HBO Max Orders Adult-Animated ‘Harley Quinn’ Spinoff

HBO Max has ordered the 10-episode, adult-animated DC series  “Noonan’s” (working title).

The series, centered on Kite Man (voiced by Matt Oberg), is a spin-off of the Max Original adult-animated DC series “Harley Quinn,” which returns for its third season this summer.
 
In “Noonan’s,” lovable loser Kite Man and his new squeeze Golden Glider moonlight as criminals to support their foolish purchase of Noonan’s, Gotham’s seediest dive bar, where everybody knows your name, but not necessarily your secret identity. 

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“We love the wild and fun world of ‘Harley Quinn’ so much we just had to make a spinoff and who better to center it around than the outcast Kite Man,” Suzanna Makkos, EVP of original comedy and adult animation for HBO Max and Adult Swim, said in a statement. “Justin, Patrick and Dean have created the perfect local hangout for Gotham City’s not-so-finest at Noonan’s, where bar patrons can blow off steam after a long day of mayhem.”    

“‘Harley Quinn’ unlocked a world of hilarious possibilities with the iconic superheroes and supervillains of the DC Universe,” Peter Girardi, EVP, alternative programming, Warner Bros. Animation, said in a statement. “Exploring this world further with our partners at HBO Max and DC is going to be a lot of fun. Plus, after getting dumped by Poison Ivy, the least we could do was give Kite Man his own show.” 

The show is executive produced by Justin Halpern, Patrick Schumacker, Sam Register, Dean Lorey and Kaley Cuoco. Dean Lorey serves as showrunner. Based on the characters from DC, the series is produced by Delicious Non-Sequitur and Yes, Norman Productions in association with Warner Bros. Animation.

‘Ron’s Gone Wrong’ Animator DNEG Going Public

DNEG, the British animation company responsible for Disney/20th Century Studios’ theatrical release Ron’s Gone Wrong, is going public through a SPAC (special purpose acquisition company) deal with publicly traded Sports Ventures Acquisition Corp.

Upon closing of the transaction, which claims a $1.7 billion enterprise value, the combined company will be named DNEG, and it is expected that its common stock shares will be listed on the Nasdaq.  The combined company will be led by Namit Malhotra, DNEG’s chairman and CEO.

“This transaction creates long-term stability for our teams while also allowing us to exploit the tailwinds in the media and entertainment industry and the explosion in demand for content, which are huge growth drivers for our company,” Malhotra said in a statement.

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Following the release of its first animated feature, Ron’s Gone Wrong, which is now streaming on Disney+ and HBO Max, DNEG Animation’s latest animated adaptation involves comic strip character Garfield, the lasagna-eating feline.

The movie is written by David Reynolds (Finding Nemo), with Mark Dindal (Chicken LittleThe Emperor’s New Groove) directing, and with the Garfield character voiced by Chris Pratt (Guardians of the GalaxyJurassic World). The animated feature will be distributed by Sony Pictures.

DNEG has won six Academy Awards for Best Visual Effects and numerous BAFTA and Primetime EMMY Awards for its VFX work. Current and upcoming DNEG projects on behalf of its Hollywood and global studio and production company partners, include Uncharted (February 2022), Death on the Nile (February 2022), Moonfall (February 2022), Borderlands (2022), Stranger Things 4 (2022), Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom (2022), Knives Out 2 (2022), The Last of Us (2022), The Flash (2022) and Shazam! Fury of the Gods (2023).

Roku to Debut First Adult Animated Scripted Series, ‘Doomlands’

Roku on Jan. 20 announced it would launch its first adult animated series, “Doomlands,” on The Roku Channel Jan. 28. 

Series creator Josh O’Keefe’s university film project turned into a crowd-funded pilot and was later developed by Josh Bowen and Look Mom! Productions. The post-apocalyptic comedy follows two aspiring bartenders (voice actors Mark Little and Kayla Lorette) as they sling beers across a hellish wasteland in their mobile pub: The Oasis. Facing ruthless desert gangs, memory-stealing creeps, and even mean bathroom graffiti, all this crew’s got to do to survive is not kill each other.

The series will be available exclusively on The Roku Channel in the U.S., Canada, and the U.K. 

“‘Doomlands’ is an homage to Ozploitation and Sci-Fi cinema, and after many years in development, I’m so stoked for it to debut on The Roku Channel,” O’Keefe said in a statement.  

