Fox contest seeks animated ideas

Mon May 18, 2009 2:18am EDT

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LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Fox is offering a development deal to anybody who can create the next great animated holiday special.

The network is teaming with animation studio Aniboom to launch a contest where animators can submit holiday-inspired short films for cash prizes. The winner will receive a deal with the network that could lead to a show getting on the air.

Broadcasters lean heavily on holiday programing to bolster ratings and protect their regular series from reduced average viewing levels. Some, like "Charlie Brown Christmas" and "How the Grinch Stole Christmas," manage to get large ratings for decades despite airing every year.

Crafting new holiday animated hits has proved challenging, however, with Fox's "Family Guy" special ABC's "Shrek the Halls" standing as exceptions in recent years. Also, Comedy Central's "South Park" started as an amateur holiday-themed short.

Aniboom has hosted several animation contests, including one to for a Radiohead music video that drew 1,200 entries from 47 countries.

"There are tens of thousands of people who have the same tools and software that professional animators have and they can create content from around the world," said Uri Shinar, founder and president of Aniboom. "Animation has a tradition where it can start anywhere, but can go everywhere."

(Editing by Dean Gooodman)

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