String of deals closed for hit animations Riley Rocket and The Game Catchers
Sphere Media Kids and Family, a division of Sphere Media, one of Canada’s leading producers and distributors of television and film content, has been commissioned by TVOkids to produce a STEM-learning live-action series for nine- to 12-year-olds.
Project Rube (11 x 26 mins), ordered by TVOkids commissioning editor Kirsten Hurd, is presented by designer, maker, fixer, inventor and content creator Morley Kert, who has built up a strong online following for his YouTube videos about “making stuff” using limited tools, space and resources. In the new unscripted series, Kert and a team of tweens will embark on a series of ingenious, engineering-based experiments inspired by eccentric US cartoonist and inventor Rube Goldberg. Goldberg was the best known for his chain reaction-type machines and contraptions, which were intentionally designed to make simple tasks as outlandishly complicated as possible.
Project Rube will be executive produced by Marlo Miazga, President of Sphere Media Kids and Family, which was created in April to bring Sphere Media’s English-language children’s factual, scripted and animation units under one banner. Also serving as Executive Producers for Sphere Media Kids and Family will be Andrea Griffith, Vice-President of Content and Development, Kim Bondi, Senior Vice-President of Development, Corinna Lehr, Vice-President of Production and Bruno Dubé, Sphere’s CEO. The series producer is Chloe Gray.
Meanwhile, another TVOkids Original show, Riley Rocket (30 x 11 mins), has been sold to ITVX in the UK and to ABC Kids in Australia. The music-based animated series, which premieres on TVOkids on October 21, is an original creation from award-winning composers and producers Matthew Gerrard and Mladen Alexander of Mojumbi Entertainment. The action centres on Riley and her friends Alex and Theo who, in between performing in their band, morph into superheroes to save their hometown from disaster. Abacus Media Rights manages the international sales for the series.
Finally, Milan-based Studio Bozzetto has entered into a co-production agreement with Sphere Media where Banijay Kids & Family Distribution, (part of Banijay Kids & Family) has recently acquired the rights to The Game Catchers. The first season of the animated series, which follows five friends on an interstellar exploration of fantastic planets, launched internationally last year. A second season of The Game Catchers has now been ordered by commissioning broadcasters RAI Kids, TVOkids and ICI Radio-Canada Télé, Knowledge Network and is already in production.
Marlo Miazga said: “The Kids and Family unit launched earlier this year, not only to create a more productive and efficient working environment but also to turbocharge Sphere’s creativity by combining our production and distribution power. This new TVOkids commission for a dynamic live-action show and original format, as well as a string of sales to premium broadcasters for Riley Rocket and The Game Catchers, show that we are well on the way to achieving our ambition — to rival the best players on the global market for children’s and family entertainment.”
Kirsten Hurd said: “The TVOkids community loves fun opportunities to learn. These series will encourage children to engage with their creativity, their curiosity and will inspire a deeper appreciation of STEM skills. We’re thrilled to build on our relationship with Sphere Media and add to the diversity of projects we commission.”