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Bowen, executive producer and managing director of Look Mom! Productions, said the series was produced almost entirely throughout the pandemic from his mom’s basement with the help of “her home cooked meals.”

“The final product is a testament to the resilience and adaptability of our team, and we’re so excited that it’s now a Roku Original,” he said. 

Colin Davis, head of original scripted programming at Roku, believes the series will make O’Keefe a household name in animation.

“What he’s created is clever, laugh-out-loud funny, and indisputably wild, all while grounding the show in excellent characters,” Davis said. “We feel so lucky to be the home to his brilliance.”  

Look Mom! Productions, a Blue Ant Media company, specializes in producing original animated content for teens and adults. The company’s philosophy focuses on a creator-driven approach and prioritizes a collaborative process to produce content. Its slate of programming includes Adult Swim Canada’s “Night Sweats,” VRV’s (USA) “Bigfoot,” and “Gary and His Demons” for Mondo Channel on VRV (USA), CBC Gem (Canada), Comedy Central (UK) and ABC Comedy (Australia). The company is also known for digital shorts such as “Don’t Feed the Humans,” “World Doctors,” and “Crack-Duck,” among others. 

Launched in 2017, The Roku Channel is the home of Roku Originals. From scripted entertainment and documentaries to new unscripted series, Roku Originals gives viewers free access to entertainment from the biggest names in Hollywood. Roku reported about 56.4 million monthly active U.S. users in its most-recent fiscal period.

Adult Animated Comedy ‘Ten Year Old Tom’ Streaming Sept. 30 on HBO Max

The Max Original adult animated comedy series “Ten Year Old Tom” will debut Sept. 30 on HBO Max.

The series is created and written by Steve Dildarian (“The Life & Times of Tim”), who will executive produce with TV animation veteran Nick Weidenfeld (“The Boondocks,” “Rick & Morty”). Dildarian plays the lead character Tom alongside a cast that includes Byron Bowers, Todd Glass, Gillian Jacobs, Edi Patterson and John Malkovich with guest appearances by David Duchovny, Jennifer Coolidge, Natasha Lyonne, Mark Proksch, Tim Robinson, George Wallace and more.

“Steve Dildarian is a tremendous talent and a wonderful collaborator,” Billy Wee, SVP of comedy and animation at HBO Max, said in a statement. “We can’t wait for comedy fans everywhere to experience the absurd brilliance of ‘Ten Year Old Tom.'”

“I wanted to write a show about a kid who’s trying to make sense of the world around him, but to do it in a way that doesn’t pull punches,” Dildarian said in a statement. “HBO Max is the perfect home for a show like that, and I’m so grateful for the opportunity.”

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“Ten Year Old Tom” follows the misadventures of an average kid as he contends with questionable guidance from the well-meaning grownups around him. Being a kid is hard enough for Tom, but when bad influences seem to lurk around every corner — from litigious parents and drug dealing bus drivers to school administrators who want to sleep with his mom — it’s downright impossible. While the adults in Tom’s life certainly mean well, they just can’t manage to lead by example.

HBO Max Orders Series ‘Adventure Time: Fionna & Cake’

HBO Max has given a series order to “Adventure Time: Fionna & Cake” (working title), a half-hour young adult animated series.

It stars the fearless sword-wielding adventurer Fionna and her magical best friend and talking cat Cake. Produced by Cartoon Network Studios, the 10-episode series will explore their relationship and the mysterious land of Ooo. Adam Muto (“Adventure Time,” “Adventure Time: Distant Lands” specials) will serve as showrunner and executive producer.

Fionna and Cake — with the help of the former Ice King, Simon Petrikov — embark on a multiverse-hopping adventure and journey of self-discovery. All the while a powerful new antagonist determined to track them down and erase them from existence, lurks in the shadows.

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“‘Adventure Time’ truly broke the mold and earned legions of passionate fans in the process,” Billy Wee, SVP of comedy and original animation at HBO Max, said in a statement. “We are thrilled to partner with our friends at Cartoon Network Studios to continue innovating and expanding the ‘Adventure Time’ universe with this world class team.”

“‘Adventure Time’ broke boundaries and was a shining example of how impactful animated storytelling can be,” Sam Register, president of Warner Bros. Animation and Cartoon Network Studios, said in a statement. “We are excited to partner with HBO Max to carry that tradition on to new heights, lands and magical worlds.”

