A round-up of animated series that have been announced for development, production, or distribution.
Disney-20th Century Fox TV: Gerald’s World
Inspired by DJ/actor/record producer Dillon Francis’ social media posts with a donkey piñata, a new Disney animated series is in the works at 20th Century Fox TV. The series, tentatively titled Gerald’s World, will focus on Gerald the piñata, an inanimate character made of cardboard and paper that acts as Francis’ sidekick in his videos.
Writer Spencer Porter (Family Guy, We Bare Bears) will pen the show and serve as co-creator/executive producer alongside Francis. McG and Mary Viola will produce through the prodco Wonderland Sound and Vision, while Corey Marsh is also a producer.
The project is in development at Walt Disney Company-owned 20th Century Fox Television. The news about the series was first reported by Deadline.
Netflix: Mama K’s Team 4, Inside Job
Bringing African stories into its animated slate, Netflix has announced its first original series created in the continent by African talent: Mama K’s Team 4. The adventure show is produced by Cape Town-based Triggerfish Animation Studios and London’s Cake Entertainment; the two companies partnered on the project back in 2017.
Set in a neo-futuristic version of Lusaka, Zambia, Mama K’s Team 4 follows four teenage girls who are recruited by a retired secret agent still committed to saving the world. The series is created by Zambian writer Malenga Mulendema, who was a winner in the pan-African talent search initiative Triggerfish Story Lab in 2015. Taking visual references from retro-’90s R&B and hip hop girl groups, Cameroonian artist Malcolm Wope serves as designer.
Netflix is working with Triggerfish and Cake to recruit African female writing talent to infuse the stories in this women-driven show with more authentic voices. Writers who are interested in applying can learn more at Triggerfish’s website.
“In creating a superhero show set in Lusaka, I hope to introduce the world to four strong African girls who save the day in their own fun and crazy way,” Mulendema said in a statement. “Most importantly, I want to illustrate that anyone from anywhere can be a superhero.”
Added Melissa Cobb, vice president of original animation at Netflix, “Mama K’s Team 4 has the potential to give a whole new generation of African children the opportunity to see themselves on-screen in the powerful, aspirational characters they look up to.”
In a separate announcement, Netflix is expanding its adult animation line-up with a 20-episode order for Inside Job from Shion Takeuchi (Gravity Falls, Regular Show, Disenchantment, Inside Out) who will act as showrunner and executive producer. This will mark the first project as part of Takeuchi’s multi-year overall deal with the streaming company. Alex Hirsch, Gravity Falls creator, is co-executive producing the show.
Netflix describes the project as a “workplace comedy set in the shadow government, where every conspiracy theory — from the Illuminati to Reptoids — is true, and one woman struggles to keep the chaos under wraps.” The series will be produced at Netflix Animation in Hollywood, the company’s new studio that opened its doors in 2018 and where many of their animated productions are being created.
“Shion represents the next generation of animation creators at Netflix and we are truly honored to be working with her on Inside Job,” said Mike Moon, head of the adult animation division at Netflix. “We can’t wait for adult animation fans around the world to fall in love with her singular brand of comedy and characters.”