Lion animates Brooks laffer for TV

MGM TV has commissioned an animated series based on Mel Brooks’ 1987 “Spaceballs” movie and sold exclusive rights in the U.S. to Comcast’s G4 cable network.

Encompassing a one-hour pilot and 13 half-hour episodes, project represents the first scripted series greenlit by the new TV division at MGM, led by Jim Packer, president of the worldwide TV distribution group. Series kicks off on G4 in fall 2007.

Although the movie grossed only $38.1 million in U.S. multiplexes, Packer said “Spaceballs” has become “a successful franchise for our library” through sale in video and DVD and to cable and pay TV nets.

Brooks and Thomas Meehan, who co-wrote the movie with Ronnie Graham, have penned the one-hour pilot, and Meehan will supervise the writing of the 13 half-hours. Brooks will do two of the voices, President Skroob and Yogurt.

Germany’s Berliner Film Companie will provide the animation.

Packer said he expects brisk international sales of the show at next month’s Mipcom festival in Cannes.

G4, which has 59 million subscribers, will become involved in the making of “Spaceballs,” which is a joint production of MGM Studios, Brooksfilms Ltd. and Berliner.

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