Sonic the Hedgehog is racing back to TV.
Videogame publisher SEGA has turned to Bill Freiberger (“The Simpsons,” “Drawn Together”) to help re-introduce the iconic blue character to viewers through the company’s first CG-animated series that launches on Cartoon Network in the U.S. and France’s Canal J and Gulli in Fall 2014. The new show, tentatively titled “Sonic Boom,” is a co-production between SEGA of America and Genao Prods.
The companies will initially produce 52 11-minute episodes of the comedy that targets kids age 6-11 and revolves around Sonic, his best friend and sidekick, Tails, their never-ending search for adventure and battles with Sonic’s arch-nemesis, Dr. Eggman. See teaser image of the new series below.
The show’s producers will work closely with Takashi Iizuka, the head of Sonic Team and driving creative force behind the Sonic games, to make sure it’s true to the Sonic characters and universe.
Evan Baily, formerly executive VP of production and creative affairs for Classic Media (now owned by DreamWorks Animation) will serve as a showrunner of the series along with Freiberger, who serves as co-executive producer.
SEGA sees the project as a way to breathe new life into the franchise and attract new players to the games.
“Sonic is the star of the SEGA universe and the stage is now set for him to shine like never before,” said Hiroyuki Miyazaki, SEGA’s chief content officer for Sonic. Through the new TV series, “we’re ensuring that the Sonic legacy will be introduced to a new generation of children across the globe.”
Sonic already has appeared in four TV series and more than 70 video games that have sold over 140 million copies. The latest is “Sonic All-Stars Racing Transformed.”
Sonic the Hedgehog, which is Sega’s equivalent to Mickey Mouse, first appeared as a videogame character in 1991, and besides games has been licensed as toys, apparel, comics and animation.
Earlier this year, SEGA announced an exclusive partnership with Nintendo to produce three Sonic games, with “Sonic Lost World” as the first to launch later this year.
SEGA executive producers Evan Baily, Donna Friedman Meir and Jane McGregor packaged “Sonic Boom.”
Lagardere Entertainment holds worldwide rights to the TV series around the world, with the exception of Asia and the U.S., where Jane McGregor manages it. Lagardere also handles Japan.