts. Ideas will be solicited from in-house and outside talent including artists, designers, writers and directors who will be provided artistic support to produce their short depending on their level of experience. In addition, selected comedians will be partnered up with the artistic and production support necessary to complete their short.

Guidelines for those interested in participating in the program are posted here. All animation styles and techniques are encouraged from 2D to digital 2D, stop motion, CG or mixed media. The deadline for entries is March 30 at 6 p.m. PT. The animated shorts will be produced at the Nickelodeon Animation Studios in Burbank, Calif.

Nickelodeon Announces New Animated Shorts Program

NICKELODEON ANNOUNCES NEW ANIMATED SHORTS PROGRAM
TO TAP INTO COMEDY PIPELINE

BURBANK, CALIF. — March 8, 2012 — Nickelodeon will implement a new animated shorts program designed to develop comedy-driven content, it was announced today by Brown Johnson, President, Animation, Nickelodeon and MTVN Kids and Family Group. As part of the program, ten, 60 second shorts will be made with the potential of becoming long-form animated comedy series which will air on the network or Nick.com.

“The new shorts program gives us an opportunity to tap into comedy talent from many different sources,” said Johnson. “We’re excited to offer this unique opportunity to artists and comedians with all levels of experience, where their creative voices and point of view will be a potential pipeline for new animated series.”

Created to expand on Nickelodeon’s animation comedy development slate, the shorts program is designed to attract new talent to develop both artist and comedian-driven shorts. Ideas will be solicited from in-house and outside talent including artists, designers, writers and directors who will be provided artistic support to produce their short depending on their level of experience. In addition, selected comedians will be partnered up with the artistic and production support necessary to complete their short.

Guidelines for those interested in participating in the program are posted at www.nickshortspitches.com. Shorts should be original, funny and character-driven, featuring one or two comedic characters. All animation styles and techniques are encouraged from 2D to digital 2D, stop motion, CG or mixed media. The deadline for entries is March 30 at 6 p.m. PT.

The animated shorts will be produced at the Nickelodeon Animation Studios in Burbank, Calif.

Joe Strike in Conversation with Animator Fred Seibert, March 15 at New York’s MoCCA

If one man can be credited with resuscitating American commercial animation from its near-death experience in the ’80s and ’90s, the credit would have to go to Fred Seibert. After putting MTV on the map with a series of unforgettable, no-two-alike animated ID spots, he took over the creatively exhausted Hanna-Barbera studio and engineered a turnaround that brought some of the country’s most innovative young animators to its doors. Their creations — The Powerpuff Girls, Dexter’s Laboratory, Johnny Bravo and others — put Cartoon Network on the map. Moving onto an association with Nickelodeon, Fred midwifed second batch of creator-driven cartoons including Wow! Wow! Wubbzy!, Fanboy and Chum Chum and The Fairly Oddparents; Frederator Studios’ latest series, the surreal Adventure Time with Finn and Jake is a major Cartoon Network success.

On March 15th Fred sits down with animation journalist Joe Strike for the latest in Joe’s “Interview with an Animator” conversation series. Fred will share the secrets of his success, offer his perspective on the current state of TV cartoons and what the toons of tomorrow might look like.

Joe Strike has written about animation for The Daily News, Newsday, New York Press and is a regular contributor to the entertainment industry website Animation World Network (awn.com). He has taught Mass Communications at St. John’s University in New York City, scripted for the Nickelodeon series Wow! Wow! Wubbzy!, adapted anime scripts into English and worked on the children’s TV series The Great Space Coaster and Pee-wee’s Playhouse. As Senior Producer of the Sci-Fi Channel’s promotion department, Joe created programming featuring celebrities like Stan Lee, animator Ralph Bakshi and the cast of Mystery Science Theater 3000.

WHAT: MoCCA Thursday: Interview with an Animator: Joe Strike in Conversation with Fred Seibert

WHEN: Thursday March 15, 2012, 7-9 pm

WHERE: Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art, 594 Broadway, suite 401, New York, NY 10012

COST: $7 | MoCCA members free

TEASER: “The Master’s Voice” by Guilherme Marcondes

It’s been a while since we’ve heard of a new personal project by Guilherme Marcondes (Tyger, Into Pieces), but this teaser for his next short suggests that it’s been worth the wait. The Master’s Voice–a mix of live action, drawn and CG animation–is “the story of the city-island of M., a decadent metropolis inhabited only by ghosts and ghouls.”

