TBI Weekly: Everyone’s looking at toons for grown-ups

This week, Hulu’s deal with Nick Weidenfeld, the former Adult Swim head of development, shows the increasing appetite networks are demonstrating towards adult toons.

There has been a buzz at the start of this year around toons for grown-ups as every major SVOD platform has picked up at least one new series.

Netflix kicked off the trend by ordering a new animated series from the Bojack Horseman team named Tuca & Bertie, in February. The series centers on two 30-year-old birds, one voiced by Tiffany Haddish.

The move was followed by Amazon, which also bagged a show from the BoJack creators, named Undone. This was quickly followed by Apple adding its first animated comedy to the mix with Bob’s Burgers creator Loren Bouchard.

Over at Hulu, the Weidenfeld deal was not made exclusive, suggesting the platform may be eyeing other creators for similar shows.

The trend does not stop at streamers. Canadian distributor Blue Ant International has revealed its programming slate for the year, which includes its first original scripted series, Gary & His Demons, an animated original show from the firm’s newly expanded scripted and digital studios arm.

The cult success of Rick and Morty on Netflix is possibly cause for the rise in adult toon appetite. Its first season saw ratings outdo a range of popular comedies, including hit Community on broadcast networks in the US, particularly among males under 35.

But, despite its clear popularity and a rating of 97% on Rotten Tomatoes among critics and a 96% average audience score, Rick and Morty’s fourth season is yet to be brought in by Weidenfeld’s former network, Adult Swim.

As slates are revealed ahead of MIPTV, it looks like adult toons may make a big impact this April.

Also in the news…

Chinese producer Rachel Song has launched a film and TV production outfit named XS Productions

CHF Entertainment’s Daisy & Ollie has signed broadcast deals with YLE in Finland and CLS Media in Russia

BBC One has commissioned four new dramas – Gold Digger, Dark Mon£y, The Capture and Elizabeth is Missing

Pernal Media is to produce a second season of docu-drama series The Real War of Thrones: A History of Europe for France 5

Armoza has launched a new format ahead of MIPTV named The Surprise Teacher

FilmRise has acquired worldwide TV and digital rights to Ready Set Productions’ Modern Hero

BBC Studios is set to produce two programmes about the British Queen, including The Queen’s Birthday Party and The Queen: Her Commonwealth Story for BBC One

Genius Brands International has appointed Michael Jaffa to general counsel and senior vice president of business affairs

CBS Studios International has reached a licensing agreement with SIC in Portugal for cable rights to The Late Late Show with James Corden

ITV has commissioned a new drama from Bend It Like Beckham’s Gurinder Chadha named Beecham House

Distributor TVF International has made a batch of deals in Africa, including for CNBC series Pop Up Start Up and travelogue Across the World with Te Radar and hidden camera show Hidden Heroes for pay TV service Kwese TV

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