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Cartoon Network developing global kids shows from Abu Dhabi hub

Cartoon Network’s Abu Dhabi production hub is making two pilots of locally produced animated shows that, if greenlit, could go in to production as early as next summer.

Cartoon Network Studios Arabia was established in Abu Dhabi last year with the assistance of national media development agency twofour54 and the Turner-owned kids channel also runs a local training academy for the region’s would-be animators.

“The first two original projects out of the studio have just gone into production. We hope to have the pilot episodes complete for the greenlighting process by the spring and if successful they could go into production in the summer,” says Adam Khwaja, the Studio’s creative director. “If the projects are deemed workable they could be funded regionally and go on the EMEA channels, but we are open to coproduction and different business models.”

There is little detail about the two projects in question aside from it being known that one is 2D animation and one is 2D and 3D.

Cartoon Network has made local, Arabic, versions of Skatoony and had Ben 10-themed gameshow Ben 10 Ultimate Challenge, but Alan Musa, Turner’s VP and GM, Pan Middle East and Africa, says he wants the local studio to generate content that can work on Turner’s ids channels around the world.

The Amazing World of Gumball was out first global show and came out of our London hiub – one of our ambitions for the Middle East is to have a similar hub and in the future one of out big shows will come out of that,” Musa said. “We want more content out of the Middle East and the key thing is that we have content that doesn’t just work here, but can work globally.”

Turner’s investment in local kids content comes as Nickelodeon has scaled back its presence in the region, pulling its local channel off air in September, and wholesale management changes at Al Jazeera Children’s Channel have left international partners unsure of the future of coproduced projects and its strategy on commissioning and acquisition.