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Dick Clark is Selling His Flintstones Home

Dick Clark Flintstones Mansion

File this one under “Things I Did Not Know About Dick Clark.” Apparently, he owns a one-bedroom Flintstones-inspired home in Malibu, and the LA Times reports that he’s selling it for $3.5 million, though the asking price doesn’t reflect the value of the home so much as it does the 23-acre plot of land it sits on. If you’re curious, here’s the full home tour in all its stone-age goodness.

Dick Clark Flintstones Mansion

(via Laughing Squid)

“Lorax” diapers

If you’re gonna crap all over The Lorax, you might need this:

The Lorax became the number #1 movie in the country last weekend, and part of that success was establishing merchandising tie-ins with numerous licensees. But here’s one even last year’s Winnie The Pooh (a more appropriate match) didn’t think of. Apparently the 7th Generation company is selling all sorts of eco-friendly Lorax products including these “Lorax-approved” baby diapers. For those Seuss collectors who have to have everything, you better hurry: they are a limited edition – and yeah, images of the little orange Danny DeVito voiced creature are printed on the tab fastener of the diaper.

(Thanks, Jeffery McAndrew)

Los Angeles Animation Festival starts tonight

Starting tonight is the 2012 Los Angeles Animation Festival at the Showcase Theatre in Hollywood (near the corner of La Brea and Melrose). This evening at 7:30pm is a FREE Opening Night Party with MC Tom Kenny who will introduce special guests, clips and trailers of the films to be screened.

The complete schedule of events is posted here but highlights include Sean Lennon introducing a screening of AKIRA on Thursday night; Brad Bird introducing THE IRON GIANT along with several artists and voice actors from the film on Friday night; the West Coast premiere of A MONSTER IN PARIS on Saturday night; and vintage Cal Arts student films by Lasseter, Hillenberg, Selick, Tartakovsky and McCracken on Sunday. I myself will be co-presenting an ASIFA screening of a 35mm Technicolor print of Fleischer’s Gulliver’s Travels (1939), on Saturday at 5:30pm.

The theatre is located at 614 N. LaBrea Ave. and parking will be difficult – but the tickets are relatively cheap and the shows are terrific. For more info click here. See you there!

Disney XD’s Marvel Universe Block Launches April 1st

The epic storytelling of Marvel — full of action, adventure and humor, along with complex, courageous and aspirational characters — will be introduced to a new generation of kids and families through a dedicated programming block, Marvel Universe, premiering SUNDAY, APRIL 1 on Disney XD. The new series, Ultimate Spider-Man, is written and guided by the most star-studded creative team in Super Hero television history, including some of the most influential names in comic books and pop culture. The programming block will also feature the second season of The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, and new short-form series that take viewers behind the scenes to meet the creative teams and explore the many facets of the Marvel Universe.

“The Disney XD audience will be thrilled by the excitement and energy of the newest Marvel series. Our dedicated block showcases the relatable characters that have sparked the imaginations of so many people, young and old. The Marvel Universe block’s new short-form programs are made with our audience in mind, and are designed to further explore the world of Marvel for fans of all ages. From learning how to draw Marvel heroes, to seeing the real science behind the heroes’ cool gadgets, devoted Marvel fans and new fans alike will find the block to be a great destination,” said David Levine, Vice President and General Manager, Disney XD.

“The Marvel Universe, which is exploding in theaters, comic books, games and online, bursts onto your TV with the top talent in comics and animation, and the premiere titles Spider-Man and The Avengers! We are bringing the fun, action and adventure known to Marvel fans and families alike. In addition, the never-before-seen animated and live action shorts round out your Sunday morning of can’t miss shows in the Mighty Marvel Manner!” exclaimed Jeph Loeb, Marvel’s Head of TV.

Stan Lee, co-creator of Spider-Man (who also provides the voice of Stan the Janitor in Ultimate Spider-Man) said, “It’s a thrill to see that the highest standards in story telling are so perfectly exemplified by Spider-Man leaping from the pages of the comic book onto the screen to be enjoyed by a new generation.”

