By Sahil Patel
Warner Bros.’ recently launched digital production unit now has a name: Blue Ribbon Content, which will oversee original live-action and animated programming from the studio.
The production banner is led by Sam Register, who was promoted to the position of president of Warner Bros. Animation and Warner Digital Series in April — in part to oversee this new digital content unit. Register’s team includes Andrew Mellett, SVP of distribution and strategy, who will be responsible for the division’s financial operations, business affairs, and distribution and sponsorship deals.
In addition to the revealing its name, Warner Bros. has also unveiled Blue Ribbon’s initial development slate, including previously announced projects like “Justice League: Gods and Monsters Chronicles” for Machinima and “Play It Again, Dick” (the ultra-meta “Veronica Mars” spinoff) for CW Seed.
New projects from Blue Ribbon include an untitled “Mortal Kombat” series, which will be released in conjunction with the upcoming “Mortal Kombat X” video game. To be produced by Blue Ribbon and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, the series will showcase some of the gaming franchise’s most popular characters, while also introducing a new generation of fighters, Warner Bros. said.
Other projects include “Ginger Snaps” from Sonali Patel (writer on NBC’s “A to Z”), “Ouroboros” from Akiva Goldsman (executive producer of “Paranormal Activity”), a “Static Shock” animated series from Reginald Hudlin (producer on “Django Unchained”), and virtual reality experienced tied to the critically acclaimed “Batman: The Animated Series.”
The full Blue Ribbon slate, via the Warner Bros. announcement, is below:
Untitled “Mortal Kombat” Series (distributed by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment) — The next generation of Mortal Kombat is coming! In association with the upcoming “Mortal Kombat X” video game releasing April 14, 2015, Blue Ribbon Content and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment are teaming up on an all-new series that showcases some of the franchise’s most storied characters, while introducing a new generation of fighters.
“Justice League: Gods and Monsters Chronicles” (Machinima, previously announced) — This animated short-form series from Bruce Timm and Alan Burnett (producers of the legendary “Batman: The Animated Series”) will debut on Machinima in 2015. The series is based on “Justice League: Gods & Monsters,” an original animated film executive produced by Timm and co-produced by Burnett that will be released by Warner Bros. Home Entertainment later in 2015. Chronicles explores a newly conceived reality in the DC Universe where Justice League members Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman are much darker versions of the Super Heroes that people think they know.
“Play It Again, Dick” (CW Seed, previously announced) — The first project to have debuted under the Blue Ribbon Content banner is “Play It Again, Dick,” co-written and executive produced by “Veronica Mars” creator/executive producer Rob Thomas for CW Seed, the digital-only studio of The CW Television Network. “Play It Again, Dick” stars Ryan Hansen as himself as he begs, cajoles and pleads with his former Veronica Mars castmates (some of whom make guest appearances) and friends to help him get his character, Dick Casablancas, his own spinoff show.
LIVE-ACTION DEVELOPMENT: COMEDY
“RejecTED” — We’ve all witnessed countless inspiring words of wisdom from world-renowned speakers on technology, entertainment and design. But not everyone can get on that stage, due to an ultra-competitive selection process that leaves many behind. Check out some of the lesser-known and just completely rejected speeches that the world never got to hear — until now — in this original satirical comedy from Rachel Ramras, Larry Dorf and Hugh Davidson (all of Mike Tyson Mysteries).
“Ginger Snaps” — The world of scouting has never been so competitive … or ruthless. Follow a troop of young girls as they backstab, manipulate and sabotage their way through the seedy underworld of the Ginger Snaps and preserve their power and influence at the top of the cookie pile in this original comedy from writer Sonali Patel. “Ginger Snaps” emerged from the Warner Bros. Television Workshop’s Fresh Ink initiative, which is dedicated to seeking out new and diverse voices from within the creative community, with the goal of developing comedy and drama ideas from women and ethnic minority writers into viable scripts for presentation to the marketplace. Patel is currently a staff writer on the new Warner Bros. Television comedy “A to Z” for NBC.
“Golden Revenge” — Two adorable house pets — a cat and dog — love their life with their owner. His new wife? Not so much. After receiving an “it’s me or the pets” ultimatum, the husband takes the cat and dog deep into the forest and leaves them behind in this original comedy. Now it’s up to the pets to find their way across the country and back to their beloved owner — in order to exact their revenge! “Golden Revenge” is from Tom Stern and Josh Gardner (“Saul of the Mole Men,” Gerhard Reinke’s “Wanderlust”), and produced by Conaco.
LIVE-ACTION DEVELOPMENT: ACTION/SCI-FI
“Ouroboros” — Original horror/thriller from Weed Road Pictures, producer Akiva Goldsman (executive producer of the Paranormal Activity franchise) and writer/director/producer Damon Santostefano follows two police officers over the course of one night in a remote part of Wisconsin as they are overwhelmed by a series of mysterious attacks … and an epidemic of possession.
“Static Shock” — Writer/producer/director Reginald Hudlin (Best Picture Oscar® nominee for producing “Django Unchained,” writer/director of “House Party,” executive producer/director of acclaimed TV series “The Bernie Mac Show”) leads the creative team behind a live-action adaptation of “Static Shock,” featuring the African-American super hero Static, aka Virgil Ovid Hawkins. “Static Shock” is based on the Static comic co-created by the late Dwayne McDuffie with co-writer Robert L. Washington III and artist John Paul Leon, which was originally published by the DC Comics imprint Milestone Comics and, later, by DC Comics. Milestone Media co-founder/comic book artist/TV producer Denys Cowan (the original “Static Shock” animated series) is collaborating with Hudlin on the new Static Shock. The aforementioned animated version of “Static Shock” previously aired for four seasons during the Saturday morning Kids’ WB! programming block on The WB Network from 2000–2004.
“Critters” — Blue Ribbon revisits the world of the legendary New Line Cinema cult classic movie franchise, as a new batch of alien pests descends upon the planet in this new digital series written by Michael Jelenic & Aaron Horvath (“Teen Titans Go!”).
“Batman: The Animated Series Experience” — As previously announced, Blue Ribbon, DC Entertainment and visual effects pioneer OTOY are teaming up on an immersive entertainment experience that will see the Batcave from the acclaimed Emmy® Award–winning “Batman: The Animated Series” brought to life via interactive holographic video for virtual reality displays. OTOY is collaborating with series producer Bruce Timm on this interactive narrative experience which will give fans the opportunity to explore Batman’s world like never before, allowing them to feel what it is like to be inside the show’s stylized universe on devices such as the Samsung Galaxy Gear VR, the Oculus Rift, and on forthcoming “glasses-free” light field displays that will power future TV and mobile devices.