In a bid to keep key creative talent inhouse, Walt Disney Television Animation prexy Barry Blumberg has struck an overall deal with Mike Moon and extended his long-term agreement with “Kim Possible” creators Bob Schooley and Mark McCorkle.
Pacts give WDTA exclusive first-look rights to TV projects from the toon producers for the next two years.
With increasing demand from Disney outlets — preschool destination Playhouse Disney, action block Jetix and Disney Channel — Blumberg is angling to sign a number of animation producers to create content to play domestically and in international markets.
“We want to be perceived as more of a creator-centric company,” Blumberg said, pointing to the current crop of cartoon hits — Craig McCracken’s “Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends” and Stephen Hillenburg’s “SpongeBob SquarePants” — that are directly associated with the creator’s vision. “To me, the greatest shows are where the veil between the creator and the show is thinnest.”
Schooley and McCorkle, the creative force behind Emmy-nominated Disney Channel franchise “Kim Possible,” have worked with WDTA for nearly 15 years and now will work on developing additional series projects for the studio.
Exec producers are just wrapping Disney Channel’s first-ever original animated movie, “Kim Possible: So the Drama,” which preems April 8, and are writers on the upcoming bigscreen feature “Sky High.” Their credits include “Buzz Lightyear of Star Command” and “Disney’s Hercules: The Series.”
“Bob and Mark have delivered program after program to us, and I want to know that I have the right to what they cook up next,” said Blumberg, who added that no series is in the works but a couple of ideas look promising.
“Kim,” an action/comedy series about high school student-superhero Kim Possible, has been a hit since its debut on Disney in 2002. Show received five Daytime Emmy noms earlier this month and has launched a consumer products line that includes toys, apparel and vidgames.
Moon is a producer on McCracken’s “Foster’s Home” for Cartoon Network and served as the art director on “The Powerpuff Girls Movie.” Blumberg said Moon’s signature design sense was highly attractive to WDTA.
“Mike is so integral to the look and feel of ‘Foster’s,’ which I love. We’ve also worked with him on ‘House of Mouse,’ so we know what an asset he is,” Blumberg said. “We tend to be more writer-oriented, and he’s one of those visual people that we need to bring in more of.”
In addition to creating and developing his projects, Moon will serve as a director and/or producer on other WDTA efforts. “I’m hoping he’ll function as the ‘right brain’ for our entire development group.”
WDTA is in production on 10 series — “Lilo & Stitch,” “Kim,” “Brandy & Mr. Whiskers,” “American Dragon: Jake Long,” “The Buzz on Maggie,” “Katbot,” “Emperor’s New Skool,” “Super Robot Monkey Team Hyper Force Go!,” “Get Ed” and “Mickey Mouse Clubhouse” — across Playhouse, Jetix and Disney, with a goal of producing four or five more series for the coming year.