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FT to stay young with animation

France 4 devotes afternoons to cartoons

Gallic pubcaster France Televisions will focus more on toons as it battles to win back young auds lured away by cabler TNT.

The pubcaster will dedicate every afternoon on its France 4 channel to animated series targeting tweens and teenagers, the company announced at the Annecy Animation Market.

“Our goal is to change our editorial line completely and deliver a more consistent offer to young viewers,” said Julien Borde, VP in charge on youth programming at France Televisions.

Among the tyke series heading to the pubcaster is “Gaston,” based on the comicbook by Belgian artist Andre Franquin about a lazy, goofy young man in the 1970s. The series will be consist of 78 seven-minute episodes. Budgeted at e5 million ($7 million), it is co-produced by Gallic shingles Normaal Animation and Marsu Prods.

Another toon series, “The Daltons,” is being co-produced by France 3 and Xilam Animation. It is based on the comicbooks of Morris, the nom de plume of Maurice De Bevere. Each seven-minute episode focuses on the characters’ attempts to escape from jail. Budgeted at $8.9 million, the skein has been pre-bought by Canal Plus and will play on the French paybox beginning in spring 2010 and on France 3 starting in fall 2010.

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