DIC programs 3 ani syndie strips

DIC Enterprises has landed three kidvid strips in syndication next fall as it seeks to compete against such animation powerhouses as Disney, Warner Bros., Fox and Universal.

The only firstrun strip it’s involved in is Bohbot Entertainment’s new superhero series, “The Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog.”

Based on a videogame, “Sonic” will compete for early fringe clearances in a tough environment dominated by the Disney Afternoon and Fox Children’s Network blocks.

There is also a prime time “Sonic” spec in the works for ABC next spring that will have a slightly different twist from the syndie version. The network special, known as “Sonic the Hedgehog,” will serve as a pilot for a Saturday morning series.

Jaleel White, who portrays Steve Urkel on ABC’s “Family Matters,” will provide the voice of Sonic.

Additionally, DIC and Turner Broadcasting System’s “Captain Planet and the Planeteers,” the top-rated weekly series, will have built up enough episodes to begin stripping it in fall ’93 (superstation WTBS also will carry it as a strip).

The series will continue in weekly production through at least the 1993-94 season, but TBS’ Hanna-Barbera Prods. subsid will take over the animation chores from DIC next fall. Although it will no longer handle production, DIC will remain as a co-owner of the series.

DIC’s evergreen “Inspector Gadget,” distributed by Bohbot, will enter its second season as a strip next fall. Production on the nearly decade-old episodes ceased long ago, but the company is prepping a prime time Christmas spec to air on NBC Dec. 4.

The animation house, however, has a live-action “Gadget” theatrical movie in the works with Ivan Reitman’s production company.

DIC is also reportedly in preliminary discussions with a network concerning the development of a “Gadget Girl” spinoff.

In confirming the strips, DIC prez-CEO Andy Heyward also noted the company will be involved in two weekly animated shows slated for next fall: “The Hurricanes,” an international co-production venture about the adventures of a fictional soccer team, and “Madeline,” a 20-episode order for cable’s the Family Channel that will have a short syndie window.

Much of DIC’s focus will be centered on “Hedgehog,” which has been targeted toward boys in the 5-12 age group.

Bohbot has secured 3-6 p.m. clearances for the barter series (stations get 3 1/2 minutes of local time while the distrib retains 21/2 minutes) on WPWR, Chicago; WLVI, Boston; WTTV, Indianapolis; KWTW, Seattle; WKCF, Orlando, and WJCY, Charlotte.

DIC plans to invest about $ 300,000 per episode for each of the 65 half-hour installments. Animated series generally run anywhere from $ 200,000 to $ 400,000 per half-hour.

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