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TeamTO spins factual pop toon

We Are Family was unveiled at Cartoon Forum

CARTOON FORUM: French entertainment studio TeamTO is working on an animated factual series about the history of pop.

TeamTO is working with independent music rights management company 22D Music Group on We Are Family (52×5′), which will tell the story of hit tracks and the unexpected origins of musical styles such as rap, disco, bosanova and hip hop.

Emmanuel Delétang at 22D told delegates at Cartoon Forum in Toulouse that agreements are in place with major labels such as Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group and Sony Music to feature hit songs from their libraries.

Delegates were shown an animatic version of one episode that told the story of Run-DMC’s cover of Walk this Way featuring Aerosmith that marked the first mash-up between rock and hip-hop in 1986.

Other episodes of the series, which is aimed at a teen and family audience, will focus on landmark moments such as when punk met disco and Blondie paved the way for new wave; when jazz met samba and Joao Gilberto brought bossa nova to the world; or when disco met electro and Daft Punk created French house. Over 150 tracks are set to feature across the series’ 52 episodes.

On board as consultants for the series are Nate Sloan and Charlie Harding of the Switched on Pop podcast, a podcast about the making and meaning of popular music.

Meanwhile, among the notable figures to have welcomed the series for its commitment to telling the stories in an accurate and entertaining way is Nile Rodgers, who the producers said had told them: “I love it. Finally someone is telling the story correctly.”

Corinne Kouper, senior VP of development and production at TeamTO, said the show will catch the attention of both teens and their parents because of the cross-generational appeal of pop music.

“The recent success of biopics of artists like Elton John and Queen show there is a real yearning to understand what’s behind the music we love. Pop music is one of our strongest global cultural links and it feels like the perfect time to be producing We Are Family,” said Kouper.

The team also said there would be potential for spin-offs focusing on particular regions, such as We Are Family Latina and We Are Family Africa, or specific genres like We Are Family Brit Pop and We Are Family Disco. A quiz show app is also being developed in line with the series.

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