Canuck-U.K. co-prod primes animated skein

TORONTO — Nelvana Ltd. and the U.K.’s Channel 4 have started production on “Bob and Margaret,” an adult primetime animated series scheduled to air next fall.

The official Canadian-British co-production — a designation that makes it eligible for government incentives in both countries — is based on an Academy-award winning short, “Bob’s Birthday,” produced by Canada’s National Film Board and Channel 4.

David Fine and Alison Snowden, who created the film, are writing scripts for the series, which follows the life of an eccentric couple in England.

The production budget for the first 13 episodes of the series is C$7.2 million ($5.2 million), financed 75% by Nelvana. No other financial terms have been disclosed.

The Global Television Network, the Canadian television operation of CanWest Global Communications Corp. of Winnipeg, invested in the project based on the script and has been involved throughout its development.

“The Global Television Network is thrilled to be the first Canadian broadcaster to champion adult animation, and we are confident that our audience will love these quirky characters,” said Loren Mawhinney, Global’s vice-president of Canadian production.

Global first introduced “The Simpsons” to Canada, making it a pioneer in scheduling adult animation in primetime.

Nelvana’s distribution arm, Nelvana Enterprises Inc., has worldwide rights to the series outside Britain.

Comedy Central, the cable channel owned by a joint venture of Time Warner Inc. and Viacom Inc., has purchased the show.

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