The series represents the next chapter of the Emmy- and Peabody Award-winning “Adventure Time” franchise on HBO Max, following its four one-hour original specials “Adventure Time: Distant Lands.” The fourth and final special, “Wizard City,” is coming this Fall.

HBO Max Expands Slate of Adult Animation Series

HBO Max has ordered three new adult animated series and picked up two more seasons of the adult animated series “Close Enough.”

The new shows include a two-season order for “Clone High,” a modern refresh of the series from Phil Lord, Chris Miller and Bill Lawrence that was set at a high school for clones of historical figures; a 10-episode series order for Warner Bros. Animation’s “Velma,” a new comedic origin story starring the unsung and underappreciated brains of the Scooby-Doo Mystery Inc. gang’s Velma Dinkley, voiced by executive producer Mindy Kaling; and “Fired on Mars,” an existential workplace comedy set five minutes in the future, voiced by Pete Davidson (“Saturday Night Live”).

The streaming service has also ordered season two and three of the adult-animated comedy “Close Enough” from Cartoon Network Studios. Season two premieres Feb. 25.

Additionally, the streamer has a slate of animated originals currently in development. They include “Hello Paul,” from creator and musician Sean Solomon, about a neurotic millennial cat whose intense job and freeloading mouse roommate stress him out; “Obi,” an adaptation of Obi Arisukwu’s popular Instagram comic strip about a 30-year-old man-child chasing his dream to become an artist while navigating adulthood with his friends; “Uncanny Valley,” which tells the story of three awkward domestic helper robots who kill their human owners and try to assume their identities; and “Cover,” an adaptation of the DC comic book series.

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“It is a tremendous privilege to build on the 100 year plus legacy of ‘cartoons’ at this company,” Suzanna Makkos, EVP, original comedy and adult animation, HBO Max, said in a statement. “We can draw a straight line from our hundreds of childhood hours spent watching Bugs outwit Elmer to the current slate of adult animated projects we are building here at HBO Max and we think fans will agree. We are proud to introduce this distinctive group of series from a wide range of diverse creators that will form a first stop destination for animation lovers everywhere.”

Former Fox Animation and Marvel Exec Grant Gish to Join ViacomCBS Adult Animation Unit

ViacomCBS announced Marvel Studios and former Fox Animation executive Grant Gish will lead its new adult animation unit as SVP of adult animation, entertainment and youth brands, overseeing linear and streaming animation, effective Aug. 31.

Gish joins ViacomCBS on the heels of its expansion into adult animation, driven by such shows as “South Park” and upcoming reimaginings such as Mike Judge’s “Beavis and Butt-Head” and “Jodie,” based on the classic MTV series “Daria.”

Gish helped develop the Emmy Award-winning animated series “Bob’s Burgers” and oversaw the Emmy-nominated “American Dad” during his tenure at Fox Animation. He joins ViacomCBS from Marvel Studios, where he launched the adult comedy and animation group within the former Marvel Television division. Gish spearheaded Marvel’s foray into half-hour comedy and adult animation with upcoming Hulu series “M.O.D.O.K.” and “Hit-Monkey.”

“Grant has incredible instincts and a supercharged passion for animation,” Nina L. Diaz, president of content and chief creative officer for ViacomCBS entertainment and youth group, said in a statement. “Along with his extraordinary reputation and impressive successes with some of the biggest hits in the genre, from ‘Bob’s Burgers’ to ‘American Dad’ — his vision is exactly what we’re looking for to lead our adult animation unit.”

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“I grew up on MTV’s Animation Studios content where I’d run home from school to watch ‘Beavis and Butt-Head’ eating pretzels on my couch,” Gish said in a statement. “With access to such a vast library of IP that will enable us to break through the clutter coupled with the opportunity to create a fresh slate, I couldn’t be more excited to join the E&Y Group that’s growing in droves under Chris and Nina’s leadership.”

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“We are thrilled to have Grant lead our new adult animation unit as we expedite the rapid expansion of our adult animation content,” Chris McCarthy, president of ViacomCBS entertainment and youth group, said in a statement. “Adult animation is an incredibly powerful asset that truly works on every platform and around the world. It’s also pandemic-proof, which is why we are reimaging many of our beloved iconic IPs, unlocking incredible value.”

