Sony animation inks deal with Seibert

Frederator Studios to develop animated features

As it expands its circle of producers, Sony Pictures Animation has struck a multiyear, first-look deal with Fred Seibert and his Frederator Studios to develop animated features.

A former president of Hanna-Barbera Prods., Seibert founded Frederator in 1998. He has produced 16 series for television, including Butch Hartman's "The Fairly Oddparents," Genndy Tartakovsky's "Dexter's Laboratory" and Craig McCraken's "The Powerpuff Girls."

Eric Robles' "Fanboy & Chum Chum" will debut on Nickelodeon in October, and Pendleton Ward's "Adventure Time" launches in May on Cartoon Network. Frederator also has "Samurai Jack" in development at Paramount with Bad Robot Prods.

In 2006, Siebert ventured into online video, creating the Next New Networks, which has launched 25 online micro-networks featuring short content.

Sony Pictures Digital Prods. president Bob Osher, who announced the deal along with SPA president of production Hannah Minghella, first worked with Seibert when Osher was at Turner Entertainment and the producer was at Hanna-Barbera. "He is a remarkable creative resource," Osher said.

"As we look to make a wide variety of animated movies, this relationship with Frederator Studios presents a wealth of fresh ideas and talent," Minghella said.

While all of SPA's movies have been CG features, the Seibert pact raises the possibility that SPA could be considering a 2D feature, although the unit emphasized that production techniques will be determined on a film-by-film basis.

SPA has recently announced other development deals, such as a first-look agreement with the Gotham Group. The unit's newest movie, "Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs," opens Sept. 18.