[04/29/05 - 12:00 AM]
12-Year-Old Kid Designs New On-Air Monster for Cartoon Network's Miguzi Block

[via press release from Cartoon Network]

12-Year-Old Kid Designs New On-Air Monster for Cartoon Network�s MIGUZI Block

Sacramento Boy�s Original Character Wins �Make a Monsterpiece Contest,� Joins CGI-Animated Cast on May 9

Not many kids can boast they created an animated character that will appear nationally every day on Cartoon Network. 12-year-old Kyler Spears of Sacramento, California, however, can make such a claim starting Monday, May 9, when Cartoon Network�s popular afternoon adventure franchise MIGUZI (Everyday, 5-7 p.m.) introduces �Yoke,� its newest CGI-animated cast member. Young Spears conceived, drew and entered �Yoke� into the network�s �MIGUZI Make a Monsterpiece� contest, a seven-week on-air, online and print campaign from Nov. 22, 2004 to Jan. 15, 2005 that challenged viewers to create and submit a MIGUZI-style monster of their own. More than 100,000 entries were received on official print entry forms placed in popular youth magazines. Kids then voted at CartoonNetwork.com for the winner from the top 10 finalist entries as determined by Cartoon Network�s expert team of animators. Following more than 570,000 online votes, Spears� entry emerged as the winner, securing its permanent addition to the MIGUZI cast of characters.

In addition to �Yoke� soon appearing as a character in MIGUZI, Spears and his family were flown from Sacramento to Atlanta in order to personally meet with MIGUZI�s creative team and to observe the animation process that will bring �Yoke� to life. Computer animation will be used to create a full three-dimensional look to the character, as well as realistic movement for the character and interaction with the other cast members: Erin, Big Stalks, Flip, Curly, Tre, Remo, Woofer and Tweet.

�It was so cool to come to Atlanta and meet everyone involved with bringing �Yoke� to life,� said Spears. �I wasn�t exactly sure how he would look but the MIGUZI team made him look just like I thought he would. This experience has been so much more than I ever thought it would be.�

The response to �Make a Monsterpiece� overwhelmed all of us at MIGUZI,� said Sean Akins, creative director and executive producer of the Cartoon Network franchise. �We wanted to find a way for our fans to further connect and invest in MIGUZI, and also in the creative process that brings our characters to life. It was amazing to see what kids came up with when we tapped into the power of their imagination and we�re really looking forward to the May 9 premiere to see how the audience responds to Kyler�s character, Yoke.�

The �MIGUZI Make a Monsterpiece� contest featured a three-week on-air campaign that invited viewers to draw their own MIGUZI monster and submit it for consideration by animation experts. In print, a two-page ad spread appeared in the December 2004/January 2005 issues of National Geographic Kids, Sports Illustrated for Kids, Disney Adventures and Nickelodeon Magazine that featured official print entry forms. Additionally, a MIGUZI ad and activity sheet was placed in TIME for Kids and distributed in classrooms nationally to third, fourth and fifth graders.

All �MIGUZI Make a Monsterpiece� entries were required to be postmarked by January 15, 2005 to be eligible for judging consideration. The top 10 entries were then selected and posted to CartoonNetwork.com where kids were able to vote for their favorite monster from Feb. 14-21, 2005. At the completion of voting, Kyler Spears was informed of his victory and the MIGUZI animation team began working on bringing �Yoke� to CGI life.

Launched in April 2004, MIGUZI is Cartoon Network�s daily afternoon destination for the best action-adventure entertainment for kids 6-11. The block is built around a fantastic undersea environment, where kids find compelling animated action-adventure programming along with comedic elements. MIGUZI is set on an abandoned spaceship buried in the ocean. Each day, The Leviathan, a giant sea monster, transports Erin, the franchise�s CG host, to the submersed ship. Once inside the spaceship, Erin and the sea creatures all settle in to watch the shows, when the fun begins. MIGUZI also features live-action segments profiling entertainers, athletes and everyday heroes ranging from comic book artists to the country�s top street basketball players. These lifestyle pieces further bridge the gap between real life action-adventure and animation.

Cartoon Network (CartoonNetwork.com), currently seen in 87.8 million U.S. homes and 170 countries around the world, is Turner Broadcasting System, Inc.�s ad-supported cable service offering the best in original, acquired and classic animated entertainment for kids and families. Overnight from 11 p.m.-6 a.m. (ET, PT), Cartoon Network shares its channel space with Adult Swim, a late-night destination showcasing original and acquired animation for young adults 18-34.

Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., a Time Warner company, is a major producer of news and entertainment product around the world and the leading provider of programming for the basic cable industry.

  [april 2005]  

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