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Aardman sets a TV toon-up

Studio hoping to go Stateside

Life goes on for Aardman Animations.

The claymation shingle — reeling from a fire that destroyed its warehouse in Bristol, England — is poised to bring its stop-motion magic to small screens Stateside.

Having clinched the top spot in last weekend’s movie box office with “Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit,” Aardman, founded by “Wallace” creator Nick Park and partner Peter Lord, has partnered with management-production company the Gotham Group to produce TV projects for U.S. networks.

First up, pair will ready an American adaptation of Park’s Oscar-winning short-turned-hit U.K. series “Creature Comforts.”

Comedy edits together real interviews with ordinary people and animated animals in a series of shorts about creatures who wax on about such topics as extraterrestrials, cats vs. dogs, and where humans come from. Like the Brit version, the Stateside show will be produced without a script or actors.

“We want to do something similar to what they’ve done with ‘The Office,’ ” said Aardman head of broadcast and development Miles Bullough. “If everything works out, it will really be quite a different show, done completely in the States and with American sensibilities.”

“Creatures” is out to showrunners and writers, who will come up with the questions and conduct the interviews. Aardman and Gotham expect to begin shopping the format to broadcast and cable networks before year’s end.

Bullough said Aardman recently optioned several literary properties they hope to turn into TV projects for the U.S. and the international markets but stressed that those projects are in the early stages.

Aardman just wrapped production on the second season of “Creature Comforts” for the U.K. Shingle, which also produced the feature “Chicken Run,” also is at work on “Chop Socky Chooks,” a CG-animated skein about kung fu chickens that will be co-produced with Canada’s Decode Entertainment, Cartoon Network and Teletoon.

Back in Bristol, authorities have made no announcement about the cause of the fire, but Blighty tabloid the Sun reported the cause was arson.

(Archie Thomas in London contributed to this report.)

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