MEDIA: FIFA seeks UK channel for cartoon show

FIFA is still seeking a UK television network to carry the animated

series for 2002 World Cup official mascots 'The Spheriks'.



Peppermint, the German firm handling its distribution, is understood to

be holding out for a deal with ITV to broadcast the 26-episode series,

despite several unsuccessful approaches to the station.



Several children's channels including Fox Kids, Cartoon Network and

Nickelodeon are waiting in the wings.



The series was initially intended to run weekly until the World Cup's

kick-off on May 31, but now looks set to be crammed in at more frequent

intervals.



The Spheriks will be aimed primarily at eight- to ten-year-olds, but has

a moralistic element designed to appeal to adults.



Each episode features a self-contained storyline that pits the

'Atmospheriks', a skillful football team that play by the rules, against

the 'Nulmospheriks', who take a negative approach to the game and are

keen on foul play.



HHCL and Partners created the series with production companies Slave

Studios and Passion Entertainment.



"FIFA is the guardian of the game and must be commercially canny while

responsibly teaching every child to kick the ball rather than the

player," said Peter Kirby, creative director at HHCL and joint creator

of the TV series. "TV production companies and ad agencies should work

together more on projects like this," he added.



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