Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Nickelodeon To Co-Produce Brand New Animated Comedy Series Called "Blake And The Aliens" With French Production Group Marathon Media; To Air On Nickelodeon Channels Worldwide From Winter 2013

From The Hollywood Reporter:
France's Marathon Teams With Nickelodeon on 'Blake and the Aliens'

The creative team behind the animated comedy series includes veterans of "SpongeBob SquarePants" and "The Simpsons."

French production group Marathon Media has teamed with Nickelodeon and French kids TV network Gulli on a new animated comedy series, Blake and the Aliens (working title) which Nickelodeon will air in the United States.

The series will be a so-called "board-driven" cartoon similar to SpongeBob SquarePants. The plot involves the 13 year-old boy Blake, who one morning gets jumped by a trio of evil, alien squirrels. The squirrels have been sent from the future to undermine Blake's self-esteem, ensuring he does not grow up to become the superhero Captain Blake, defender of the universe and their sworn enemy.

Marathon and Nickelodeon have already begun production on Blake and the Aliens. The series' creative team includes executive producers Kaz Prapuolenis (SpongeBob SquarePants) and Antoine Guilbaud (Phineas & Ferb), writer Reid Harrison (The Simpsons) and director Eric Gosselet (Rekkit the Rabbit). Marathon executives David Michel and Vincent Chalvon-Demersay will produce Blake and the Aliens.

The 52 x 13 minute series is set to launch on Nickelodeon worldwide and on Gulli in France in winter 2013.

Marathon's parent company, Zodiak Kids, will handle all TV rights to Blake and the Aliens with Zodiak Kids CP Paris handling licensing and merchanding for the series.

The series will mark the first time Marathon, one of France's leading animation studios, will co-produce an animated series directly with a U.S. broadcaster.

"It's our first development partnership with a French producer around an acquired series,” said Jules Borkent, SVP of Global Acquisitions and International Programming for Nickelodeon. “This proven model enables us to deliver relevant content that resonates with our audiences worldwide and Blake and the Aliens will be a fantastic edition to this."

“This board-driven cartoon series with truly delirious characters is a first for Marathon Media,” said Marathon's Chalvon-Demersay and Michel in a statement. “We have a feeling this series might be just as exciting to produce as it will be to watch!"
Marathon, part of the Zodiak Media TV production conglomarate, has produced several internationally-successful cartoon series, including Totally Spies! - now entering its sixth season – Rekkit Rabbit, Monster Buster Club and Marsupilami.
Also, from Kidscreen:

Marathon partners with Nick on new animated comedy

Zodiak Kids' Marathon Media has begun production on new animated comedy series Blake and the Aliens (working title), which is being co-developed with Nickelodeon and French diginet Gulli.

The 52 x 13-minute series, expected to air on Nickelodeon worldwide and Gulli in winter 2013, is Marathon’s first series featuring storyboarded, gag-driven squash-and-stretch animation.

Blake and the Aliens follows the adventures of 13-year-old Blake who is forced to battle evil alien squirrels from the future who are trying to prevent him from becoming a future defender of the universe.

Antoine Guilbaud (Phineas & Ferb) and Kaz Prapuolenis (SpongeBob SquarePants, Underworld, Phineas & Ferb) are on board as executive producers along with writer Reid Harrison (Rekkit Rabbit, The Simpsons).

The project also marks Nickelodeon’s first development partnership with a French producer around an acquired series.

Tags: Antoine Guilbaud, Blake and the Aliens, Gulli France, Marathon Media, Nickelodeon
Also, from Variety:
Nickeloden believes in Zodiak's 'Aliens'

Net pre-buys toon for U.S., int'l prior to Mipcom

"Blake and the Aliens"

PARIS -- Zodiak Kids' Marathon Media, one of France's top purveyors of hit toon skeins, is upping the ante with its new project "Blake and the Aliens" (working title), collaborating with Nickelodeon from concept stage.
The animated series was pre-bought by Nickelodeon for the U.S. and international as well as Gallic kids' network Gulli in the run up to Cannes' Mipcom TV market, which kicks off Oct. 8.

Marathon Media general manager David Michel described "Blake" as "a comedy in the vein of the classic Tex Avery about a 12-year-old boy chased by alien squirels from the future."

Michel, who runs the shingle with Vincent Chalvon, said the toon is its first presale to a U.S. net. "We're learning so much from working directly with an American network and collaborating with the Nickelodeon team."

Nickelodeon has previously acquired a number of Marathon Media series, including season six of "Totally Spies."

"Over the past few years, as our global platforms have continued to expand, we have actively been pursuing co-development partnerships around pre-buy acquisitions," said Jules Borkent, Nickelodeon's senior VP of global acquisitions and international programming.

"Working with partners like Marathon Media, who have a strong global perspective and a great track record in kids content, is key to this model and 'Blake and the Aliens' is a good example where both of our creative teams will work together from concept through final production."

Toon is also Marathon Media's first board-driven animated series.

"Up until now we've only made script-driven shows," said Michel. "The board-driven model is effective for cartoons like 'SpongeBobSquarePants' or 'The Simpsons' but it's almost exclusively used in the U.S. because there are very few storyboard artists who can do it all: tell a story with images on top of supervising all the visual elements."

Marathon Media tapped storyboarders Kaz Prapuolenis and Antoine Guilbaud (both "Phineas and Ferb" alumns) to work on the English-language series, which comprises 52 11-minute episodes.

Marathon Media's portfolio of international toon franchises includes "Rekkit," "Redakai: Conquer the Kairu," "Monster Buster Club" and "Gormiti."