Tuzki the monochrome Chinese rabbit is getting his own tv series. Warnermedia, which owns the character, is partnering with Shenzhen-based Ciwen Media to produce the show.
Created in 2006 by then-21-year-old artist named Momo Wang, Tuzki swiftly spread across Chinese and Asian social networks — particularly Wechat — in the form of emojis. He’s now an iconic character across the region. The forthcoming series, a live action-cg hybrid, is billed as a “modern comedy-drama.” It is expected to be 24 episodes, and start production in early 2020.
This will mark Tuzki’s first appearance in long-form content, although he has featured in short films (see below). He’s also the subject of many advertising campaigns and licensing deals in China and elsewhere. In short, he’s a rare example of a Chinese brand thriving overseas.
Meanwhile, a theatrical cg feature starring the character — which was first announced back in 2016 — is still in development at Tencent Pictures. (Both Tencent Pictures and Wechat are owned by Tencent Holdings.)
“We’ve been ramping up our investment in local productions over recent months and are firmly committed to nurturing our homegrown Chinese IP,” said Clement Schwebig, managing director of Warnermedia Entertainment Networks, Southeast Asia, Pacific, and China. “Together with Ciwen Media, this project demonstrates this perfectly.”
Ma Zhongjun, the founder of Ciwen Media, added: “The most impressive creative projects are usually derived from real life. And with his witty charm, Tuzki is an accurate expression and reflection of modern lifestyle. In this series, we hope that this original Chinese IP will share joy and inspire the world as a symbol for the internet generation.”
Set up in 2000, Ciwen was one of the country’s first private tv production companies to receive a business license permitting it to produce tv series. It has since grown into an entertainment powerhouse that makes film, tv, games, and other content.