Roger Rabbit creator Wolf nears deal with Time Warner

In the first major talent deal for its fledgling, Orlando-based interactive cable channel, Time Warner is close to an agreement with Gary Wolf, the creator of Disney franchise figure Roger Rabbit.

Wolf wrote the novel on which “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” was based and owns the character, who also has starred in several Disney shorts.

Wolf is already creating a new interactive series for TW. It’s called “The Wysi Wygs”– an acronym for the phrase “what you see is what you get”– and it will let childrenemploy standard characters with special powers to solve problems and influence and determine storylines.

Wolf’s manager, Martin Tudor, says the Time Warner Interactive Group, under Terry Hershey, is so bullish on Wolf that it’s discussing the creation of a separate interactive label for him. Tudor’s negotiating the deal along with Wolf’s lawyer, Stan Coleman.

For Wolf’s part, he’s determined to create for TW as lasting — and lucrative — a character as Roger Rabbit, whose movie grossed about $ 650 million worldwide.

“Everything else has been existing programming adapted for CD-ROM, but this would be the first program designed specifically for interactive TV,” said Wolf. “The Wysi Wygs are characters that live in the cable network and are available for each show. … Kids can trigger them to use these things to help a storyline along. … The key is to encourage them to be part of the story. It could be a combination of live action and animation, like ‘Roger Rabbit,’ or we might animate the whole thing.”

Tudor said Wolf’s been biding his time until the interactive technology was advanced enough. “Gary’s finally found a medium that fits his vision, because he thinks in a three-dimensional way, which is unique to the interactive medium. We contemplate Gary doing several projects under the TWIG banner as well as Gary signing other creative talent to his label.”

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