The amazing team made up of Marvel’s Chief Creative Officer, Joe Quesada, and Marvel’s Head of Television, Jeph Loeb, Supervising Producers/Writers Man of Action (Joe Kelly, Joe Casey, Steven T. Seagle & Duncan Rouleau), Creative Consultant/Writer Paul Dini (Batman: The Animated Series, Lost), and Consulting Producer/Writer Brian Michael Bendis (Marvel’s Ultimate Comics Spider-Man comic series), Ultimate Spider-Man marks firsts for one of Marvel’s most popular characters the world over. In the storyline, a teenage Peter Parker (voiced by actor Drake Bell) juggles the relatable challenges of high school with the extraordinary challenges of being a Super Hero. Nick Fury (voiced by actor Chi McBride) invites Parker to train with his S.H.I.E.L.D. organization, where Peter’s alter-ego, Spider-Man, will join forces with four other teenage Super Heroes – Nova, White Tiger, Power Man and Iron Fist, on the greatest action and adventure ever as they work to become Ultimate Super Heroes!

The premiere episode (11:00 a.m., EST/PST) is entitled “Great Power,” and the second episode is “Great Responsibility” (11:30 a.m., EST). The premiere episodes will be available on DisneyXD.com and Comcast platforms via VOD and XfinityTV.com directly following the Sunday, April 1 premiere on Disney XD. On April 2, they will be available on Disney XD Mobile VOD available via AT&T, MetroPCS, MobiTV, Sprint and Verizon; along with iTunes, Xbox Live and Sony Playstation.

Rounding out the Marvel Universe block are exciting new short-form series including (the last three series are hosted by Radio Disney’s Morgan Tompkins):

-Fury Files – Top-secret access to S.H.I.E.L.D. video dossiers on key Marvel heroes, including Iron Fist, Power Man, Nova and White Tiger and the villains they face, are animated with mix of traditional animation and motion comic art.
-Marvel Mash-Up— The Marvel Universe is turned upside down with these hilarious and unexpected takes on iconic Marvel heroes and villains, featuring classic animation edited with a comedic twist.
-Animated Reality – Stunt and special effects experts showcase the epic moves of favorite Marvel Super Heroes including Captain America and Spider-Man.
-What Would It Take? — Get a glimpse into the science and modern technology required to create the heroes’ gadgets, abilities and tech in real life, ranging from Iron Man’s jet propulsion boots to Iron Fist’s power-packed punch.
-Master Class – Marvel’s Chief Creative Officer, Joe Quesada, explains the artistic vision behind Marvel’s greatest Super Heroes and shows how artists bring them to life.

Qubo Channel Launches New Slate of Children’s Programming for Upcoming 2012-2013 Season

NEW YORK, Mar 6, 2012 (GlobeNewswire via COMTEX) — On the heels of celebrating the fifth anniversary of its commitment to children and families, Qubo Channel today announced the launch of 16 new animated and live action series that will join the network starting this quarter. The acquisition of over 400 new program half-hours will kick-off with the premieres of Timeblazers and Dex Hamilton: Alien Entomologist. Qubo will thereafter continue to add a variety of entertaining programming to its family-friendly lineup throughout the course of 2012 and 2013.

Highlighting the announcement is the addition of Artzooka, a series blending live action and animation to show kids new ways to create their own masterpieces, as well as Jakers, Sandra, the Fairytale Detective and Timothy Goes to School. Qubo also introduces Guess with Jess, Harry and his Bucket Full of Dinosaurs and Where on Earth is Carmen Sandiego this spring, followed by the summer launches of Animal Atlas and Taste Buds. Qubo rounds out this year’s additions in the fall with Eliot Kid, Liberty’s Kids, Archie’s Weird Mysteries, Sherlock Holmes in the 22nd Century and Culture Click.

“We are pleased to renew our commitment to our loyal audience by continuing to provide quality educational programs that are both fun and entertaining,” said Marc Zand, EVP, Content Acquisitions and Digital Networks, ION Media Networks. “Our addition of over 200 new content hours will offer a compelling program lineup that combines beloved family favorites, classic animation and the U.S. premieres of some of the highest quality kids programming in the world.”

