[09/20/06 - 12:00 AM]
Mgm, G4 Television Network and Berliner Film Companie Team with Mel Brooks on New Animated Series Based on Spaceballs Theatrical Film

[via press release from MGM]

MGM, G4 Television Network and Berliner Film Companie Team With Mel Brooks on New Animated Series Based on Spaceballs Theatrical Film

LOS ANGELES, Sept. 20 -- Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. (MGM) is teaming with the G4 television network, Brooksfilms Limited, and Berliner Film Companie GmbH (Berliner) on the U.S. release of a new original television series based on the classic Mel Brooks comedy "Spaceballs."

G4, which is now available in 59 million cable and satellite homes nationwide, has exclusively licensed the first run of "Spaceballs - The Animated Series" for the U.S. market. The network is involved in the production of the series, and will premiere the program in Fall 2007. G4 targets the Male 18-34 audience, deep-diving into the digital landscape, with a programming slate that incorporates all the twisted and clever pop culture phenomena that young guys are interested in: video games, technology, humor, animation, the Internet, cars, women and more.

MGM Worldwide Television Distribution Group, a unit of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios, Inc., will officially launch the property at the upcoming MIPCOM international television festival in Cannes, France (October 9-13).

"Spaceballs: The Animated Series" brings together a talented team of comedy specialists. Brooks, who over the past 40 years has created such classics as "Blazing Saddles," "Young Frankenstein" and both versions of "The Producers," co-wrote the "Spaceballs" pilot with the highly accomplished Thomas Meehan. Meehan, who has co-written three film projects with Brooks, the original "Spaceballs" film, "To Be or Not to Be" and the musical version of "The Producers," will oversee all writing for the first 13 episodes. Brooks will also lend his voice to two of the characters in the show, President Skroob and Yogurt.

Similar to the feature film, which parodied iconic science fiction movies, "Spaceballs: The Animated Series" will take the legendary Brooks satirical eye, spoofing the biggest blockbusters of today as well as every genre of entertainment from movies and reality TV to Culture and politics. The series will be produced by Berliner in association with Brooksfilms. Already in production, Berliner will produce 13 half-hour episodes, which will debut on G4 in Fall 2007.

Jim Packer, President of MGM Worldwide Television Distribution Group, said: "This series has all the elements of a great comedy show. Mel Brooks has one of the top comedy minds in the business and the Berliner team has an impressive track record for producing quality animation. On the heels of retooling our worldwide television distribution group, MGM will be an active player in bringing first-run series to the marketplace and 'Spaceballs' is a good example of the programming partnerships we can create with this vast library."

Neal Tiles, president of G4, added: "As the go-to network for men 18-34, irreverent humor is one of the benchmarks of our programming philosophy, as is animation. Mel Brooks' classic movies 'Young Frankenstein' and 'Blazing Saddles' are just as relevant to our young male audience today as they were when they were first released. His brand of humor will resonate well with our viewers."

Rainer Soehnlein of Berliner stated: "We are thrilled to be working with two legends of the entertainment industry, Mel Brooks and MGM, on this exciting new series. The Brooks imagination, combined with the creative possibilities of animation, will definitely make for something brand new in TV comedy."

Led by industry veteran Rainer Soehnlein, the Berliner team has produced many half-hour cartoons for television including "Da Boom Crew," which ran on Kids' WB. The company is currently wrapping up production on the feature film, "Happily N'Ever After," a CGI comedy that explores what would happen if Cinderella's wicked stepmother led a coup to take over Fairy Tale Land. Oscar winning producer John H. Williams ("Shrek") is producing the project, with Soehnlein acting as Executive Producer.

In the pilot episode of "Spaceballs: The Animated Series," the storyline will be similar to that of the movie, which was released theatrically in 1987. The evil Dark Helmet kidnaps Princess Vespa of the Planet Druidia. His dastardly plan: to blackmail her father, King Roland, into giving up his planet's air to replenish the polluted Planet Spaceball, run by the fiendish President Skroob (to be voiced by Brooks). Princess Vespa's dad hires Lone Starr and Barf to rescue the princess. After a battle with Dark Helmet, they rescue the princess and Planet Druidia. From there, they launch on a series of wild adventures across the Galaxy.

About G4

G4, the fastest growing network on television for 2006, launched in April 2002 and is now available in 59 million cable and satellite homes nationwide. The #1 podcasted cable network in America and a leader in VOD, G4's programming includes breaking video game industry news, trends, reviews, the hottest games and gear, celebrity interviews and insider opinions. Targeting the male 18-34 audience, G4 is the first and last word on games, sports, technology, animation, interactivity, the Internet and broadband. The company is headquartered in Los Angeles and is owned by Comcast Corporation.

About Berliner Film Companie GmbH

The Berliner Film Companie team has produced seven animated television series and one CGI feature film since 2002. Working with America's top creators, producers and directors, Berliner has established a unique American-style production company in the heart of cosmopolitan Berlin, along with an office in Los Angeles to maintain a constant presence in the center of the U.S. entertainment industry.

About MGM Worldwide Television Group

MGM Worldwide Television Group handles distribution of film and television product as well as co-productions for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and United Artists. Through the division, more than 4,000 feature films and 10,000 television episodes are available to pay-, basic-cable and free-television clients throughout the world. MGM's series lineup includes the long running hit series "Stargate SG-1," its spin-off, "Stargate Atlantis," and "L Word."

About Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc.

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc., through its operating subsidiaries is actively engaged in the worldwide production and distribution of motion pictures, television programming, home video, interactive media, music, and licensed merchandise. The company owns the world's largest library of modern films, which is comprised of more than 4,000 titles. Operating units include Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc., Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Inc., United Artists Films Inc., MGM Television Entertainment Inc., MGM Networks Inc., MGM Distribution Co., MGM International Television Distribution Inc., Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Home Entertainment LLC, MGM ON STAGE, MGM Music, MGM Consumer Products and MGM Interactive. In addition, MGM has ownership interests in international TV channels reaching nearly 110 countries. MGM ownership is as follows: Providence Equity Partners (29%), Texas Pacific Group (21%), Sony Corporation of America (20%), Comcast (20%), DLJ Merchant Banking Partners (7%) and Quadrangle Group (3%). For more information, visit http://www.mgm.com.

SOURCE Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc. http://www.mgm.com/

  [september 2006]  


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