ITV teams with Weta, Pukeko
LONDONCult kids’ classic “Thunderbirds” are go again, 50 years after the puppet show bowed in the U.K. and took the world by storm. ITV Studios has commissioned 26 half-hours under the working title “Thunderbirds Are Go!,” ripped from its catchphrase. Show will replace puppets with a mix of live action and CGI animation created by New Zealand’s Weta Workshop, whose work includes “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy, “Avatar” and “King Kong.” The other partner on the initiative is New Zealand’s Pukeko Pictures. In the U.K. show will air on commercial web ITV and its tyke offshoot CITV Channel in 2015, but the scope for international sales looks huge. ITV Studios’ U.K. managing director Denise O’Donoghue said, ” ‘Thunderbirds’ is a highly respected brand that continues to hold recognition around the world. This cult series is often credited as changing the history of animation and action-adventure.” “Thunderbirds” was created by Brit Gerry Anderson, who died in December aged 83. Toon will be executive produced by Estelle Hughes for ITV Studios, Giles Ridge for ITV Studios Global Entertainment and Richard Taylor and Andrew Smith for Pukeko Pictures. Head writer is Rob Hoegee, whose credits include “Generator Rex,” “Teen Titans,” “Ben 10” and “Slugterra.” Show will be distributed by ITV Studios Global Entertainment.