Teletoon looks to new season

Teletoon is ready to launch its new season in a 'bigger, better and bolder' fashion, according to Teletoon president John Riley. Launching on Sept. 6, the 1999/2000 schedule features 51 new series, 24 of which are Canadian, with the 27 remaining...

Teletoon is ready to launch its new season in a ‘bigger, better and bolder’ fashion, according to Teletoon president John Riley. Launching on Sept. 6, the 1999/2000 schedule features 51 new series, 24 of which are Canadian, with the 27 remaining being international acquisitions.

‘Our Canadian content on air this year will be 50%,’ says Riley. ‘Every year our number gets a little higher.’

This season, Teletoon expects to spend a total of $16.6 million on Canadian programming, a drastic hike from the $5.4 million spent in 1998/99. Teletoon boasts 410 new Canadian-produced or coproduced half-hours. Of the 24 new Canadian programs, the specialty plans to air eight in the fall, nine in January, and the remaining seven, currently at various stages of production, later in the season.

Starting in the fall, Teletoon will present such new shows as Decode Entertainment’s Angela Anaconda (13 half-hours), which uses an unusual style of animation.

‘It is kind of a collage technique, almost the way the old Monty Python animation worked but it is done digitally,’ says Riley. ‘The look is very unique and the writing is very smart as well, so I think Angela Anaconda will be a success.’

Also new to the schedule are 26 half-hours of Mega Babies from Montreal’s Cine-Groupe, about three sloppy, runny-nosed babies who have a knack for saving the universe. Also launching this month are 13 half-hours of the anime-styled Cybersix from Vancouver’s noa and Japan’s tms, and the Nelvana-produced Redwall, based on the popular book series.

Teletoon, born in 1997, reaches a broad demographic. According to Riley, 50% of overall Teletoon viewership is adult. Also, he says, Teletoon’s viewers in the 2-11 and 18-24 demographics are proven statistically to be ‘the most loyal viewers in Canadian television….So when they get on Teletoon, they tend to stay on Teletoon.’

‘This year we are doing some tweaking to our look, to our image and to our schedule, to insure that the strength that we’ve developed with older kids, teens and adults is maintained,’ Riley says.

Last year, Teletoon’s combined English- and French-track services had revenues of $35 million.

With files from Leo Rice-Barker.