The Fox Kids Network is adding eight new series for next year including animated versions of the WB television series Buffy, The Vampire Slayer and the Dreamworks outer space comedy Evolution. Fox Kids is looking to expand its audience in the 'tween' demographic (9-14), and sees an animated Buffy as excellent means of doing so. Created by Joss Whedon, Buffy the Vampire Slayer has been a mainstay of the fledgling WB Network and spawned a wide variety of merchandise ranging from an on-going comic series from Dark Horse, to action figures from Moore Collectibles, and trading cards from Inkworks. The show is at a crossroads, as it completes its fifth season on the WB airs its hundredth episode. As it looks now, Buffy may be picked up by another network, since the 'Frog,' as the WB is known, is reluctant to pay $2 million per episode to retain the series, even with some of the best writing on television and an attractive young cast. Thanks to a plethora of licensed goods, the Buffy franchise has been an important contributor to specialty store sales over the past few years, so the broadcast future of the show(s) does matter. Will the animated series get younger fans into Buffy, and will that dilute or strengthen the core franchise? And will the Buffy televison series find a home that improves, or decreases its ratings and merchandisitn strength? This is an important property that bears scrutiny, especially now.
Dreamworks' Evolution is an 'aliens from outer space' comedy starring David Duchovny of X-Files fame. This cross between War of the Worlds and Men in Black is played strictly for laughs and like MIB, it is sprinkled with gross-out special effects. Like Men in Black, Evolution has the potential to be a popular animated show, but its basic plot may prevent it from being anything more than a one-season wonder.