Fox contest seeks animated ideas

Development deal to creator of next great holiday special

Fox and 20th TV are offering a development deal to anyone who can create the next great animated holiday special.

The network is teaming with animation studio Aniboom to launch a contest where animators can submit holiday-inspired short films for cash prizes. The winner will receive a deal with the network that could lead to a show getting on the air.

"Fox has long been the sole primetime animation powerhouse, and we're searching for a fresh new animated holiday special that could potentially become an instant classic and maybe even a weekly series," said Fox president Kevin Reilly. "By tapping into Aniboom's community of undiscovered talent, we hope to find the next original hit holiday concept, like 'Simpsons Treehouse of Horror' or 'A Very Special Family Guy Freakin' Christmas.'"

Broadcasters lean heavily on holiday programming to bolster ratings and protect their regular series from reduced average viewing levels. Some, like "Charlie Brown Christmas" and "How the Grinch Stole Christmas," manage to get large ratings for decades despite airing every year.

Crafting new holiday animated hits has proved challenging, however, with Fox's "Family Guy" special ABC's "Shrek the Halls" standing as exceptions in recent years. Also, Comedy Central's "South Park" started as an amateur holiday-themed short.

"Our success in creating blockbuster primetime animated hits is one of the cornerstones of this studio, and we're always on the lookout for the next great talent in this genre," said 20th Century Fox chairmen Gary Newman and Dana Walden. "We're excited to partner with Aniboom and FBC on this contest. We can't wait to see what comes in."

Aniboom has hosted several animation contests, including one to for a Radiohead music video that drew 1,200 entries from 47 countries.

"There are tens of thousands of people who have the same tools and software that professional animators have and they can create content from around the world," said Uri Shinar, founder and president of Aniboom. "Animation has a tradition where it can start anywhere, but can go everywhere."
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