Disney XD Greenlights “Randy Cunningham: Ninth Grade Ninja”

Disney EMEA today announced that it has started production in Ireland, on a new action-packed animated comedy, Randy Cunningham: Ninth Grade Ninja. Set to premiere on Disney XD from autumn 2012 and air in more than 129 countries worldwide, the series follows the fast-paced adventures of unlikely hero Randy Cunningham who, armed with his magic demon fibre suit, the teachings of the ‘Ninja-ing’ (an 800 year old Ninja guide for dummies) and his best buddy, finds himself as the one thing protecting his school and the world from certain destruction!

Disney’s London based production hub has commissioned BAFTA award-winning animation company Boulder Media in Ireland and Titmouse Inc in Los Angeles, USA to produce the animated 52 x 11 minute series for Disney XD. Dublin-based Boulder Media is handling the series from animation through to post-production and has already hired 50 additional artists and animators to work on the project for its two year duration. Emmy Award winning studio Titmouse Inc based in LA, USA is leading the pre-production creative for the series.

Each eleven minute episode follows Randy Cunningham and his best buddy Howard as they navigate everyday teenage life at High School while taking on monsters and madmen bent on freeing an evil 800 year old Sorcerer imprisoned beneath Norrisville High by the original ninja and guarded ever since by Randy’s predecessors.

Randy Cunningham: Ninth Grade Ninja stars Emmy Award-winning comedian and writer Ben Schwartz (Parks & Recreation, House of Lies, Everybody’s Fine) as the voice talent for Randy Cunningham; the voice of Tim Curry (The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Spamalot, Charlie’s Angels) as the evil Sorcerer; Megan Mullaly (Will & Grace, Parks & Recreation) as Mrs Driscoll, Randy’s science teacher; Emmy award-winning John Oliver (Smurfs, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart) as Coach Green and Andrew Caldwell (Transformers, My Name is Earl) as Howard. John DiMaggio (Futurama, Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Chowder) is McFist and Kevin Michael Richardson (Static Shock, Justice League, Powerpuff Girls) is Viceroy. The series is created and executive produced by Jed Elinoff and Scott Thomas whose previous credits include Scooby Doo and Paris Hilton’s My New BFF ; Emmy and Annie award-winning Shaun Cashman (Director: The Penguins of Madagascar, Chowder) is Supervising Director and Otto Tang (Metalocalypse) is Art Director. Guest voice talent includes: Andy Dick, Bobcat Goldthwait, John Weatherspoon, Andy Richter and Sterling Knight.

Tricia Wilber, Chief Marketing Officer, The Walt Disney Company, EMEA & General Manager, Disney Channels EMEAcomments, “Randy Cunningham: Ninth Grade Ninja is our most global production yet. Driven by the team here in London, the series draws on talent from both sides of the Atlantic to help create a world class show. We are thrilled to be working with the outstanding teams at Boulder in Ireland and Titmouse in LA on this project.”

Marc Buhaj Senior Vice President, Original Programming, Disney Channels, EMEAsaid: “Randy Cunningham: Ninth Grade Ninja is one of an exciting new wave of global Disney XD series. This animated project combines a unique mix of full-on buddy comedy with awesome ninja action and is set to explode into the hearts and minds of Disney XD viewers around the world.”

Producer Anne Tweedy, Boulder Media adds, “We have recruited some of the best animators, BG artists and compositors from Finland, Italy, Poland, Denmark, England, Scotland, Spain and Portugal, though the majority of the crew is Irish. We are fortunate to have a highly skilled core crew and we have found the additional crew is adding to our company’s strength in creativity and production.”

Created in May 2007, Disney’s London based production hub drives the investment in and development of animation and live action content outside North America, for both European and global distribution. It has already achieved great success with series such as Jungle Junction (Disney Junior) and Rated A for Awesome (Disney XD) and has recently announced new animated productions for Disney Junior – Winnie The Pooh’s Tales of Friendship and The Happy Hugglemonsters.

Randy Cunningham: Ninth Grade Ninja will be broadcast on Disney XD globally from autumn 2012.

Robert B. Sherman (1925-2012)

Robert B. Sherman, the elder half of the songwriting duo aka The Sherman Brothers passed away yesterday in London. He was 86.

Robert (above left) with his brother Richard (center) were Walt Disney’s favorite song composers of the 1960s. Some of their classic songs include Chim Chim Cher-ee (the Oscar winner from Mary Poppins), The Tiki Tiki Tiki Room, The Ugly Bug Ball, The Wonderful World of Color, I Wan’na Be Like You, There’s a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow, It’s A Small World …and hundreds of others.

