You could argue that it was an animated series, “The Simpsons,” which brought the upstart network Fox to the attention of viewers decades ago. Animation has remained a key component of the network – and now it is expanding to create a new unit to create animated content for adult viewers.
The new unit announced by Kevin Reilly, President of Fox Entertainment, will oversee the development and production of alternative animated series, shorts and user-adapted material for a brand new late-night animated programming block and new digital multi-platform network.
To run the new unit, Fox has inked an exclusive deal with Nick Weidenfeld, former head of program development for Adult Swim and executive producer of acclaimed series “Childrens Hospital” and “The Boondocks.” Fox has also tapped producer Hend Baghdady – known for “Warren The Ape” and “The Andy Milonakis Show” – as the executive in charge of production for the new division.
Plans call for the new unit will to develop and produce an ambitious slate of original animated shorts and series to run both on-air and online. The late-night programming block will air Saturdays (11:00 pm to 12:30 am ET/PT) on Fox and will feature four new animated series per season starting in January 2013.
The digital channel will extend across platforms such as Web, mobile apps, game consoles and Video on Demand. It kicks off in 2012 and will feature 50 original short-form pieces per year, online windows of Fox animated shows, and user-adapted content. It will give fans and up-and-coming talent the opportunity to engage with professional Fox-curated content, which they could possibly platform into their own series. Fox said it will also use its expertise and cross-promotional power to nurture these new assets through this pipeline.
“This may be the first time a network is building a clear bridge for talent to develop and grow ideas in the digital/alternative arena and organically move them into the mainstream,” said Reilly. “These new late-night series will be assets in their own right – but the clear possibility exists for a breakout digital success to graduate to primetime.”
RBR-TVBR observation: Bravo! Some out of the box thinking going on there. This could be interesting. And before the PTC gets its nose out of joint – please note the time slot. These cartoons will not be for kids.