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Nick’s new ‘Genius’

Cabler, Oedekerk ink $25 mil deal

Nickelodeon has entered into a multiyear agreement with Steve Oedekerk and DNA Prods. to produce “Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius” as a $25 million feature film, a TV series and an online franchise, the kids’ cabler said Friday.

DNA, meanwhile, is planning an IPO to launch a week before the “Jimmy Neutron” theatrical release sometime in summer or fall 2001.

The Dallas-based company, which produces animation for TV and the Internet, sees itself as the next Pixar, the hot computer animation house behind both “Toy Story” installments and “A Bug’s Life.”

Originally created by DNA’s John Davis, “Jimmy Neutron,” the story of a 10-year old boy genius, will launch as a series of one-minute cartoon shorts on Nickelodeon and online next summer. After theatrical release, the show, budgeted at about $450,000 a half-hour episode, will join Nick’s lineup as a regular series.

The film, TV series and online component will be produced by Nickelodeon Movies, Nick Prods., Oedekerk’s O Entertainment and DNA Prods. Paramount Pictures will distribute the feature, which Davis will write and direct.

Pic will focus on Jimmy’s attempt to save the world, along with his robot dog Goddard and his best friend, Carl Wheezer. Nick’s president for film and TV entertainment, Albie Hecht, called Jimmy “one part Jim Carrey, one part Dennis the Menace.”

Nick’s first 3-D, CGI project, “Jimmy Neutron” is also the first property the cabler has developed as a multimedia franchise. Nickelodeon previously launched the toon “CatDog” online before premiering it as a TV series.

Oedekerk’s screen credits include “Ace Ventura: Pet Detective,” “Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls,” “Patch Adams” and “Nothing to Lose.” He is writing, directing and starring in “The Dubbed Action Movie,” for 20th Century Fox, scheduled for a summer 2000 release.

Separately, Nickelodeon announced a multiyear licensing agreement with PC maker Gateway to create a branded Gateway computer that features the kids’ cabler’s animated cartoon properties. Starting later this month, Gateway’s Astro PC will come loaded with a Nickelodeon “Rugrats” screensaver and software based on preschool series “Blue’s Clues.”

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