Robert and Richard began their songwriting career on a dare from their hit-song writing dad, Al Sherman (You Gotta Be a Football Hero), and sold their first song in 1951 to Gene Autry. Among their early hits were You’re Sixteen (for Johnny Burnette and later Ringo Starr) and Tall Paul (for Annette). After their time at Disney, the duo wrote songs for various animated features including Disney’s The Aristocats, Hanna-Barbera’s Charlottes Web, Snoopy Come Home, Little Nemo, The Mighty Kong, and not to mention the live action Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. I’m leaving so many things out. If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend the 2009 Sherman Brothers documentary, directed by their sons, The Boys.

They wrote many incedental bits and theme songs – all of them memorable. I’m particularly fond of the title sequences in The Mis-Adventures of Merlin Jones and The Monkey’s Uncle. Since this is an animation blog, we’ll leave you with this one, with cut-out animation by Bill Justice and X. Atencio:

Please share your favorite Sherman Bros. songs in the comments.

Bubble Gum Interative To Create “Little Space Heroes” Short-Form Cartoons

Independent children’s entertainment developer Bubble Gum Interactive has announced that production has commenced on a series of short-form cartoons based on its popular Little Space Heroes virtual universe. The virtual universe is a family-friendly online game for kids worldwide and can be played for free at www.littlespaceheroes.com.

The cartoons introduce viewers to the back story of Little Space Heroes, before kids from the internet are asked to join as Space Hero Cadets. In the prelude, Ace, Professor Q, Gizmo the robot and friends embark on an intergalactic adventure to rescue the glows (small creatures with big powers!). Together, they pit themselves against the ‘I-wish-I-was-more-evil’ Lord Shadowbot and his long suffering sidekicks who plan to steal all the glows and bring darkness to the galaxy.

“We are super excited to be able to produce the backstory,” said Executive Producer Phillip Mason, Bubble Gum Interactive “It provides a great opportunity to give our audience insights into why they are out their training as Space Heroes and searching for the villainous Lord Shadowbot. Being able to build on the story and sense of jeopardy using cartoons as a medium is awesome, and hopefully kids everywhere will work even harder to find Shadowbot and rescue the glows as fast as they can!”

The cartoons will be made available for mobile devices, online and traditional TV broadcast. In addition to a strong in-house team of storytellers, Bubble Gum Interactive has announced the involvement of two Australian television industry stalwarts to help drive the development of a Little Space Heroes cartoon series.

Graham Cousens, former Creative Director for Disney Channel has strapped on his space boots and signed on for adventure as Executive Producer for the cartoon series. With more than fifteen years TV experience, Graham brings deep insight and invaluable expertise in storytelling and production for children’s TV.

Internationally acclaimed children’s television scriptwriter Robert Greenberg has also joined the team to co-write the series. Robert has written episodes of Australia’s most popular children’s television series Round the Twist as well as writing cut scenes for Nickelodeon’s Globs of Doom and Attack of the Toybots featuring Spongebob Squarepants.

The Little Space Heroes virtual universe has received funding support from Screen Australia, the Commonwealth Government screen agency providing support to Australian film television, documentary and digital media makers.

“Screen Australia are thrilled with the warm response to the game”, said Mike Cowap, Investment Manager, Screen Australia. “The appetite for more storytelling from the Little Space Heroes world is testament to the richness and creative depth of the property, and the addition of these experienced individuals to the team will see the potential done justice.”

“The entire team is really excited to be developing the cartoons.” said Paul Gray, Community Director, Bubble Gum Interactive “We’re all passionate storytellers and artists and it’s truly inspiring to see the characters from our virtual world come to life. Our fan base is already asking when they’ll see the adventures of the Little Space Heroes on screens around the world — the answer is, pretty soon!”

