20TH CENTURY FOX TELEVISION AND FOX BROADCASTING MAINTAIN PRIMETIME ANIMATION LEADERSHIP WITH CREATION OF 'FOX INKUBATION'
JENNIFER HOWELL NAMED HEAD OF TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX TELEVISION ANIMATION
New Exec Will Run Point on Partnership Between Network and Studio To Find Next Generation of Toon Talent
In a bold move designed to build on over two decades of animation success, and in hopes of discovering the next Matt Groening, Seth MacFarlane or Mike Judge, Fox Broadcasting (FOX) and sister studio 20th Century Fox Television (TCFTV) have partnered on an aggressive initiative entitled "Fox Inkubation" � a significant investment of resources aimed at continuing FOX's domination of primetime animation and finding the next cartoon blockbuster.
In addition, the studio has created a new department focused entirely on animation and has tapped Jennifer Howell, formerly executive vice president of Important Films (Matt Stone and Trey Parker's production company), and a former supervising producer on "South Park" to run it. Howell reports to TCFTV chairmen Gary Newman and Dana Walden, who have teamed with FOX entertainment president Kevin Reilly to spearhead this ambitious new animation drive.
With over a dozen deals already in negotiations designed to feed the FOX pipeline, "Fox Inkubation" will develop animated series through the creation of fully-formed "shorts" rather than by traditional script development. Writer/animators will receive funding to produce a set of completed 2-minute shorts. If the material shows promise, the individuals or teams will advance through the production process and create additional material, or possibly be teamed with an experienced producer to bring the idea to pilot and ultimately series. The potential for digital distribution or viral marketing of the shorts is contemplated as part of the plan.
While Howell will run point for the studio on "Fox Inkubation," she'll also be charged with developing new TCFTV animated properties for internet portals, cable channels and other networks.
Reilly, Newman and Walden believe that this innovative approach to fostering animation will be more effective than traditional development, in which a pitch is ordered to script and then revised over time before a single frame of animation is produced. By directly greenlighting the animation, the team will have the opportunity to see jokes and situations that are unique to the visuals but aren't always fully realized in script form.
Several months ago, Walden and Newman set forth a plan to create a new department within the studio framework solely dedicated to animation. Concurrently, Reilly had made FOX's long-term animation supremacy a priority. With properties like THE SIMPSONS and FAMILY GUY driving a significant portion of their businesses, they set their sights on assembling a team of innovative executives to build on the powerhouse FOX/TCFTV animation brand.
Ultimately, Walden and Newman recruited Jennifer Howell to serve as Senior Vice President, Animation and assigned Senior Vice President, Production Marci Proietto to oversee production of the department's projects. A veteran of the form, Howell had been with Stone and Parker from the earliest days of "South Park" and worked with the pair since their original feature film, "Orgazmo." One week into production on the film, "South Park" was picked up to series and Howell became part of their permanent team.
She worked closely with Stone and Parker on their other projects as well, including the critically acclaimed feature film "South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut" - released in 1999. Howell also served as co-producer on the 2001 Comedy Central series "That's My Bush!" which made fun of sitcoms and portrayed the Commander in Chief as the lovable, often bumbling, title character. Additionally, Howell served as co-producer on Stone and Parker's all-marionette, action-adventure feature "Team America: World Police," released in 2004.
Marci Proietto has been with the studio since 1995 and has overseen production on virtually all of Twentieth Century Fox Television's animated hits, including THE SIMPSONS, FAMILY GUY, KING OF THE HILL, AMERICAN DAD and "Futurama". As Senior Vice President, Production, she works closely with the shows' creators Matt Groening, Seth MacFarlane and Mike Judge, as well as their teams of writers, animators, storyboard artists and production staffers, to ensure the nearly year-long production of each episode concludes on time and on budget.