DreamWorks, Nick ink animation pact

Nickelodeon has entered into a co-production deal with DreamWorks TV Animation to develop several animated action/adventure series for the Viacom kiddie cabler, with the first to hit the air as early as fall 1999.

DreamWorks founding partner Steven Spielberg will executive produce the series for Nickelodeon during the course of the deal, which runs for just one year. However, none of the shows jointly developed by Nick and DreamWorks are guaranteed pickup on Nickelodeon.

“We are extremely pleased to be in business with Nickelodeon,” Spielberg said Monday in a statement.

“They have always pushed the envelope in terms of creating innovative and entertaining kids programs, and I am really looking forward to working with them on stretching the boundaries of the animated action/adventure genre.”

Saying he is thrilled to be collaborating with DreamWorks, Albie Hecht, prexy of film and TV entertainment for Nickelodeon, said that his network would provide “the perfect home” for Spielberg and his material.

Hecht acknowledged that while Nickelodeon has been involved with such live-action efforts as “The Secret Life of Alex Mack” and “The Mystery Files of Shelby Woo,” it has never gone in for homegrown, animated action-adventure.

“It’s just another risk,” Hecht said in an interview with Daily Variety. “It’s a new slot for us. But who better to help us figure it out than someone who has thrilled kids and family audiences with his sense of adventure as Steven Spielberg has?”

Gary Krisel and David Simon, co-heads of DreamWorks TV Animation, said that working with Nickelodeon will provide “a wonderful new opportunity to create completely original shows in a genre long waiting to be reinvented for kids.”

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