French production group Marathon Media has teamed with Nickelodeon and French kids TV network Gulli on a new animated comedy series, Blake and the Aliens (working title) which Nickelodeon will air in the United States.
The series will be a so-called “board-driven” cartoon similar to SpongeBob SquarePants. The plot involves the 13 year-old boy Blake, who one morning gets jumped by a trio of evil, alien squirrels. The squirrels have been sent from the future to undermine Blake's self-esteem, ensuring he does not grow up to become the superhero Captain Blake, defender of the universe and their sworn enemy.
Marathon and Nickelodeon have begun production on Blake and the Aliens at Marathon's new studios in Los Angeles. The series' creative team includes executive producers Kaz Prapuolenis (SpongeBob SquarePants) and Antoine Guilbaud (Phineas & Ferb), writer Reid Harrison (The Simpsons) and director Eric Gosselet (Rekkit the Rabbit). Marathon executives David Michel and Vincent Chalvon-Demersay will produce Blake and the Aliens.
The 52 x 13 minute series is set to launch on Nickelodeon worldwide and on Gulli in France in winter 2013.
Marathon's parent company, Zodiak Kids, will handle all TV rights to Blake and the Aliens with Zodiak Kids CP Paris handling licensing and merchanding for the series.
The series will mark the first time Marathon, one of France's leading animation studios, will co-produce an animated series directly with a U.S. broadcaster.
"It’s our first development partnership with a French producer around an acquired series,” said Jules Borkent, SVP of Global Acquisitions and International Programming for Nickelodeon. “This proven model enables us to deliver relevant content that resonates with our audiences worldwide and Blake and the Aliens will be a fantastic edition to this."
“This board-driven cartoon series with truly delirious characters is a first for Marathon Media,” said Marathon's Chalvon-Demersay and Michel in a statement. “We have a feeling this series might be just as exciting to produce as it will be to watch!"
Marathon, part of the Zodiak Media TV production conglomarate, has produced several internationally-successful cartoon series, including Totally Spies! - now entering its sixth season – Rekkit Rabbit, Monster Buster Club and Marsupilami.