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Sports Stars Get Animated

NBC reportedly has ordered a DIC Enterprises animated series featuring professional athletes Michael Jordan, Bo Jackson and Wayne Gretzky for Saturday-morning tv.

DIC also is developing another show featuring Capitol Records rap star M.C. Hammer for ABC’s kidvid lineup, according to sources.

ABC reportedly is interested in the show – tentatively titled “Hammer-Man” – as a companion to “New Kids On The Block,” another music-themed entry produced by DIC.

ABC, meanwhile, is said to be the most likely port for Disney’s planned Saturday-morning version of “The Little Mermaid.” However, sources say the studio is trying to link the series with another half-hour show based on an unspecified Disney property, which could present a stumbling block.

DIC announced the Jordan-Jackson-Gretzky series Feb. 11 but wouldn’t confirm which network will air the show, though sources say NBC has given it a series commitment. The network – which already has ordered Yogi Bear revival “Yo, Yogi,” from Hanna-Barbera Prods. – declined comment until it’s prepared to announce its full children’s schedule.

NBC already airs a sports themed Saturday-morning series to tie in with its NBA basketball package, which makes a series featuring Chicago Bulls star Jordan an attractive franchise.

In addition, the show offers built-in marketing support due to the numerous multimillion dollar sponsor deals held each of the athletes. All three appear in ads for Nike and have relationships with cereal marketers – a major Saturday morning advertiser category – such as Jordan’s Wheaties endorsement.

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