Cartoon Network Celebrates Ben 10 Week March 19-24, 2012; “Destroy All Aliens” Premieres March 23

Ben 10, the ultimate teen superhero and global superstar, takes over Cartoon Network with an entire week of on-air and online content beginning Monday, March 19. All week long, fans can start their day with special episodes from every Ben 10 series airing each morning at 6:30 a.m. (ET, PT) then catch their favorite episodes of Ben 10: Ultimate Alien at 4 p.m. (ET, PT). In addition, CartoonNetwork.com launches the next Ben 10 Game, The Mystery of the Mayan Sword. All this leads up to the U.S. television premiere of the all-new CGI movie, Ben 10: Destroy All Aliens on Friday, March 23 at 7 p.m. (ET, PT). Following the movie, which will also premiere on Cartoon Network around the world throughout the spring, Ben 10 fans will get their first-ever look at the much anticipated brand-new series, Ben 10: Omniverse, premiering later this year on Cartoon Network.

Ben 10: Destroy All Aliens turns the clock back to 10-year-old Ben Tennyson, fresh off his heroic summer vacation with the Omnitrix, as he struggles with detention, homework, and being grounded by his parents. Desperate times call for desperate measures as Ben jumps at the chance to escape from it all and into the Total Alien Immersion training program on the far side of the galaxy. But before he can even leave Earth’s orbit, Ben’s ship is attacked and he is sent crashing back to Earth stuck in his alien forms and battling a very hostile Mecamorph warrior.

Ben 10: Destroy All Aliens is a trans-Pacific collaboration between Cartoon Network Asia and Cartoon Network Studios U.S and is written by Marty Isenberg (Ben 10, Transformers Animated, G.I. Joe Renegades) directed by Victor Cook (The Spectacular Spider-Man, Scooby-Doo Mystery Incorporated) and executive produced by Silas Hickey, Regional Creative Director of Turner Broadcasting System Asia Pacific, Inc. The movie features the original voice actors from the Ben 10 animated series.

CartoonNetwork.com introduces a new Ben 10 Game, The Mystery of the Mayan Sword, on Monday, March 19. In this free-to-play online game, players strap on the Omnitrix to help Ben, Gwen and Grandpa Max retrieve the ultimate weapon. The Forever Knights are on a mission to uncover the planet’s most dangerous weapon, the El Chuah Sword, and it is up to Ben, Gwen and Grandpa Max to stop them from reaching it. Players search for clues, solve puzzles, and explore four epic levels to prevent the Forever Knights from attaining this weapon of mass destruction. Along the way, they can also transform into favorite aliens like Grey Matter, Stinkfly, and Four Arms.

The first half of the two-part series finale of Ben 10: Ultimate Alien premiere Saturday, March 24 at 9 a.m. (ET, PT). In “The Ultimate Enemy, Pt. 1,” the return of an old foe means Dagon is getting closer and closer to entering our dimension. Ben 10: Ultimate Alien reaches its dramatic conclusion on Saturday, March 31 at 9 a.m. (ET, PT) in “The Ultimate Enemy, Pt. 2,” when Vilgax re-emerges in his most powerful form ever. Will Ben be able to stop him?

“Community” Cast Gets Animated for NBC.com and Hulu

CULVER CITY, Calif., March 3, 2012/PRNewswire/ — The cast of Community is getting animated in new short form programming that is set to debut Wednesday, March 7 on the free, ad-supported Hulu; the Hulu Plus subscription service and NBC.com, with new shorts appearing on consecutive days. The three promotional shorts, titled Abed’s Master Key parts I, II & III, feature the animated alter-egos and voices of the Community series regulars and run approximately two minutes in length. Dave Seger (Ikea Heights) & Tom Kauffman (Ikea Heights) wrote the animated shorts.

In the three-part sequence of Abed’s Master Key, Dean Pelton hires Abed as his temporary assistant. Entrusted with a Greendale Master Key, Abed abuses his power to help his friends, and after Britta confronts Abed, she heads down the same dark path.

“These animated shorts are a vital component to our multi-pronged campaign aimed at driving awareness to the show’s return to NBC on March 15,” said Chris Van Amburg, senior vice president of U.S. marketing, Sony Pictures Television. “The Community actors and team were eager to lend their voices and support to an effort intended to engage their loyal fan base that has rabidly kept the show thriving via flash mobs, fan art, viral videos, dedicated fan sites and on Facebook and Twitter.”

On Thursday, March 15 at 8/7c, Community returns to the NBC lineup with the episode, “Urban Matrimony and the Sandwich Arts,” in which Andre (Malcolm Jamaal Warner) and Shirley (Yvette Nicole Brown) plan to remarry, throwing Annie and Britta into wedding-planning mode. Jeff, meanwhile, prepares a speech while Troy and Abed practice acting normal. Elsewhere, Pierce and Shirley present a sandwich-shop proposal to Dean Pelton.