‘Solar Opposites’ Most-Watched Hulu Original Comedy Premiere to Date

The new Hulu Original adult animation series “Solar Opposites” is the most-watched Hulu Original comedy premiere to date and became the No. 1 SVOD title on the service since launching May 8, according to a Hulu release.

The series was the No. 2 most-watched title on Hulu throughout the entire seven-day week ended May 9, after only being on the service for two of those days. “Solar Opposites” was also Hulu’s most-watched adult animation title over the weekend.

Co-created by Justin Roiland (“Rick & Morty”) and Mike McMahan (producer “Rick & Morty,””Star Trek: Lower Decks”), “Solar Opposites” centers around a team of four aliens escaping their exploding home world, only to crash land into a move-in ready home in suburban America.

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Additional highlights, according to the service:

  • Fans of “Solar Opposites” devoured the full season over the weekend — more than 40% of viewers who started the series binged all eight episodes within two days of launching.
  • “Solar Opposites” has been certified Fresh with a 96% fresh score on Rotten Tomatoes.
  • More than half of Hulu subscribers have watched adult animation over the last year and nearly 40% of Hulu viewers watch adult animation every month.

HBO Max Orders Adult Animated Series With Seth Rogen and Sarah Silverman

HBO Max has ordered the adult animated series “Santa Inc.” from Lionsgate, featuring voice performances by Sarah Silverman and Seth Rogen.

The eight-episode, half-hour series will be written by showrunner Alexandra Rushfield (Shrill) and will be produced by Rogen’s Point Grey Pictures as part of their multiplatform partnership with Lionsgate.

“Santa Inc.” is the story of Candy Smalls (Silverman), the highest-ranking female elf in the North Pole. When the successor to Santa Claus (Rogen) is poached by Amazon on Christmas Eve, Candy goes for her ultimate dream — to become the first woman Santa Claus in the history of Christmas.

“I have long dreamed of a taking a beloved holiday tradition and adding a feminist agenda and some ‘R’-rated comedy and when I read this script from Ali, with Seth and Sarah attached to voice, I knew that it was a perfect fit for us at Max.” Suzanna Makkos, EVP of original comedy and animation for HBO Max, said in a statement.

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“Sarah and Seth are the perfect comedy duo for this empowering and very funny animated series shepherded by the hysterical Alexandra Rushfield,” said Lionsgate head of scripted development Scott Herbst in a statement. “We look forward to diving into the world of animation with our Point Grey partners, and to bring the holidays to HBO Max in a totally unexpected and fresh way.”

Netflix Orders Dark Animated Comedy Series ‘The House’ From Nexus Studios

Netflix has joined forces with BAFTA award-winning Nexus Studios on “The House,” a stop-motion animated dark comedy.

The project centers on a house and the surreal tales of three generations of families who made it their home.

Nexus is behind Academy Award-nominated short This Way Up and the Emmy- and Annie- nominated Back to the Moon.

Three of the leading directors in independent stop frame animation will direct episodes.

Emma de Swaef and Marc James Roels will direct one chapter of “The House.”  The Belgian creator’s most recent film, This Magnificent Cake!, was an official selection at Cannes Directors’ Fortnight, Toronto International Film Festival, Telluride and Animation Is Film Festival and received an Annie Award nomination, the André-Martin Award at Annecy and the top feature animation prize at the Ottawa Animation Festival.

Swedish director and animator Niki Lindroth von Bahr will direct one chapter. Her 2017 short film The Burden received top prizes at Annecy and the Toronto International Film Festival among others. Von Bahr was named one of the Top 10 Animators to watch by Variety in 2018.

Paloma Baeza will direct one chapter. The creator behind BAFTA and Annie award winning short film Poles Apart, she was also named one of the Top 10 Animators to watch by Variety in 2018.

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“The House is a collection of cinematic stories that are intelligent, witty, inquisitive, warm and yet packed with offbeat humor,” said Charlotte Bavasso, co-founder and producer, Nexus Studios, in a statement. “For this project, Nexus are bringing together, for the very first time, three of the most unique and multi-awarded voices in independent stop motion animation today in Niki, Marc & Emma and Paloma. This production is an organic collaboration between brilliant and like-minded storytellers. We’re thrilled to have found in Netflix such a perfect home for The House.”

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“Nexus Studios has a remarkable history of working with the best animators from all over the world,” said Mike Moon, head of adult animation for Netflix. “We’re thrilled to partner with Nexus and their incredible directors to bring The House to life.”