US theme park SeaWorld has revealed details of the first animation project in development at its fledgling production arm, working alongside Eric Rollman, CEO of Rollman Entertainment and former president of Marvel Animation.
SeaWorld Family Entertainment was established earlier this year to produce live-action and animated television content for SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment, which owns and operates 11 theme parks in the US. The family entertainment company is part of international private equity group Blackstone, which also jointly owns The Weather Channel, with NBCUniversal and Bain Capital.
SeaWorld Family Entertainment’s first animation project is The Octo Force, an action series for boys and girls that follows five anthropomorphic kids dedicated to protecting the planet and who live beneath the ocean.
“It’s got an environmental message but kids will really enjoy the action and adventure, as well as the comedy,” Scott Helmstedter, chief creative officer for SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment, told C21.
The toon is being produced in-house, with Rollman working as a consultant for SeaWorld.
Helmstedter will be at Mipcom next week meeting potential broadcast and production partners for the toon. Other projects in development at SeaWorld include an animation show aimed at preschoolers and a tween-skewing live-action series.
According to Helmstedter, all three projects will fall under the SeaWorld Kids banner, which will cover custom-made and library content in animation, TV, film, gaming, publishing and music.
“As a new venture it takes a lot of time, energy and capital to make all this happen. Our focus in the mid-term is on content and IP development, to continue to develop and find new properties with great partners and find distribution for them.
“Once we have something to aggregate, then I think we would consider the potential of what we could do with our own channel – that would be an ideal scenario, but it’s not on the immediate horizon,” Helmstedter told C21.
SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment this week partnered with Rive Gauche Television and Litton Entertainment for the international launch of reality-doc Sea Rescue (39x30′), which follows efforts to save marine wildlife around the world. The series aired earlier this year on ABC stations in the US as part of Litton’s Weekend Adventure block on Saturday mornings.
“More than 30 million US viewers have been riveted by these true stories. The series is thrilling and moving, but even more importantly it educates viewers about the threats faced by wild whales, dolphins and other species,” said Helmstedter.