Nick picks up two animated series

'Fanboy' uses imagination; 'Umizoomi' relies on math

Nickelodeon has picked up two animated series: a spinoff of Nicktoons Network's "Random! Cartoons" that features a high-profile voice cast and an interactive series created by the team behind Nick's "Blue's Clues."

The network has ordered 26 episodes of the CG-animated series "Fanboy and Chum Chum," a spinoff of the "Random!" collection of anthology shorts, and has greenlighted 20 episodes of the math-themed "Team Umizoomi," which combines 2-D and 3-D animation with live action.

"Fanboy" centers on a fearless, comic book-loving 10-year-old named Fanboy (David Hornsby) and his best friend and trusty sidekick, Chum Chum (Nika Futterman), whose wide-eyed acceptance of the bizarre is the perfect complement to his friend's hyper imagination. The voice cast includes Jamie Kennedy, Josh Duhamel and Estelle Harris. "Fanboy" is created by Eric Robles and is executive produced by Robles, Steve Tompkins and Fred Seibert. It premieres next year.

"Umizoomi," which features miniature action heroes helping real preschoolers solve everyday problems by using math and is set to a pop-rock soundtrack, is in production for a 2009 premiere on Nick Jr., the weekday programming block targeting preschoolers. The series is created by "Blue's Clues" veterans Jennifer Twomey, Soo Kim and Michael T. Smith.

Both series are among the first developed under Brown Johnson, who was upped to president of animation at Nickelodeon and MTV Networks Kids and Family Group in January. With these pickups, animation production at the Nick Animation Studio will increase by 50% in 2008, with a total of 225 half-hours expected to be delivered next year.