BET Inks Animation Pact With Film Roman Studios
Animation Division Announces Major Partnerships with Creators of 'The
Simpsons' and Milestone Media's Dwayne McDuffie to Develop Originals for
LOS ANGELES, Aug. 15 -- BET's newly-established animation
division announces two new major deals in the world of animation. BET has
partnered with Film Roman, the award-winning animation studio behind
primetime hits "The Simpsons" and "King of the Hill," to produce a slate of
animated films and multi-platform series. In addition, BET is re-uniting
Denys Cowan, BET Senior Vice President of Animation and his former creative
partner, Milestone Media co-founder Dwayne McDuffie -- the creative minds
behind Static Shock, the WB's top-rated Saturday morning cartoon and
top-selling comic series -- to create a new action adventure series. The
announcements were made today by Reginald Hudlin, BET President of
Entertainment and Cowan.
Through its pact with Film Roman, an IDT Entertainment Company, BET
plans to produce a slate of animated films, series and multi-platform
content for Internet, broadband and mobile applications. In addition, the
companies plan to jointly develop and produce direct-to-DVD and theatrical
releases. The terms of the three-year, non-exclusive deal also include
international distribution outside of the BET Network.
This is BET animation's second major announcement, coming on the heels
of the recent Hannibal the Conqueror series development deal with film star
Vin Diesel and One Race Productions. In expanding the BET brand to
animation, Hudlin is building upon a first-year success which has already
generated some of the network's best ratings and critical acclaim in BET's
26-year history. He believes these new relationships in the world of
animation will further fuel his growth strategy, and says viewers will
begin to see animation on the channel this year by fourth quarter.
"If Black America is a cultural superpower, then there's no better
medium to express the full range of our collective imagination than
animation," said Hudlin. "There will be shorts that will air throughout our
programming schedule as well as online content. Hopefully, by fall of next
year, we'll begin to launch our animated series."
Sidney Clifton, Executive Vice President of Creative, Programming &
Production for Film Roman, echoed Hudlin's enthusiasm about the
partnership. "We are very excited at the opportunity to use animation to
provide our audience with strong storytelling illustrating the full
breadth, depth, and texture of the Black creative consciousness," stated
In addition to the Film Roman partnership, BET has inked an agreement
to develop a new original adult action/adventure animated series with
Dwayne McDuffie, co-creator (with BET's Denys Cowan) of the Emmy Award and
Humanitas Prize winning cartoon, Static Shock. Cowan and McDuffie were
co-founders of Milestone Media, Inc., the most successful Black-owned comic
book company in history. McDuffie is also a producer and story editor on
Cartoon Network's Justice League, Editor-In-Chief of Milestone Media's
award-winning line of comic books, and has worked as an editor for Marvel
Comics and Harvey Entertainment. As head of BET Animation, Cowan will
oversee the development of all new projects and work closely with McDuffie.
"Cowan and McDuffie are the Lennon & McCartney of the Black comic book
industry," says Hudlin. "They've produced several of the top animated
series on television. We're thrilled to have this 'dynamic duo' come
together again to develop a new franchise for BET."
As a writer, Dwayne has created or co-created more than a dozen series,
including Damage Control, Deathlok II, Icon, Xombi, The Road To Hell and
Hardware. He has written stories for dozens of other comics, including
Spider- Man, Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight, The Tick, Captain Marvel,
Avengers Spotlight, Back To The Future, Hellraiser, Ultraman, (The Artist
Formerly Known As) Prince and X-O Manowar.
"Black culture is youth culture. Where Black people go--pop culture
follows," stated Cowan. "At BET Animation, with our creative partnerships
and working with established superstars as well as young, hip creators, we
hope to be the leaders of the next revolution in animation."
ABOUT BET NETWORKS
BET Networks, a subsidiary of Viacom, Inc. (NYSE: VIA and VIA.B), is
the nation's leading provider of quality entertainment, music, news and
public affairs television programming for the African-American audience.
The primary BET channel reaches more than 80 million households according
to Nielsen media research, and can be seen in the United States, Canada and
the Caribbean. BET is the dominant African-American consumer brand with a
diverse group of businesses extensions: BET.com, the Number 1 Internet
portal for African Americans; BET Digital Networks -- BET J, BET Gospel and
BET Hip Hop, attractive alternatives for cutting-edge entertainment tastes;
BET Event Productions, a full-scale event management and production
company; BET Home Entertainment, a collection of BET-branded offerings for
the home environment including DVDs and video-on-demand; and BET Mobile, a
service venture into the lucrative world of ring tones, games and video
content for wireless devices.
IDT Corporation (NYSE: IDT; IDT.C) through its IDT Telecom subsidiary,
is a facilities-based, multinational carrier that provides a broad range of
telecommunications services to retail and wholesale customers worldwide.
IDT Telecom, by means of its own international telecommunications backbone
and fiber optic network infrastructure, provides its customers with
integrated and competitively priced international and domestic long
distance and domestic all-distance telephony and prepaid calling cards. IDT
Capital is the IDT division principally responsible for the Company's
initiatives in brochure distribution, retail energy and new technologies.
Net2Phone, Inc., a subsidiary of IDT Corporation, is a provider of
high-quality global retail Voice over IP services and offers a fully
outsourced cable telephony service to cable operators allowing cable
operators to provide residential phone service to their subscribers.
Film Roman is the award winning independent animation company known for
the primetime television series "The Simpsons" and "King of The Hill," as
well as the popular Saturday morning series "X-Men: Evolution" and Sci-Fi
Channel's 3D series "Tripping the Rift." In addition to television, Film
Roman's animation division produces feature films, direct-to-DVDs,
commercials, and music videos. Through its visual effects division, the
studio also produces for television series such as "Law & Order" and
"Monk"; feature films such as "I, Robot" and "Daredevil"; and commercials
for Pepsi and Ricoh. Since its founding in 1984, the Company has won 19
Emmy awards, 13 Annies, 1 Grammy, and 1 MTV Video Music Award and delivered
several successful animated series to broadcasters worldwide. Film Roman is
an IDT Entertainment company.
On May 16th, Liberty Media Corporation and IDT Corporation announced
that they have entered into a binding term sheet for the sale of IDT
Entertainment to Liberty Media.
IDT Entertainment is a vertically integrated entertainment company that
develops, produces, and distributes proprietary and licensed entertainment
content. IDT Entertainment is a division of IDT Corporation, an
international telecom, entertainment and technology company.
SOURCE BET Networks