Nickelodeon, a division of Viacom Inc.’s (NYSE:VIA)(NYSE:VIA.B) MTV Networks, and DreamWorks Animation SKG, Inc. (NYSE:DWA), two of the world’s most prolific producers of television and feature film animation, today announced plans to join forces on a new, 26- episode, CG animated comedy series tentatively titled The Penguins of Madagascar, based on the beloved penguin brothers in DreamWorks Animation’s hit feature film, “Madagascar” ($532 million worldwide gross) and upcoming sequel, “Madagascar, the Crate Escape.” The series, which tells the story of a group of penguins who believes it leads an elite strike force from its Central Park Zoo headquarters, will be produced at the Nickelodeon Animation Studio in Burbank, California and is scheduled to premiere on Nick in early 2009.
“This is a partnership that brings together two creative-driven companies who share a belief that great characters and stories are the essential ingredients to success, whether it’s on the big or small screen,” said Cyma Zarghami, President, Nickelodeon & MTV Networks Kids and Family Group. “The DreamWorks Animation team developed richly creative characters that lend themselves to a series of their own — they are just plain hysterical. We can’t wait to treat our audience to the same vibrant and vivid CG animation that audiences loved in the film.”
DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg commented, “Our Madagascar penguins were hugely popular on the big screen, so it seemed natural to give them their own television show on the premier entertainment network for kids. This is likely the first of many future projects aimed at establishing a meaningful presence for DreamWorks Animation properties on Nickelodeon, and we are thrilled to get this collaboration off the ground.”
The series will feature the all-new adventures of Skipper, Kowalski, Rico and Private, four penguins who rule the roost at their Central Park Zoo home. While the brothers have their flippers full keeping their multi-species zoo neighborhood happy, at times their secret missions beckon them to venture out onto the busy streets of New York City. Just as the team thinks it has its urban acreage under control, a new neighbor moves in next door: Julien, King of the Lemurs, a party animal with an entourage and an overactive ego. Much to the penguins’ exasperation, King Julien and his friends are there to stay, proving once again that opposites do not attract.
The series will be executive produced by Mark McCorkle and Bob Schooley, (Disney’s Kim Possible, Disney’s Hercules, Sky High) and feature the voices of Tom McGrath as Skipper, Jeff Bennett as Kowalski, James Patrick Stuart as Private and John DiMaggio as Rico, with Danny Jacobs starring as Julien, King of the Lemurs.