The Penguins of Madagascar Hit TV
Exclusive interview with Penguins executive producer Bob Schooley – cartoon series premieres tonight on Nickelodeon
By Robin Rowe
The Penguins of Madagascar
HOLLYWOOD, CA (Hollywood Today) 3/28/2009 – “Who wouldn’t want to be both adorable and fearless?” says Penguins of Madagascar executive producer Bob Schooley. “I think the key to the Penguins is the contrast between their tough guy confidence and cute and cuddly appearance. Skipper’s no-nonsense leadership is clearly established in the two Madagascar features. We’ve had a lot of
fun embellishing on Private’s innocent charm, Kowalski’s scientific delusions and Rico’s crazed appetite for destruction.
In the Nickelodeon television comedy series Penguins of Madagascar, Skipper, Kowalski, Rico and Private are four cute penguins living in the Central Park Zoo, based on the characters of the DreamWorks Animation film Madagascar. Outwardly adorable, it’s a clever disguise for an elite penguin strike force with unmatched commando skills and a secret headquarters. Their mission? To maintain order in the zoo. Their nemesis is obnoxious neighbor “King of the Lemurs” King Julien, who’s always ready to take advantage.
“Penguins, like all modern TV animation, is a global effort,” says Schooley. “Nickelodeon has built an amazing in-house CG team that works in tandem with vendor studios around the world. A large staff of artists in California, design, model, texture and rig assets, which are then animated overseas in India and Taiwan. When the animation returns, it’s then further refined internally by our team.”
Nickelodeon’s The Penguins of Madagascar executive producers Mark McCorkle and Bob Schooley first heard of the Penguins of Madagascar show while still finishing their our previous series, Kim Possible. “As huge fans of the characters we let Nick know we’d love to take a crack at it if they were still looking for producers when we became available,” says Schooley. “The timing was perfect. We finished up at Disney on a Friday and hit the ground running at Nick the next Monday.”
“The schedule is demanding, as TV tends to be, but everyone is eager to set a new standard in CG for TV,” says Schooley. “Compared to our previous experience in TV, this production is much more of a hybrid between the feature and TV model. For example, we do 3 or 4 revision passes on the story reel alone, constantly reworking and refining to make each eleven minute episode to be as polished as it can. While we may be producing the equivalent of a dozen features in 18 months, we are still devoting an incredible amount of energy, attention and detail to each and every story. We also get involved in the editing of the dialog, reviewing rough story reels and mixing the sound.”
DreamWorks Animation Jeffrey Katzenberg announced in January that Penguins was being renewed for a second season before the first season has even aired. “We were pretty dumbfounded when we got the news,” says Schooley. “The support we’ve felt on this show from every corner of Nick and Dreamworks has been phenomenal and certainly helped energize us for the marathon of creating 104 eleven-minute stories in a continuous marathon.” Schooley was in New York visiting Nickelodeon headquarters when he got the word directly from his boss, Brown Johnson, Nickelodeon president of animation.
“We focus primarily on the story side, working with writers to come up with ideas and flesh them out into scripts,” says Schooley. “Every one of our writers have previously been producers on their own cartoons. This crew is bringing an incredible amount of animation experience to Penguins. And a big thank you to Tom McGrath, who not only makes time in his crazy director’s schedule to continue as the voice of Skipper, but is also full of suggestions on stories and ideas for these great characters.”
The Penguins of Madagascar (TV Series Premiere)
Saturday, March 28 9:30PM Launchtime/Haunted Habitat
Sunday, March 29 10:00AM Launchtime/Haunted Habitat
Sunday, March 29 1:30PM Launchtime/Haunted Habitat
Sunday, March 29 5:30PM Launchtime/Haunted Habitat
Sunday, March 29 7:00PM Launchtime
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