Nickelodeon to Launch New CG Animated Kung Fu Panda: The Series from DreamWorks Animation SKG
Series Based on Academy Award-Nominated Theatrical Blockbuster Set to Premiere in 2010
BURBANK, Calif., May 14 -- Following a record-breaking ratings premiere of The Penguins of Madagascar, Nickelodeon today announced that it has ordered 26 episodes of its second co-production with DreamWorks Animation SKG, Inc. (Nasdaq: DWA), Kung Fu Panda: The Series -- a new CG animated comedy series adapted from the studio's 2008 blockbuster film. Today's announcement, which strengthens the strategic alliance between two of the world's most prolific producers of television and feature film animation, was made by Brown Johnson, President, Animation for Nickelodeon and MTVN Kids & Family Group.
Today's announcement comes just six weeks after Nickelodeon's unprecedented March 28 debut of the hit CG-animated series The Penguins of Madagascar, which ranked as the most-watched series premiere in the network's history, drawing 6.1 total million viewers (P2+). The half-hour premiere also delivered more kids 6-11 than any other Nick animated series premiere, averaging an 11.0/2.3 million K6-11. Since then, The Penguins of Madagascar has already become a top program with kids on all of broadcast and cable television, averaging nearly 13 million kids 2-11 each week and also averaging nearly 28 million total viewers (P2+) every week. The series is currently the #2 program (live action or animated), only behind only SpongeBob SquarePants, with kids 2-11 and 6-11 and is the #2 kid-targeted program (live-action or animated) among total viewers (P2+) on all of broadcast and cable television.*
"Our seamless collaboration with DreamWorks Animation has now reached an anticipated 78 half-hours of unparalleled television CG animation," said Brown. "With the pick-up of Kung Fu Panda: The Series, we are thrilled to be bringing to our audience the rich stories and energy-packed character and action sequences Po the panda delivered on the big screen."
"We are thrilled to extend our ongoing collaboration with Nickelodeon, whose creative expertise in producing hit TV series is second to none," said Ann Daly, Chief Operating Officer of DreamWorks Animation. "The characters and worlds we originally created for Kung Fu Panda are particularly well-suited to be further developed and explored in new and exciting ways."
Kung Fu Panda: The Series, is based on DreamWorks Animation's hit feature film, Kung Fu Panda which has grossed over $630 million at the worldwide box office and became the studio's most successful original feature film ever. Kung Fu Panda garnered an Oscar nomination for Best Animated Feature Film of the Year and a Golden Globe nomination for Best Animated Feature Film.
The series will chronicle the further adventures of Po, the energetic, enthusiastic, always hungry martial arts panda. He is aided by his mentor Shifu and the Furious Five: Tigress, Mantis, Crane, Monkey and Viper. Anointed "Dragon Warrior," Po protects the Valley of Peace from threats of all kind. Kung Fu Panda: The Series will be executive produced by Cheryl Holliday (King of the Hill, Still Standing, Father of the Pride). The show is being produced at the Nickelodeon Animation Studios in Burbank, California, currently the largest producer of television animation in the U.S.
Kung Fu Panda: The Series joins Nickelodeon's successful slate of animated series including pop culture phenomenon and number one ranked SpongeBob SquarePants (coming up on its 10th Anniversary this July), Emmy Award-nominated The Fairly OddParents from animation veteran Butch Hartman, The Mighty B! co-created by and starring actress/comedian Amy Poehler and Back at the Barnyard from the creative mind of box-office chief Steve Oedekerk.
About DreamWorks Animation SKG
DreamWorks Animation is principally devoted to developing and producing computer generated, or CG, animated feature films. With world-class creative talent, a strong and experienced management team and advanced CG filmmaking technology and techniques, DreamWorks Animation makes high quality CG animated films meant for a broad movie-going audience. The Company anticipates releasing its feature films into both conventional and IMAX(R) theatres worldwide. The Company has theatrically released a total of eighteen animated feature films, including Shrek, Shrek 2, Shark Tale, Madagascar, Over the Hedge, Shrek the Third, Bee Movie, Kung Fu Panda, Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa and Monsters vs. Aliens. All of the Company's feature films are now being produced in stereoscopic 3D technology.
Nickelodeon, now in its 30th year, is the number-one entertainment brand for kids. It has built a diverse, global business by putting kids first in everything it does. The company includes television programming and production in the United States and around the world, plus consumer products, online, recreation, books, magazines and feature films. Nickelodeon's U.S. television network is seen in more than 98 million households and has been the number-one-rated basic cable network for 14 consecutive years. Nickelodeon and all related titles, characters and logos are trademarks of Viacom Inc. (NYSE: VIA, VIA.B).
Caution Concerning Forward-Looking Statements
This document includes certain forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. The Company's plans, prospects, strategies, proposals and our beliefs and expectations concerning performance of our current and future releases and anticipated talent, directors and storyline for our upcoming films and other projects, constitute forward-looking statements. These statements are based on current expectations, estimates, forecasts and projections about the industry in which we operate and management's beliefs and assumptions. These statements are not guarantees of future performance and involve risks, uncertainties and assumptions which are difficult to predict. Actual results may vary materially from those expressed or implied by the statements herein due to changes in economic, business, competitive, technological and/or regulatory factors, and other risks and uncertainties affecting the operation of the business of DreamWorks Animation SKG, Inc. These risks and uncertainties include: audience acceptance of our films, our dependence on the success of a limited number of releases each year, the increasing cost of producing and marketing feature films, piracy of motion pictures, the effect of rapid technological change or alternative forms of entertainment and our need to protect our proprietary technology and enhance or develop new technology. In addition, due to the uncertainties and risks involved in the development and production of animated feature projects, the release dates for the projects described in this document may be delayed. For a further list and description of such risks and uncertainties, see the reports filed by us with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including our most recent annual report on Form 10-K and our most recent quarterly reports on Form 10-Q. DreamWorks Animation is under no obligation to, and expressly disclaims any obligation to, update or alter its forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events, changes in assumptions or otherwise.
*Source: NMR, most current data for kids 2-11, kids 6-11 and persons 2+, 3/23/09-5/3/09