Showing his own signs of convergence, Chuck Jones, the famed creator of Warner Bros.’ animated Looney Tunes franchise, has inked a deal to create 13 Webisodes of an animated strip called “Timber Wolf” exclusively for Entertaindom.com and Warner Bros. Online.
Timber Wolf becomes the first original animated character Jones has created since 1955’s Michigan J. Frog, which now serves as the WB’s official mascot.
Collaborating on the weekly project, skedded to bow in November, are voice artists Nancy Cartwright (“The Simpsons”) and Joe Alasky (Entertaindom’s “Marvin the Martian”), writer Philip Vaughn (“Late Night With David Letterman”) and executive producer Stephen Fossati, who also serves as animation director and co-writer.
The series, which begins pre-production this week, will follow the adventures of Timber Wolf (whose full formal name is Thomas T. Wolf), a character who suffers from a tree falling on him whenever the word “timber” is said out loud.
Each Flash-animated Webisode will be four to six minutes in length, animated by illustrators formerly with Disney, Fox and Nickelodeon.
Jones is viewing the Internet as another medium to distrib his cartoons.
“When we created the Looney Tunes we concentrated on tight scripts, and grabbing the audience’s short-attention span,” Jones said. “No matter what the medium, it’s the humanity, humor and emotion that bring new audiences to these cartoons. They play well on television and now we’re giving the Internet a try.”
Warner Bros. is looking to jump Timber Wolf beyond the ‘Net, if the character proves popular enough.
“When we look at this property, we feel it has crossover potential,” said Kevin Tsujihara, executive veep of new media, Warner Bros. “This is a completely new character and exclusive to the Internet.
“We’re thrilled to be working with a creative genius like Chuck Jones. Chuck and his collaborator Steve Fossati have developed an online series which we think will capture the classic sense of fun behind our famous Looney Tunes, while combining a modern sensibility and a retro-style that is perfectly suited for animation on the Web.”
Jones, now 87, created Warner Bros.’ Road Runner, Wile E. Coyote, Pepe Le Pew, Marvin the Martian and 250 classic cartoons starring Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck and Porky Pig. He also directed “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” for MGM in 1966.