Cartoon Network’s Stu Snyder to Deliver Kid’s Animation Keynote at Banff World Media Festival

Toronto, Canada — March 5, 2012 — The Banff World Media Festival today proudly announced that Stuart Snyder, President and Chief Operating Officer of Turner Broadcasting System, Inc.’s (TBS, Inc.) Animation, Young Adults & Kids Media (AYAKM) Division, will deliver the Kids and Animation Keynote at this year’s Festival in June. Known as the leading force behind the cable television networks Cartoon Network, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, Boomerang and Adult Swim, Snyder will deliver his Keynote address on Tuesday, June 12, 2012, including an interview led by Len Cochrane, President of TELETOON Canada, Inc.

“Stuart Snyder joining us to deliver the Kids and Animation Keynote is a source of great pride for our program this year,” said Ferne Cohen, Executive Director of the Banff World Media Festival. “We are thrilled to give our delegates the opportunity to hear directly from Mr. Snyder, who is truly a leader and innovator in the kids and animation industries.”

TBS and TELETOON recently announced a deal will allow TELETOON to launch the Cartoon Network and Adult Swim brands in Canada in both standard and high definition across linear television, Video on Demand, broadband and mobile platforms.

Snyder’s robust career spans decades in entertainment, and encompasses years of managing a portfolio of cable networks, digital properties and entertainment businesses for kids and young adults. “I’m honored to have the opportunity to present the Kids and Animation Keynote at this year’s BANFF Festival,” said Snyder. “I am looking forward to connecting with my fellow colleagues from around the world to discuss our industry on a global scale and celebrate the launch of the Cartoon Network brand in Canada.”

BANFF Kids & Animation delivers insights into up-to-the-minute programming trends, the hottest emerging markets, and the latest multi-platform and interactive strategies in the kids’ and animation industries.

Cuppa Coffees Studios To Do Stop-Motion Series “F’n Osbournes”

Heavy metal legend Ozzy Osbourne and his family are returning to TV screens, voicing stop-motion animated versions of themselves in a new comedy sitcom, produced by Cuppa Coffee Studios.

Canada’s Cuppa Coffee Studios is producing the 16+ series, titled The F’n Osbournes. The Toronto-based toon house will be looking to secure financing sales for the series at MipTV in April.

“Teaming up with Cuppa Coffee has spawned a great opportunity to produce a unique animated prime-time show. I’ve been excited about animating our often crazy lives for a while now,” said executive producer Sharon Osbourne.

Jack Osbourne, who will also executive produce the show alongside his mother, promised the show would be “a radical and humorous new spin on our family.” Both Osbournes are involved in developing the show’s scripts.

Adam Shaheen, founder of Cuppa Coffee, and the show’s creator and Co- Exec said: “Although it is animation, it’s certainly not one for little kids, bearing in mind the family that are at the root of it.”

The 20 episode series is unrelated to the MTV fly-on-the-wall reality show The Osbournes, which shot the Black Sabbath front man’s family into the public eye when it aired between 2002 and 2005.

Cuppa Coffee’s previous credits include Nick at Nite’s Glenn Martin DDS, Celebrity Death Match for MTV, Teletoon’s Life’s a Zoo, and comedy Ugly Americans, for Comedy Central.

BOX OFFICE REPORT: “The Lorax” is a Hit

Lorax

Illumination Entertainment’s The Lorax exceeded expectations and debuted in first place with a stunning $70.2 million last weekend. That places it in eighth place for all-time biggest openings for an animated film, and fourth-best for a non-sequel animated film. The success of the film validates the producer-driven approach to animated filmmaking taken by Illumination head Chris Meledandri, who exercises tight control over the casting, writing and creative direction of his films. It’s a page straight of Jeffrey Katzenberg’s DreamWorks playbook and, for better or worse, Meledandri is proving that it can work for producers without the initials JK.

Meanwhile, in its third weekend, Studio Ghibli’s The Secret World of Arrietty grabbed $1.5 million from 1,431 US theaters. The film landed in 14th place, but had the lowest per-theater average of any film in the top 20. Its US total now stands at $16.8 million.